Have you ever had a small problem like a toothache or a splinter in your toe that causes an incredible amount of pain and limits your movements? These little problems remind us of how interconnected our bodies really are -when one part is injured or malfunctioning, our whole system is affected. On a small scale, this illustrates how myofascial pain, although small in area, can cause serious complications and chronic pain throughout the body. And like that toothache, once the pain is finally gone, we appreciate more than ever being able to go through our daily functions without feeling constant discomfort.
What is Myofascia?
Myofascia is a thin membrane of connective tissue that wraps around all of our body structures in a single structure of tiny, interwoven fibers. When functioning properly, the fascia provides the perfect amount of tension and stability for our skeleton, like support wires on the mast of a sailboat. Without this balance, it’s impossible to remain upright or maintain equilibrium.
What is Myofascial Release therapy?
Myofascial release mainly involves stretching the fascia and the muscles they surround. As a massage therapist moves different parts of the body, he or she is able to assess the function of the fascia and check for any unevenness. The response from the patient’s body indicates how much pressure will need to be used to stretch the fascia safely and effectively. After each stretch, the tissue will be allowed to rest and then the stretch will be increased, gradually each time, until the area is fully relaxed.
The therapist will normally check the entire body in a systematic way, using different techniques and amounts of pressure as needed. For smaller areas, just the fingertips may be enough to provide enough pressure for myofascial release. In other cases, the therapist may use their knuckles, palms or elbows to apply the appropriate amount of pressure. After each successive treatment, the number and the intensity of Myofascial trigger points will decrease, until the pain and tension are eliminated completely.
Application of pressure is contraindicated directly over sites of acute, active and ongoing infection and inflammation. Recent unhealed fractures, acute gout, phlebitis, and unhealed wounds contraindicate massage.
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