Fascia is a type of connective tissue surrounds and protects structures in the body, acting as cushioning , allowing us to move without restriction or pain. Following trauma or overuse fascia tissue can become scared and hardened. This causes the fascia to lose its cushioning and creates tension which in turn restricts movement. Myofascial release slowly opens, stretches and moves the fascia removing restrictions and restoring movement. It can be effective in a wide variety of conditions:
- Restricted movement
- Chronic pain
- Sporting injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Pelvic and menstrual problems
- RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Myofascial therapists are taught to feel and stretch slowly into the fascial network, listening with their hands for the 'stickiness' which defines a fascial restriction. Myofascial release is very different to massage in both technique and application as it requires no oil or wax and the movements which facilitate the release of fascial tension are comprised of 'a gentle but sustained pressure' coupled with fluidity in the movements of the therapists hands.
Time is a vital factor, as fascia cannot be forced to release. Myofascial work is therefore quite slow, with some movements taking anything up to 8 mins to complete. Research artciles on myofascial release can be found here.