Myofascial Releases

Can I get a Massage for my Back Pain? Know About Myofascial Releases

Getting a massage can be a way to treat yourself, de-stress, or address a medical issue. You can seek out a massage therapist for a variety of different massages. 

But, hold on – If you say you have back pain, you need to speak to a medical professional and figure what’s the best course of action for you. A simple massage or even a deep tissue Swedish massage may not be the answer for you.

Science has spent decades dissecting the human body into smaller and smaller pieces, all the while neglecting to look at what the connection is that holds all these pieces together. Your answer may lie in understanding this network and keeping it healthy.

Myofascia – The network that holds your body together

Myofascia Network

Myofascia is the tough, fibrous connective tissue glue that holds us together. It spider webs throughout our body, forming organ cavities, membranes, coverings for our bones, muscle and circulatory system.

It makes up ligament, tendon and scar tissue. Myofascia is made up of elastin, collagen, and a liquid component called ground substance.

Myofascia weaves its way throughout the body in a pattern that is unique to each individual. Unlike the muscles of the body that have a predictable origin and insertion, the route that myofascia takes is determined by each individual’s stress on the body, beginning at birth.

This fascial pattern is constantly changing. Physical stress in the form of illness, trauma, and postural changes cause a tightening down of the fascial system. Mental stress has been shown to trigger tightening as well. Over time, this can result in abnormal pressure on the nerves, muscles, bones or organs.

We are literally being squeezed from the inside, and numerous symptoms begin to emerge. We may experience pain, loss of motion, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, and inability to relax and sleep. The myofascia becomes very hard and sticky. It doesn’t allow proper distribution of fluid throughout the body.

Instead of being soft and pliable at rest, the soft tissue system begins to carry an abnormal amount of tension all the time. The muscles feel hard and firm, even when we are trying to relax. The body perceives a constant level of stress that it cannot let go.

So the question becomes, why don’t we take care of our fascial system?  We take care of our skin, muscles, organs and bones.  But the fascial system which connects them all is overlooked in healthcare.  Myofascial release is a manual technique that restores balance to the fascial system.  Once that balance is achieved, the body responds with increased motion, energy, better concentration and relaxation.  For many clients, myofascial release is the missing piece in their healthcare and wellness.

What Is a Myofascial Release?

Myofascial release is a type of physical therapy often used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues. These tissues surround and support the muscles throughout your body. The pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called “trigger points.”

Myofascial release focuses on reducing pain by easing the tension and tightness in the trigger points. It’s not always easy to understand what trigger point is responsible for the pain. Localizing pain to a specific trigger point is very difficult. For that reason, myofascial release is often used over a broad area of muscle and tissue rather than at a single

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Is it a massage? 

This is the number one question people have for us as they grapple with what to expect.  The short answer is no.  It’s not like a conventional massage for a number of reasons. Here are the major differences:

  1. The Instructors hands aren’t moving……….well, not initially. Myofascial Release and Craniosacral therapy doesn’t introduce movement into the tissues like a fabulous Swedish stroke. Instead, the instructor’s hands sink into your tissues and follow the movement created as the fascial web opens.
  2. We do not work on your entire body…….. Myofascial release and Craniosacral Therapy is a slow technique. Most holds last for 3-5 minutes at time.  How much work gets done in a particular region of the body is dictated by how the body responds to the work.  For instance, your pain may be mostly in your low back.  When the instructor sinks into your low back and allow time for the fascia to open, sometimes nothing happens.  The body stays just as rigid under their hands as it did when he began.  That is your body’s way of telling the instructor that there is a problem somewhere else that is preventing this region from opening and softening.  So we try above or below.   In effect, you really are guiding the instructor through your fascial web with your responses.   The rule of thumb is that we always work where the body is evoking the most change.  And then, we can go back and test out the low back to see if it’s ready to open up and let go.
  3. The depth of the work is determined by you……not by the instructors elbow digging into your glute! Myofascial release and Craniosacral Therapy can be very deep work. But how deep is really all up to you.  Your body will open up and allow the instructor in as deep as it wants him/her to go.  No deeper.  It’s important to remember that fascia tightens if the sympathetic nervous system gets activated.  An elbow to your gluteus is going to stimulate you!  Guaranteed!  So the rule of thumb is that we invite the body to open vs. forcing an entry.  That way, the parasympathetic nervous system has a chance to cut in and release old holding patterns that you no longer need.  There should not be any pain.  And we strengthen your inherent ability to relax your own soft tissue system.

And there you have it!  These are the major differences.  Should you still get that awesome deep tissue massage?  Absolutely!  Anything that feels good is always a yes.  We just don’t want you to anticipate that you’ll be getting it here.

Who Might Benefit From Myofascial Release?

Patients with myofascial pain syndrome frequently benefit from this type of therapy. People who experience chronic headaches may also find relief from myofascial release. Gently releasing tightened muscles in and around the neck and head may reduce headaches.

Some people with venous insufficiency, which occurs when blood pools in the deep veins of the leg, may also be candidates for myofascial release. During venous insufficiency, the blood pool stretches and eventually damages the veins in your legs. You may experience an aching and painful sensation in the affected leg. Myofascial release might be used in conjunction with other treatments to reduce the pooling and pain caused by venous insufficiency.

Less muscular tension = Less tension in the fascia.

Remember that fascia threads its way throughout the muscle.  If muscles are constantly contracted, they are pulling the fascia tighter.  Relaxing tension in the muscle, helps to maintain freedom within the fascial system.

If you can listen and observe, you can untangle yourself.

Myofascial pain doesn’t go away by DOING more.  It goes away when you start UNDOING.

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