As we draw close to the end of 52 weeks of self care, I am happy to be able to write about one of my top ten favourites – Myofascial Release (MFR). Not only does this approach address the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
What is it?
Myofascial Release is a hands on technique used by qualified practioners (usually a specially trained Physiotherapist or Massage Therapist) to treat the fascial system/ connective tissue of the body. The fascia or connective tissue is a densely woven structure that wraps around the body from head to toe, uninterrupted. Its appearance is similar to a spider’s web. Any kind of trauma or inflammation can cause a binding effect, which produces pressure on muscles and nerves, blood vessels and bones as well as organs. This pressure can result in pain, restrictions in movement as well as headaches. Since standard diagnostic tests like Xrays and CAT scans aren’t able to detect fascial restrictions, it often goes undiagnosed.
Fascia loses its flexibility when we experience trauma or inflammation. It becomes tight and can result in tension elsewhere in the body. The goal of Myofascial Release is to restore flexibility, and reduce pain. And yet the outcome of MFR can produce even more beneficial results.
Trained therapists apply gentle, sustained pressure to the fascial system. It feels very similar to a good stretch. As pressure on the surrounding body parts ease, pain is lessened and an increased range of motion is experienced. Founder John F. Barnes, Physiotherapist, claims this release also stimulates the flow of the body’s bioenergy, which in turn affects the mind/body complex, allowing for the release of holding patterns so that healing can occur.
Myofascial Release can help create a whole-body awareness that in turn will facilitate healing from not only physical injuries, but emotional as well. The treatments are relaxing but can stir up feelings or belief systems that need to be looked at in order to move forward to health and well being.
If you haven’t bought yourself a Christmas gift yet, I would highly recommend a few MFR treatments!