So today, I will be discussing Myofascial Release. I am located in the beautiful South Florida area (nearby Miami); therefore, I will call this blog Myofascial Release Miami.
So what is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial release can be one of many manual (hands-on) techniques.
These techniques are used to help stretch, lengthen, loosen, and allow movement of the fascial covering and support structures of our muscles.
So, who invented and when did Myofascial Release begin?
Many of the original techniques of myofascial release began with Chinese / Oriental Medicine almost 3000 years ago. These techniques today are known as Gua Sha, Cupping, Tuina, etc.
Other techniques came in the 1900s and early 2000s, such as deep tissue massage, manual stretching, and percussion massage techniques, etc.
The most recent and now becoming popular is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM,) using tools and techniques similar to the ones used for Gua Sha.
So, are you wondering what causes Myofascial Pain?
One must understand what fascia is before we can discuss why Myofascial Release is beneficial.
So, what exactly is fascia?
Fascia is a thin tissue that goes around mainly our muscles. Fascia also contains a threadlike structure that extends into the muscles to provide support and protection from injury.
So let me give you an example,
The following example visually gives you an idea of how the fascia looks. If you have ever taken the skin off a chicken before cooking it, you could see the muscle area covered by a thin layer of tissue.
You see, that thin layer of tissue is the fascia.
This fascia itself has its own nerve supply that is very sensitive to changes to the body parts it covers. Often when something happens to these body parts, such as being overstretched, hit, tore, etc., the fascia picks up on these changes through its nerve supply.
As a result,
Most of the time, and to prevent further injury, the fascia will constrict around the tissue and thicken its threadlike structures as a protective measure.
Sometimes the body will over-react when trying to protect itself and can become part of the problem. When this happens, it causes the blood supply to the area to be restricted and produces discomfort.
It also creates a thickening of the threadlike support structures to the point where it makes the area stiff and decreases the mobility /movement of the tissue it is trying to protect. The longer this reaction takes place, the longer it takes to restore it to normal.
So, now, do you want to know the benefits of Myo (meaning muscle) Fascial Release?
- Increases blood circulation.
- Eliminates toxins and irritants of the tissues and nerves that lead to pain.
- Relieves tightness, spasms, and knots.
- Decreases pain and tenderness.
- Improves the movement of tissues and the range of motion of joints.
- Speeds up the healing process.
Myofascial Release Benefits
Besides the benefits, some patients ask me: Do Myofascial Release techniques hurt?
When receiving a myofascial release, there will be some discomfort expected. The reason being is that the tissues involved are often already tender and sore.
The stretching and moving of the fascia to help restore movement and blood flow will pull on the nerve receptors of the fascia and relay these pain signals to the brain, which is normal.
It is critical to understand that, when applying myofascial release, shooting or sharp pain is contra-indicated. If this happens, it means the pressure is too aggressive.
Patient and practitioner communication is essential during this process. This communication is to make sure the correct force is applied.
Applying too little pressure, where the patient barely feels the stretching, has minimal benefits. However, too much pressure, where the pain is too high, may cause a hyper-inflammatory response and increase symptoms shortly after treatment.
In this Myofascial Release Miami blog, I also want to mention the effects of Myofascial Release.
Most people feel some measure of immediate relief of symptoms after myofascial release. Occasionally, the initiation of the healing process is too aggressive and can cause what is known as a healing crisis.
In this instance,
The person can feel some increase in muscle /joint soreness for a short time before it feels better. Sometimes due to the release of toxic irritants, a patient may feel fatigued. Mild petechiae (small red dots) or mild bruises of the skin may appear. These usually last 3-5 days.
To my patients, I prescribe 1-2 times a week for the first month. Also, I give them self-myofascial release techniques to perform at home daily. As symptoms improve, patients can do bi-monthly or monthly maintenance visits while continuing their self-myofascial release techniques at home.
It is important to note that,
The frequency of the treatments is based on how the patient responds to the treatment and how consistent they are with their home program.
Fascial tissue mobilization needs to be consistent; to prevent or minimize the discomfort symptoms from returning. Treatment either by a practitioner or oneself is a lifelong task to maintain overall well-being.
To wrap up our Myofascial Release Miami blog, At HomeopathyX, we perform a thorough evaluation to understand the patient’s complaints. Once the assessment is completed, a plan of care is developed to address those issues. Myofascial Release techniques are part of the many services we provide to help our patients with acute and chronic conditions.