Myofascial Release | Massage | Ravenswood Chiropractic
Myofascial Release Massage
Muscles are covered in a connective tissue that is similar to the plastic wrap that you might find in your kitchen. This layer of connective tissue, called fascia, sometimes adheres to the surrounding tissue. This might happen for a number of reasons, such as physical or emotional (think chronic stress) trauma. To remedy this situation, massage therapists can employ a special type of massage technique known as myofascial release massage to reduce pain and restore a normal range of motion to the affected area.
Myofascial release massage uses gentle pressure and sustained strokes to separate and release layers of fascia. These types of strokes allow the massage therapist to loosen, stretch, and lengthen muscle tissue. By applying these strokes in the same direction of the muscle fiber, the therapist can help the muscle attain is full range of motion once again. Light traction and twisting strokes might also be used. Myofasical release massage strokes may be held up to five minutes in order to maximize the stretching effect. A muscle might require multiple stretches during the same session until the therapist feels it release.
In a myofasical release massage session, it is critical for the therapist to be able to interpret feedback from the patient’s body. The therapist must use this feedback to determine the correct direction, force, and duration of each stroke to apply the right kind of strokes to properly address the tight and restricted muscles. Every patient is different, so it might take the therapist a few minutes to understand the feedback from a new patient before deciding on how to proceed for the best results.
According to myofascialrelease.com, it is “essential” for the therapist to possess the ability to sense the tone and tension differences and adjust the duration of the strokes as “[it] has to do with the viscous flow and piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate” leading to successful results.
Although physical therapist John Barnes is often recognized as the founder of myofascial release massage, elements of the practice have been taught for decades. In the 1970s, osteopathic physician Dr. Robert Ward taught a class entitled “myofascial release” at Michigan State University. The roots of myofasical release massge go all the way back to soft tissue manipulations used in the 19th century. Additionally, the “fascial twist” techniques used in the 1920’s, naprapathic techniques, and the deep tissue body work developed by Ida P. Rolf in the 1930s (known as Rolfing) have all contributed to the understanding of myofascial release massage as it is performed today.
Gentle stretching is the only way to release tension from fascia. The loosening and lengthening strokes used with myofasical release massage have proven to be highly effective and beneficial in helping recovery from all types of physical injuries and conditions including:
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel
- Chronic Pain
- Disc Problems
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Neck Pain
- Painful Scars
- Sports Injuries