What is Myofascial Release (MFR)?
The word myofascial in MFR is composed of two words: “Myo” which translates to muscle and “Fascial” which is the connective tissue or “fascia” of the body. In other words, MFR is a subtle way of stretching the body’s fascia or connective tissue.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a continuous sheet of connective tissue that extends from the top of the head to the tip of the toes. It sprawls out and covers nearly every muscle, nerve, bone, vein, artery and organ in the body like a spiderweb. (You may have encountered fascia in the form of the tough white membrane surrounding butchered meat.)
Following mechanical stress from poor posture, childbirth, injury, inflammation, disease, surgery, whiplash, etc. the fascia scars and hardens. Pain is generally felt at the injury site, but may also be referred or felt in areas some distance away.
This can be explained by the fact that the body’s fascia is all interconnected. A restriction in one area can put a drag on the fascia in another area. This may require focusing on an area you don’t think is related to your area of discomfort.
When will I have Myofascial Release work?
First, we evaluate and adjust the spine. If your adjustments aren’t holding or you’ve had a recent trauma, we would start with a visual assessment, looking for postural clues as to where the fascial restrictions may be.
Once the assessment is complete, we will position you in the chair on on the table using a variety of hands-on Myofascial Release stretching and massage techniques. Most myofascial work will focus on one or two regions in addition to your adjustments.
Does it hurt?
Myofascial Release is actually gentle – most people find it to be very relaxing. However, don’t let the gentleness deceive you; it has profound effects on the body’s tissues.
After your first time, you may feel like nothing has happened. The effects may not be felt for up to 24 hours later. You may feel improvement during or immediately following. It is also possible to experience an increase in pain following a release, with improvement felt hours later. Sometimes pain will be felt in new areas. Some people may experience a feeling of light-headedness or nausea, or possibly an emotional change. This is a result of physical, chemical and emotional stress leaving the body.
These are all normal reactions that result from the changes that occur by releasing fascial restrictions. Drinking a lot of water to flush out the system is recommended and may help minimize soreness and light-headedness.
How will I know if I need Myofascial Release?
Everyone can benefit from Myofascial Release, especially as a compliment to chiropractic adjustments. Some common conditions often helped include, but are not limited to:
- Acute and chronic neck and back pain
- Muscle cramps, spasm, or strains
- Frozen joints
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- TMJ Syndrome
For more information about MFR, please visit the Myofascial Release Web Site.