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Myofascial Release and Therapy

Effective Therapies For Pain Relief


Myofascial Release is one of the more effective therapies for pain relief and whole body treatment. As we mentioned on our Soft Tissue Manipulation page (link to), the soft tissues of the body include muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, or connective tissue.

If you can imagine a sheet of tissue that wraps around every structure in the body, every organ, and every muscle, then you have a picture of what fascia is. It also stabilizes, binds, and connects all the body structures together. That's why it is called connective tissue. For example, fascia wraps around the brain in three layers (dura mater, pia mater, arachnoid mater), which attaches to the inside of the skull; this protects the brain from injury much like a seat belt system protects a child in a car.

Myofascial Release is the art of stretching or releasing the fascia where it is in a bind around the muscles (myo) or organs (viscera). The "bind" we are speaking of here is scar tissue, adhesions, torsions, and mechanical shortening of tissues due to repetitive motion, aging, trauma, or structural misalignment. When the fascia is released and returned to a more normal function, whole body tension patterns and binds begin to disappear.

There are a number of types of Myofascial Therapy and we are trained and experienced in all of them.

Direct Myofascial Release is taught by a number of practitioners; the most well known is John Barnes, PT. This involves holding tissues stretched to their elastic limit, and allowing the underlying collagen complex to "melt," and lengthen.

Indirect Myofascial Release, also known as Unwinding. In this method, fascia is compressed togetherMyofascial Release and Therapy and the neurological component of irritation is eliminated; this releases spasm and pain. Another type of Indirect Myofascial Release is 3 Planar Fascial Release.

When Myofascial Release is combined with movement it is called Dynamic Myofascial Release or Myofascial Dynamics; this is similar to Rolfing.

Superficial Myofascial Release is taught by various practitioners and at some massage schools.

Craniosacral Therapy is a type of therapy that works with the fascia around the brain and spinal cord.

Visceral Manipulation works with the organs, the soft tissues surrounding the organs, but also the fascial planes in the abdomen.

Working with adhesions from surgery or trauma with Myofascial Release is sometimes called Scar Tissue Massage.

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