The fascial system is slowly being recognized as the underlying cause of many functional problems in the human body.
The fascia separates muscles, acts as an anchor which muscles can attach to, and infiltrates muscles down to the cellular level. Fascial release can therefore reduce mechanical stressors caused by chronic poor posture, inflammation and injury; allow tissues to function more normally by restoring proper nutrition; reduce or eliminate nerve compression causing entrapment; restore normal circulation to tissues; and change the set in the spindles so muscles can work and relax more efficiently. The system is all-inclusive.
Fascia is a body system in itself. It is a web of tiny fluid filled microtubules that exist in a multidimensional structure surrounding every cell in our body. Fascia is what composes over 80% of what we consider muscle tissue. It is such a strong fiber it may exert a pressure of 2000 lbs per square inch when it becomes tight or bound. The techniques required to treat this tissue must be much different from those that treat other systems and areas of the body.
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Myofascial problems may be a contributing factor in numerous conditions from spinal pain, low back pain, and neck pain to digestive problems, headaches, and TMJ. Sports injuries are common causes of myofascial problems. Tennis elbow, sprained ankles, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel, or golfer’s back pain are often due to fascial binding that occurs after trauma.
Myofascial release allows the fascia to ‘unwind’ itself. The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will travel to often far-reaching areas of the body, providing relief where it is the tightest first.
Imagine the fascia like a hammock, if you pull on one corner, it will affect other body organs through a release of tension in the whole fascia system. The intention is to allow the body’s inherent blueprint to return, thus eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and restoring the optimum performance of the body.
Many rotator cuff injuries are secondary to fascial problems. Shoulder problems may be due to the blade not gliding or a restriction in the ribs that prevent the arm from going up and extending the way it should. If this is not recognized as a problem, the person may try to force the arm, thereby injuring or tearing the rotator cuff.
The fascial system of the body is complex and extraordinary. It consists of sheets or bands of fibrous connective tissue that envelop, separate, or bind together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body.
The posture of someone with Upper Crossed Syndrome (which consists of the ever-common forward head position and rounded shoulders) can often be greatly improved with 3-4 myofascial release sessions. Also, chronic tension pattens in the upper back and neck which seem to get better for a short while after a deep tissue massage and then quickly return, can be resolved with the help of myofascial release. It can be a very successful in treating problem areas that don’t seem to respond to other therapies.
Myofascial release is commonly integrated with sports massage prior or after a sports event. to prevent injury and to literally unwind the body.