Myofascial release is a gentle, hands-on, bodywork technique that works deeply into the body to ease chronic pain and restore alignment and mobility to muscles and joints.
Myofascial release benefits both the most sensitive clients with chronic pain conditions and those with deep tissue restrictions from injury and overuse.
What is Myofascial Release or MFR
Myo = muscle
Fascia = the main connective tissue in the body
Release = to let go, ease pressure
Fascia is the main connective tissue in the body. It surrounds every cell, muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ in the body, creating a three-dimensional web from head to toe. Like other body tissues, fascia can be damaged by injury, overuse, and other trauma and stress. This damage leads to myofascial restrictions. Myofascial release works on fascia to remove restrictions, ease chronic pain and restore alignment and mobility to muscles and joints. It has been developed by medical doctors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and massage therapists since the 1940s. It has been described as ‘the medicine of the 21st century’ with the potential to treat physical injuries and chronic pain conditions alongside, or as an alternative to, drugs and surgery.
How does myofascial release work?
Myofascial release works with fascia, the main connective tissue in the body. Compared with muscle, fascia contains higher percentages of both collagen and water, and this causes it to respond differently to therapeutic touch. Working slowly and gently with the natural qualities of fascia, myofascial release creates movement and change, until the tissues ‘melt’ and release. These myofascial releases take the pressure off pain-sensitive structures such as nerves and blood vessels, and restore alignment and mobility to muscles and joints.
Because fascia forms a three-dimensional web running throughout the body, the effect of myofascial release on any area is amplified to surrounding areas and deep into layers of tissue, so the effects of a myofascial treatment tend to be more profound and longer-lasting than working with just muscle or bone.
What to expect from a session
Myofascial release appointments take place at my home in Bardsey-cum-Rigton, West Yorkshire. Your appointment will last for 55 minutes from the scheduled start time. During your first appointment we will talk through your relevant health history, assess your current difficulties and plan a programme of therapy to suit you. At some point in your treatment programme, this is likely to include exercises, which I will teach you, to build strength and mobility so your body can continue to heal after any hands-on treatment. I will also carry out a postural assessment, so please ensure you are wearing something that you feel comfortable in, ideally underwear or shorts under your clothes. If you prefer to remain fully clothed for the assessment please ensure you are wearing something that enables me to see your posture – nothing too baggy please.
Planning your treatment programme
We hope you will notice some immediate reduction in your symptoms following your first myofascial treatment. However, it is unlikely that you will be ‘fixed’ after one treatment, particularly if the problems have built up over time, or are caused by external factors such as your work environment.
Generally, I advise a starter course of five, regular weekly sessions, after which we will assess your progress in the hope that you can switch to less hands-on work, and a more movement-based programme of recovery. I will also give you some homework to do between sessions. This may be a simple exercise video to follow, a breathing practice, or a gentle stretch. This will be discussed at the relevant time.
Core and pelvic floor recovery
As myofascial release works to release restrictions, tension and ‘pulls’ in the soft tissue, it can be highly effective in treating core and pelvic floor dysfunction. One example is the treatment of diastasis recti. If there is a lot of tension and restriction in the side wall of the abdominal area, the soft tissue may not be able to return back to ‘neutral’ and the gap may be difficult to close. Similarly in pelvic floor conditions such as prolapse, tension in the structure can prevent the pelvic organs to find neutral, resulting in a feeling of heaviness, dragging or bulging as the organs struggle to manage the pressure. Myofascial release works to remove pulls of tension in the system so the muscles, tissues and organs can return back to neutral, and work more optimally.
Following birth interventions such as perenial stitching, episiotomy or a c-section, scarring builds up and can create tension and torsions in the system. Gently releasing the build up of scar tissue, both at the site of the scar and in the surrounding tissues, can help the body to become better aligned, the muscles to be able to work more effectively and the abdominal and pelvic organs to return to their optimal position. Myofascial treatments are gentle, non-invasive and highly effective for helping the body to recover from pregnancy, birth and the demanding post-natal phase.
Book a myofascial release treatment here