|What is Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR)?
Simply put, MFR is an extremely mild and gentle form of stretching the body’s fascial 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 without interruption. It lines and covers nearly every muscle, nerve, bone, vein, artery and organ in the body. (You may have encountered fascia in the form of the tough white membrane surrounding butchered meat.)
Following injury, inflammation, disease, surgery, whiplash, etc. the fascia scars and hardens. Pain is generally felt at the injury site, but may also be felt in areas some distance away.
This phenomenon 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 result in your therapist treating an area you didn’t think was related to your injury.
|What happens in a Myofascial Release session?
First, the therapist will do a visual assessment, looking for postural clues as to where the fascial restrictions lie. You will be asked to wear a pair of shorts and no shirt. Women can wear a bra top or 2-piece bathing suit.
Once the assessment is complete, you will lie on a massage table while the therapist uses a variety of hands-on Myofascial Release stretching and massage techniques. Most treatment sessions last one hour.
|Will it hurt?
Myofascial Release Therapy is quite 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 treatment 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 a treatment. It is also possible to experience an increase in pain following a treatment, 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.
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 post-treatment soreness and light-headedness.
|How long will it take to get better?
Generally, cases will resolve with 4 to 12 weeks of treatment. However, the longer the problem has existed, the longer it may take to resolve. Long term, chronic conditions developed over a period of years can take as long as four months, 2-3 times per week, to see resolution.
|How often do I need to come?
Because the goal is to release often long held fascial restrictions and restore an active, pain-free lifestyle, a minimum of 2 times per week is recommended. Fewer that 2 times per week can result in fascial tightness creeping back to the pre-treatment level.
|Who should be treated using Myofascial Release Therapy?
Of course everyone can benefit from Myofascial Release treatments. Some common conditions often addressed 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.