Aug 242009


Myofascial Release and Integration

Working with fascia addresses the continuity of the soft tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body and wraps every muscle fiber, muscle tissue, blood vessel, nerve, organ (including the heart, lungs, brain, spinal cord as well as the abdominal organs), body cavity, and bone.

Fascia becomes restricted with physical or emotional trauma, injuries, accidents, surgery, habitual poor posture, toxicity, overuse and infection, resulting in muscle tension, rigidity, headaches, structural misalignment, compressed nerves, inflammation, tissue thickening, diminished blood flow, all of which cause pain, and more muscle tension and inflammation. Myofascial work breaks this feedback loop at different places in the cycle.

Myofascial work is an integral component of Polarity, Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Work, Stretching, and Osteopathy. Myofascial techniques involve a variety of approaches to address the restrictions, eliminate pain and restore motion. These include applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue to elicit a gentle tissue stretching, positional release, deep trigger point pressure, soft tissue mobilization, scar tissue releases, strain counter strain techniques, active assisted stretching, and foam rolling.

Fascial release resets muscle fiber length, restores organ function, improves circulation, flexibility, proper posture, balance and stability, fluid movement and ability to handle stress, while reducing tension, restrictions, and pain. It is an important precursor to strengthening as flexibility and range of motion need to be restored first or your body is forced into compensatory movement patterns around the existing restrictions.

This work also addresses issues of TMJ, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches.

It can be an effective compliment to other therapies, surgery, and athletic training and competition.

Carol Manheim summarized the principles of Myofascial Release:

  • Fascia covers all organs of the body, muscle and fascia cannot be separated.
  • All muscle stretching is myofascial stretching.
  • Myofascial stretching in one area of the body can be felt in and will affect the other body areas.
  • Release of myofascial restrictions can affect other body organs through a release of tension in the whole fascia system.
  • Myofascial release techniques work even though the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood.

Manheim, Carol. 2001. The Myofascial Release Manual. 3rd Edition. Slack Inc.