All that you need to know about Myofascial release therapy

Myo: Muscle and Fascia: elastic band. Derived from the combination of these two Latin words myofascial release has creatively linked the stretching of the muscles to stretching of an elastic band. Massage therapists use the technique of myofascial release as a gentle therapy comprising of a mixture of light stretching and massage work to release tension from the muscles, bones, nerves and joints.

Myofascial release

How does a myofascial release work?
The primary action of the myofascial release is to stretch and loosen the fascia muscles so that the other related parts can show a free and full movement. Myofascial release therapy is also referred to as trigger point therapy as it works to allow the free movement of the muscles and also restores the motion of the body.

The myofascial release therapy works by unblocking the presence of any scar tissues or injuries which are present due to the injury to the muscles or the surrounding tissues. This massage technique is beneficial in unblocking fascia and muscle in the body. The low load stretch applied on the muscles helps in bringing about the complete motion or alleviation of the pain and stiffness.

How is the myofascial release massage given?
This therapy has been said to be similar to the ‘physical therapy for post-operative rehabilitation.’

During the myofascial release massage, the massage therapist applies hands on massage strokes with the aim of releasing tension from the fibres in the muscles, bones, nerves and joints. The expert uses twisting strokes along with light to moderate traction so that they can apply appropriate pressure on the soft tissues. This helps in achieving full reflex mobility of the muscles. The massage is a blend of slow and subtle techniques and restores the physical harmony in the body.

The strokes used are kneading strokes which attempt to stretch, loosen and elongate the muscle tissues. While strokes are given, some pressure is also applied which is held for about 2 minutes. The therapist repeats the same stretch more than once during the entire session to ensure complete relaxation and release of the muscles. The massage is applied in the direction of the muscle fibers so that full mobility, flexibility and range of motion of muscles can be achieved.

The entire session lasts for about an hour and the session is completely comfortable and relaxing to the client. The therapy session needs to be repeated daily or after every few days. The effects may become completely obvious over a period of weeks or months. The therapy can be given at home or in the professional massage therapy room.

Health benefits of myofascial release
Myofascial release helps in alleviating pain and stiffness of injured or painful muscles. It is beneficial in effectively treating patients suffering with sloppy posture, chronic fatigue, severe tension, anxiety and recurring stress injuries of the muscles and skeleton. The myofascial release aims at achieving the complete release of the muscles and hence can cure or heal a large range of physical conditions which are related with pain production. Some of these conditions are migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, menopause-related pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and whiplash and muscle spasms. It has been found to be beneficial in improving the alignment of the skeletal muscles and muscles before a surgery. It assists the athletes in gaining a better alignment of the muscles before an event.

Advantages of myofascial therapy
Myofascial massage therapy is a safe and natural technique which is used both as a preventive method or promotional approach to accelerate healing of injured, stiff or painful muscles. Myofascial therapy can also be given along with other therapies such as acupuncture, manipulation, physical therapy or occupational therapy. It helps clients in attaining pain relief and allowing the clients to return to normal movement and improved function.

Are you the right candidate?
Myofascial release therapy is safe to be administered to a wide variety of people. It is best suited for clients who have been suffering with pain or tightness of the muscles. The commonly present symptoms which are seen in a client who should get a myofascial release are;
1. Tightness in tissue which is restricting the mobility of the body.
2. When the client feels immense pressure on pain producing joints or muscles.
3. Clients experiencing pain in other parts of the body such as headache or back pain
Athletes can also benefit from myofascial release therapy. Clients suffering from different sports injuries such as repetitive strain injuries and muscular imbalances can also go for myofascial release therapy.

Disadvantages of myofascial release
There are no major disadvantages but during the initial sessions there may be some discomfort due to the release of the tension from the muscles. Most of the patients feel relaxed after the session but some clients also experience muscle soreness which may be due to a realignment of the posture.

Do you need to take any precautions?
The myofascial release may not be appropriate for all patients. It should be avoided in individuals who have a co-existing condition of malignancy, aneurysm, acute rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and healing fractures. You should always consult your physician to find out whether myofascial release therapy is suitable for your condition or not?

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