Is Myofascial Release Your Answer?
Myofsacial Release has been gaining popularity in manual therapy, and has been providing patients with long lasting pain relief from chronic postural pain patterns, and repetitive strain injuries that are held in the connective tissues of the body. This treatment has been around for many years, and addresses restrictions within the muscle layers, between the muscle groups, and works to mobilize, balance, and improve the position and alignment of the myofascia.
The techniques are quite different from a typical massage therapy session which is apparent with the use of little, or no oil at all during your treatment. In order to feel the myofascial layers, your therapist will need to engage the layers of the superficial and deep myofascia under their hands to feel the restrictions and mobilize them correctly. There are many techniques to achieve this release, ranging from skin rolling, cross hands, shearing, and even trigger point release/positional release. The mobilization of this connective tissue can vary, and some technique will be applied for up to 5 mins or more to allow the myofascia to release under the hands of your therapist. You can see a similar effect in your yoga practice. Most yoga postures are held longer than a typical muscle stretch to allow time for the layers to release. This is because yoga targets the connective tissue and can therefore have an effect on the myofascial tissues in the body.
This therapy is ideally suited for those with chronic pain, acute injuries or surgery recovery. Repetitive strain injuries, scar tissue release and more. The benefits are reduced pain, increased freedom of movement and a rebalance of musculoskeletal function.
What can you expect as a client?
You can expect to feel the the restrictions within the myofascia most commonly described by clients as a burning sensation under the skin. This can be adjusted according to your tolerance, and should always be applied in a manner that allows you to breath and release naturally. If you are hanging on for dear life, or holding your breath during your treatment, then we are not working together, and the treatment will not be as effective. Together, you and your therapist will need to communicate effectively, or you can be left feeling bruised and sore the next day. Myofascia needs time to release properly, and depth will need to be adjusted to your tolerance. Often within a few sessions, your restrictions and pain are greatly reduced, and symptoms tend to follow suit.
The number one way to improve your results with myofascial release is to drink plenty of water before and after your session. Dehydration is a common problem, and is often noted with myofascial pain syndromes. An epsom salts bath can also be an excellent way to facilitate the release after a session, and help to further release your tension.
Cristy Harper, your registered massage therapist at Harper Kinetics has extensive training in working with myofascia. In January 2011 Cristy decided to expand her knowledge and expertise in the study of myo-fascia and graduated from the Kinesis Myofascial Integration program in Seattle Washington, after 500 hours of training. This certification and successful completion of the CBSI exam has given her the necessary credentials to practice as a board certified structural integrator both here in Canada as well as internationally. Her knowledge and passion for understanding the myofascial system is what lead her on this educational journey, and she looks forward to incorporating this cutting edge treatment alongside her regular massage therapy practice.