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Myofascial Release – What is It?

Myofascial Release, or MFR, is a safe and effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Myofascial release practitioners may include massage therapists, physical therapists, doctors, and nurses. It is a modality of bodywork that is becoming more popular and widespread due to the profound results that come from it.

Myofascial Release Massage
Myofascial Release

What is fascia? It is tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three dimensional web from your head to your feet without interruption. In a normal, healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When we experience physical trauma or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its flexibility. It becomes very tight, and can be a source of tension to the rest of the body. Fascial restrictions can have a force of up to 2000 pounds per square inch. Trauma, such as a fall, whiplash, surgery, or just habitual poor posture over time has a cumulative effect. The fascia can exert excessive pressure, producing pain, headaches and/or restriction of motion.

Since all of the standard tests such as x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, etc., do not show the fascial restrictions, it is thought that an extremely high percentage of people suffering with pain, headaches, and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems, but most go undiagnosed. Traditional physical, occupational and massage therapy treats the symptoms caused by the pressure of the “straightjacket” of the myofascial system, but doesn’t always address the “straightjacket” of pressure that causes and perpetuates the symptoms. This is why so many patients often only have temporary results, never seeming to get better with traditional therapy. MFR treats the entire myofascial mind/body complex eliminating the pressure of the restricted myofascial system (the straightjacket) that causes the symptoms. MFR helps these other therapies to be more effective.

Myofascial release can help with many aches, pains, and health conditions such as:

  • Back Pain

  • Headaches

  • Whiplash

  • Pelvic Pain

  • Neck Pain

  • Sports Injuries

  • Chronic Pain

  • Disc Problems

  • Migraines

  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

  • Neurological Dysfunction

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Adhesions

  • Carpal Tunnel

  • Jaw Pain (TMJ)

  • Painful Scars

  • Scoliosis

  • Infants/Children

  • Sciatica

  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome

  • Women’s Health Issues

Myofascial release not only releases physical restrictions, but in many cases, clients experience emotional release as well, and also feel more mental clarity.

MFR treats the whole mind/body complex, which makes it a unique and effective form of bodywork.

MFR is performed directly on skin without oils or creams. This enables the therapist to detect fascial restrictions and apply an appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia. If MFR is used before traditional massage, then traditional massage can be more effective.

Many clients who are used to traditional massage may hesitate to try something new. However, in my experience, once a person is introduced to MFR, and they experience the results that come from it, they want to come back for more. The goal of myofascial release is to restore the individual’s freedom, so that they may return to a pain free, active lifestyle. Myofascial release techniques can be incorporated into a traditional massage, or used alone.

I am excited to be a myofascial release practitioner…I have chosen to take my continuing education courses from John F. Barnes, who is considered to be the expert in MFR.  I will continue to take more of his classes, and I look forward to introducing clients to myofascial release as a part of my massage practice. My goal is to help restore clients to health and free movement.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to help people on a daily basis.

Other massage treatments for health

By:  Amanda Burton, Licensed Massage Therapist


One Response to Myofascial Release – What is It?

  1. I’m looking for a myofascial release expert/doc/therapist. I have chronic pain, migraines, neck, shoulder, upper back pain. Plantar fascitis. Tightness everywhere. Also looking for a place that I can use my flexible spending. Thank you.
    Francie Martin

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