Muscles play the most crucial role in the locomotion of the body. With them, we have lesser-known, vast fascial networks. These fascial networks do not have the elasticity or contractility of muscles. They are essential for the compartmentalisation of the body’s internal organs, movement and communication around the body.
When there is a tightening of the fascia (in any part of the body), it can lead to stiffness, reduction in movement, and pain anywhere else in the body. Myofascial release is a treatment that addresses the broader network of Myofascia that helps reduce pain and improves balance and function.
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a specialised manual and physical therapy used to treat and rehabilitate fascial aches, chronic pains, or, more specifically, Myofascial pain syndrome.
MFR techniques relax and stretch muscles and soft tissues to alleviate tensions and restrictions in your fascia. It can assist a person in the process of regaining function and flexibility after injuries or surgeries and treat chronic pains as well. But before we go deeper into understanding MFR, let’s talk about fascia.
Connective tissues found throughout our bodies surrounding our musculoskeletal structure and viscera (internal organs) are called fascia. It plays a significant role in the regulation of our health.
However, injuries, inflammation or operations can restrict fascia and create critical health issues such as chronic aches. The pain generally originates from specific points within these tissues called “trigger points”. At these points or knots, muscles get stiffened, and thus blood flow reduces, causing intense pain.
It might be a little difficult at times to localise the pain to specific trigger points. This is why MFR is often used over a wider area of muscles rather than at those points.
Myofascial Release focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness in those trigger points. This eases tension and reduces pain. This therapy aims to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and the other contiguous structures can perform movements freely.
MFR, which specifically target muscles and their fascial chains use comparatively firmer forces applied very precisely over the specific regions.
Individuals who are particularly fit, healthy or physically active, for example, athletes, sometimes prefer firm pressure and deep therapy. However, the amount of force that must be applied during the therapy depends on the person’s physical condition and requirements.
MFR treatments can take place within an Osteopathy treatment or as a separate treatment. Osteopaths will usually focus on the person and will look for the stiff or tightened areas (since normal myofascial muscles should feel pliable) where they apply the appropriate amount of manual pressure. This helps the supportive sheath and connective tissue to alleviate the tension, enhance blood flow in those regions, thus restoring function and balance.
MFR can prove beneficial for a lot of conditions. Here are a few examples where myofascial release can help you:
- Reduce pain in the musculoskeletal structure (such as neck and backache).
- Releases tension from knots or trigger points
- Improves blood circulation, thus assisting recovery from pain
- Enhances muscle function, flexibility and balance
- Assist rehabilitation from injuries due to weak muscle (such as those of hip and
- shoulder) function.
- Help soothe symptoms of many other conditions.
Myofascial release can complement other treatments to provide you with the most efficient recovery from chronic aches. It can assist treatments such as acupuncture, manipulation, or occupational therapy to increase their effectiveness.
Skeletal structures and muscular alignment prior to surgeries can be improved with the help of MFR. Since it targets specific areas of the fascial treatment, MFR can help prepare people for more intense forms of muscle-strengthening.
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The understanding of myofascial release has evolved a lot over the last decade. Even if it’s confused with generic massage, it uses more complicated techniques to benefit you in numerous ways. However, as long as you consult trusted MFR professionals, you are in good hands, and we offer you exactly that.
If you are looking for some relief from your chronic aches, book a session for myofascial release at our clinic.
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