The fascia can be thought of as a "body stocking", covering the cells of the blood vessels, nerves, bones and organs, throughout the entire body. When muscles are stretched, the fascia is stretched simultaneously, thus forming the myofascial system.
If muscles are injured, the surrounding fascia becomes shorter and tighter, causing imbalanced stress that is sent around the body via the fascia. There are numerous causes for restrictions to occur such as repetitive stress syndrome, trauma, musculoskeletal conditions such as scoliosis, and even poor posture. The resulting pain can often be experienced in unexpected parts of the body.
This is the treatment of the injured fascia through releasing of the tightness by means of stretching. It employs a therapeutic and holistic approach to physical therapy. A MFR treatment session usually involves gentle pressure motions and light stretching. Therapy may start in the area where pain is felt or often it may begin elsewhere, as the pain can be referred and may originate in other sites in the body. The experience is usually very relaxing and quite calming.
During the initial session the therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation and prepare a suitable personal treatment plan. The number of treatments required will naturally vary for each patient and the treatment plan will be different but many people report noticeable improvement after a few sessions. During the course of treatment, the therapist often explains some techniques that can to be used at home, with different small aids such massage sticks or balls and foam rollers.
Patients affected by a wide range of ailments seek this treatment. Numerous sufferers of chronic back and neck pain have found that a therapist is able to release the tension in the soft tissues and neutralize their pain trigger points. Myofascial stretching aids in breaking the adhesions and inflamed tendons of carpel tunnel syndrome. Athletes can also be assisted and gain relief from sports injuries, overused joints and improper pelvic alignment. In fact, an extensive range of ailments can be relieved including fibromyalgia, jaw pain , arthritic conditions and sciatica as only a few examples.
Some practitioners advocate combining the use of Myofascial Release with Cranial sacral Therapy, another hands-on technique that focuses solely on the system of the brain, spinal cord and surrounding cerebrospinal fluid. It aims to correct any imbalances in this system through gentle touch and manipulation of the cranial bones, as well as other areas of the body, allowing the therapist to help regulate the flow of the fluid. Imbalances in this system affect motor, neurological and sensory functions. As the two systems, the Fascial and Cranial sacral work inter-dependently, treating one will have an effect upon the other.
There are numerous well qualified practitioners able to offer therapy in these gentle, whole-body therapies. Health professionals such as chiropractors, physical therapists and sports injury specialists can all undertake specialized training and achieve the high competency levels required.
The gentle pain release therapy greatly improves the state of health for so many individuals. Positive outcomes experienced by those dealing with painful conditions have shown that Myofascial release can reduce symptoms, decrease pain, increase range of movement and generally improve their quality of life.