Can myofascial release help you? I have worked with clients to address countless conditions. How is it possible that one technique can help with so many issues and conditions?
Your fascia surrounds every tissue and system in your body. If the fascia is tight, it rules the shape and tension in your body placing pressure on other body systems. This pressure can result in a host of issues such as the following:
- Muscular system: imbalances, restrictions
- Skeletal system: tightening around joints that are out of alignment making it difficult or uncomfortable to pull the body into good alignment
- Nervous system: Inaccurate feedback, increased firing (pain)
- Lymphatic system: intermittent or chronic swelling, trapped edema
- Circulatory system: restriction of blood flow resulting in unhealthy tissues
- Respiratory system: inability to breathe deeply
- Digestive system: reflux, poor digestion
- Reproductive system: painful periods, decreased functioning
- Immune system: improper functioning
Myofascial release softens the fascia, allowing space for all our systems to work normally and increases blood flow to heal our tissues. Scroll down to learn more about how myofascial release can target specific conditions.
- Myofascial Release for Surgery Preparation and Recovery
- Myofascial Release for Difficulty Recovering from an Injury or Illness
- Myofascial Release for Unexplained Pain
- Myofascial Release for Pain Resulting from Cumulative or Repetitive Injury
- Myofascial Release for Headache or Migraine
- Myofascial Release for Athletic Performance
- Myofascial Release for Chronic Pain Conditions
- Myofascial Release for Tone and Spasticity
- Myofascial Release for Chronic Swelling
- Myofascial Release for Digestive Issues and Menstrual Pain
- Myofascial Release for General wellness to Help You Look and Feel Your Best
- Myofascial Release for Mental Health
- Myofascial Release for Prenatal Care
- Myofascial Release for Infants and Children
Opening and softening the fascial system before surgery, regardless of how minor, can help improve blood flow in the body which promotes healing. Softening the fascial system will also help align the body’s muscles, organs, and other tissues to help create optimal conditions for your surgery. The fascial system’s role is to protect the body when it detects an insult to the system. A surgical incision causes the fascial system to tighten to protect the body. Depending on your general wellness and your ability to move following the surgery, the fascial system may continue to tighten. Receiving myofascial release following surgery can help soften the system, encourage blood flow for healing, and minimize adhesions from scars. Addressing fascial tightness pre and post-surgery will reduce unwanted side effects and help you achieve the best possible surgical outcomes.
Depending on your lifestyle, general wellness, or posture and movement habits, some people struggle to recover from a seemingly simple injury, let alone a complex injury or illness. If you have experienced injuries or surgeries, your fascial system may already be tight, even from injuries that happened many years ago. This tightness can result in poor blood flow or misalignment of the tissues making it difficult to heal from even the most minor injury. More complex injuries or illnesses such as a stroke or motor vehicle accidents can lead to complex dynamics throughout the body, making healing difficult. Conventional medicine primarily only addresses the area of injury. However, complex injuries can affect the body in areas distant from the original injury. Myofascial release is a whole-body treatment that addresses the site of injury and other areas that may be preventing healing.
Old injuries or surgeries may seem to heal and still leave residual tightness in the fascial system. The original pain or injury may have created postural changes through muscle guarding. Regardless of the cause (work, leisure or sleep patterns), chronic poor posture can lead to tightness and misalignment. Over time, the fascial system continues to tighten and hold the body in asymmetrical postures resulting in pain seemingly unassociated with the original problem. The fascial system continues to adapt to changes in posture, attempting to support your body in the misalignment even though it is not optimal for movement. This less than optimal positioning wears at the body’s tissues, often resulting in pain. Since fascia cannot be seen with most medical imaging technology, its involvement in pain often goes undetected. Identifying and releasing fascial tightness allows the body to more easily realign itself and return to optimal movement patterns.
The fascia’s job is to support and protect you. When the body experiences repeated movement, especially in poor postures, it will tighten to protect you and support the movement even though it may be causing damage to other tissues. Examples include sitting and typing for four or more hours, sitting on a soft couch for two or more hours, bending and twisting while moving boxes, or exercising in misalignment. Tight fascia can decrease blood flow to the area, making healing from the constant stresses of misalignment difficult. If the movement continues, this will create a continuous cycle of pain and tightness. Opening the system and identifying opportunities to improve posture during movement can break this cycle and promote optimal health and wellness in your daily activities.
