Myofascial Release – What is it and why do Osteopaths use it to release fascia?
You may have heard of a technique called Myofascial Release, a technique used by practitioners at Holistic Bodyworks in South Oakleigh to release fascia. This blog will educate you a bit further about what fascia is and how it is incorporated in your treatment plan and how it may help with common musculoskeletal complaints that we treat.
Firstly, what is Fascia?
Fascia is the wrapping, packing and insulating connective tissue of the body. It is continuous throughout the body and is found beneath that skin. Its main functions are to attach, stabilise, enclose and separate muscles.
In other words, think of it like glad wrap that wraps around the muscles in your body.
There are many different types ranging from;
The main types that are treated manually are the Superficial and the Deep.
Superficial fascia is also known as subcutaneous tissue as it contains varying amounts of fat depending on where it is located.
It usually surrounds:
- Glands (Sweat glands)
- Neurovascular bundles (nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics)
- Assists with the movement of skin
- Serves as a soft medium for the passage of nerves and vessels to the skin
- Conserves body heat
Deep fascia is a relatively thick and dense fibrous tissue.
It acts as:
- A base for superficial fascia
- Enclosure/wrapping for muscle groups
- Supports and protects muscle groups and other soft tissue structures.
- Acts as a barrier against the spread of infection from the skin and superficial fascia into muscle compartments
How does our fascia contribute to our pain?
It is believed that our fascia can tighten, which may result in constricting our muscles, decreasing blood supply, causing pain and decreasing range of movement. It is not known why fascia can become tight but one speculation is that overuse, disease, trauma, infection, inactivity and poor postural awareness may contribute to dysfunctions of the fascia.
How do Osteopaths and Myotherapists treat fascia?
Osteopaths and Myotherapists may incorporate the Myofascial Release technique to assist in treating common conditions like;
- Sporting injuries
- Back and beck pain
- Arm and leg pain
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Joint sprains
- Postural problems
- Muscle strains
- Children assessment
- Pre and post-natal pain
Myofascial Release technique may aid in helping the fascia to relax in a contracted muscle, improve lymphatic and blood circulation. The technique can be quite firm or quite gentle with a sustained pressure around the area being treated. These techniques are known as a direct and indirect release.
Direct Myofascial Release
As the name suggests, is working through the fascial layers with firm pressure to slowly stretch the fascia.
Indirect myofascial release
Is a gentler method where the practitioner applies less pressure and encourages the fascia to release on its on with gentle movement guiding the release. They may also include passive movement where the therapist may move aspects of your body to aid in the release, which is known as Functional Myofascial Release.
If you are experiencing stiffness, muscle tension or pain or would like to know more on how we may be able to assist you, contact the clinic today to make an appointment with one of our friendly and experienced Osteopaths or Myotherapists for an assessment.