Although the principles of Myofascial Release were recognized in Osteopathy many years ago, it was physical therapist John Barnes who developed the therapeutic form known today as Myofascial Release. The fascia create a three-dimensional web of connective tissue that protects, supports, surrounds, interpenetrates, and interconnects the whole body. The superficial or subcutaneous fascia lies just under the skin and allows it to move independently from the tissue below. Muscles, muscle groups, tendons, and ligaments are covered by the deep fascia. The subserous fascia is the deepest level; it shields blood vessels, nerves, and the lymphatic system, and lines the body cavities to protect the organs. In its different forms, connective tissue absorbs shock, allows adjacent surface to slide smoothly over each other, transmits movement, provides lubrication, and protects the physical structure of the body, the organs, and the cells. Fascia is composed mostly of collagen, a body protein, and hollow microtubes of collagen create its fibrous structure. The space outside the cells and protein fibers is filled with a substance whose consistency differs in different parts of the body from fluid to gelatinous. This ground essence, when in good condition, provides a reservoir from which the circulatory and lymphatic systems can draw nourishment and eliminate waste and also allows cellular communication throughout the body. For many reasons, including dehydration, illness, physical injury, habitual poor posture, or emotional stress, this fluid medium can solidify and create restrictions and blockages that can affect joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones and inhibit the flow of energy. Since fascial tissue acts as a conduit for cellular communication, the flow of vital life-force energy, and even the flow of consciousness, Myofascial Release may also have a quantum energy effect, restoring the vibrations, resonance, and flow of subtle information that will enable a person to achieve a significantly healthier quality of life. Myofascial Release has also been found to be closely associated with the meridian energy channels, since pressure-point bodywork will stimulate a spontaneous reorganization in the fibers.
Myofascial Release therapists are conscious of the fact that problems rooted in the fascia can show up as pain or constriction in many different body systems, but that proper treatment can have beneficial results. Most MFR massage works primarily with all layers of the connective tissue, and its effects can be felt throughout the body. MFR is based on the principle that the recipient’s body will give the practitioner feedback on the areas that need work and the amount of stretching needed and that the fascia will release at its own rate.
The treatment, often performed in concert with the recipient’s breathing cycle, uses both gentle and more forceful pressure applied by fingers, elbows, or forearms in the direction of recognized areas of fascial restriction to move, elongate, and slowly sculpt the tissue. This process also warms and hydrates the fascia, making it more pliable. The practitioner waits for the tissue to relax and then increases the stretch. The process is repeated until the tissue is fully relaxed before moving on to another area. Broad, sustained strokes stretch the elastic fascia and slowly open the adjacent muscles. Vertical or transverse motions across the grain of muscles, tendons, and fascia organize the fascia for a higher level of functioning. A gentle form of unwinding by using sustained pressure and stretching of the tissue can alleviate pain in those places that hurt. A rebounding technique uses gentle, rhythmic rolling to release fascial restrictions and subconscious holding patterns while accessing the tissue memory that created the constriction. Palpation, trigger-point work, soft-tissue massage, and craniosacral therapy are all adjuncts to Myofascial Release Therapy, and some of the MFR techniques are incorporated into various kinds of structural massage to release chronic patterns of tension. Since working on connective tissue can improve the structure and stimulate the functioning of multiple body systems, MFR can result in a well-balanced, symmetrical, pain-free, and mobile body.
Contact: Myofascial Release Treatment Center (Eastern Center) – www.mfrcenter.com or www.myofascialrelease.com.