Headache and migraine pain is often caused by tight muscles and reduced blood flow. Opening the fascial system improves blood flow and can lead to reduced pain. Because the fascial system is connected throughout the entire body, the cause of your headaches may be in an area of the body seemingly unrelated to the head pain. Softening the body and promoting optimal posture and body alignment can help ease pain throughout your body.
In optimal conditions, the fascial system’s role is to support fluid movement in all areas of the body, allowing our tissues to glide over and around each other effortlessly. Many athletes perform intense motions over and over. The fascial system may detect this intense movement as potential injury and tighten to protect the body. Because the system will continue to tighten as it detects this repetition, it can result in abnormal lines of pull in the body. This pulling can lead to imbalances and injury. Athletes are also likely to experience injuries and falls. The fascial system is a support system intended to protect and minimize damage from a fall. If tightness already exists in the system, the fascia may not easily return to its relaxed and fluid state. Keeping the fascial system open and flexible will help prevent injury and maximize fluid movement throughout the body.
Chronic conditions such as chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other conditions associated with chronic pain often result in protective postures and tightening of the muscles and fascial system. This tightening results in decreased blood flow and less than optimal body functioning leading to more pain. Myofascial release can help keep the system open and functioning at its best.
Children and adults with tone and spasticity experience abnormal lines of pull in the body. Abnormal pull can result in misalignment of the muscles and joints, discomfort, pain, and difficulty with movement. Myofascial release can help keep the body’s systems as open as possible to improve function and pain management.
Swelling is often a signal that something is wrong with the body. It can occur due to injury, infection, burn, insect bite, or lack of movement. There are many reasons for acute and chronic swelling of the body or part of the body. If you are experiencing swelling in any body part, you should consult with your medical practitioner. When swelling becomes chronic, it is an indication that fluids are not moving optimally in the body, and you may need additional help. If your fascial system is tight, it can prevent the movement of excess fluids through and eventually out of your system. Gentle myofascial release can open and soften the tissues allowing acute and chronic accumulated fluid to move more freely through the body.
The fascial system can become tight in the abdominal area for many reasons. Tightness in this area can cause restrictions in and around the digestive and reproductive systems resulting in difficulty with digestion, elimination, and regular menstruation. Prolonged sitting, repetitive heavy lifting, repetitive use of the hip flexor muscles in activities such as running, past abdominal or hip surgeries, injuries or trauma to the hips, back or stomach areas, lack of deep breathing, and more can lead to deep fascial adhesions and restrictions. The restrictions can hinder the normal expansion and contraction in the abdomen with normal digestion and menstruation cycles. Myofascial release to the hips, abdomen, and diaphragm areas can reduce adhesions and allow the digestive and reproductive systems to function optimally.
Myofascial release helps to keep your system open and functioning optimally. An open fascial system supports good posture, deep breathing, and ideal blood flow. There is a great deal of discussion about fascia for reducing the appearance of cellulite in the body with aggressive approaches. There is some evidence that fascial adhesions contribute to the appearance of cellulite. However, an aggressive approach to breaking up fascial adhesions is not healthy. Any approach that leads to excessive bruising is not a healthy form of myofascial release. The JFB form of myofascial release is a firm but gentle approach to effective release.
Depression and mental health problems often lead to chronic closed postures. The fascial system tightens and adapts to these less than ideal postures. The tight fascia reduces blood flow and creates abnormal lines of pull in the body. These can result in pain. Pain and discomfort can contribute to a downward spiral of decreased engagement in important life activities. Opening the fascial system can lead to greater comfort and sense of well-being.
During pregnancy and birth, muscles, tendons, and ligaments become more flexible and elastic to allow the baby room to grow and eventually move through the birth canal. When fascia is tight, it is the strongest tissue in the body. Past injuries, surgeries, poor postures, or trauma can leave residual tightness in the body. Receiving myofascial release before pregnancy can help prepare the body for the healthiest possible pregnancy. Myofascial release is also safe throughout pregnancy and can soften the fascial system to prepare for birth.
Infants, children, and teenagers can have tight fascia. Complicated births, falls, accidents, surgeries, prolonged sitting or poor postures, and more can lead to fascial restrictions. By design, the fascial system helps our bodies glide and move freely. It also protects us from injury. In a healthy body that moves often and receives good hydration and nutrition, the fascial system will eventually return to its hydrated state after injury supporting pain-free movement. However, we do not always move as much as necessary or eat and drink as healthy as possible. Without movement and good dietary support, the fascial system may continue to tighten, causing various concerns. If your child is reporting unexplained pain or you notice prolonged poor posture, you may want to consider myofascial release. It is always recommended you seek input from your medical professional.