About Myofascial Release Technique in Atlanta, GA
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a comprehensive, gentle and supportive bodywork technique. It is used to treat pain, restore motion, and encourage the natural flow of body systems.
The fascial system is one continuous network of strong connective tissue, which spreads throughout the body. It is a three-dimensional web that surrounds every bone, nerve, muscle, organ, and vessel from head to toe.This complex network provides cushioning, support and stability throughout the body, affecting all of the body’s systems as well as enabling our mobility.
The fascia becomes tight in response to injury, trauma or structural or emotional imbalance. When the fascia becomes tight it loses pliability and becomes dense and restricted. Multiple restrictions influence each other and the overall health of an individual. In fact the effect can be like an ever tightening “straitjacket” of fascial tissue that exerts forces up to 2,000 lbs per square inch on pain sensitive structures.
There are more nerve endings found in our fascia than in any other place in our bodies. Thus, the fascia is likely involved when we feel pain or discomfort. Over time fascial, restrictions can lead to a multitude of physical and emotional issues; if untreated these restrictions can produce a spiral of pain and discomfort.
“Myo” refers to muscle and “fascia” is the connective tissue that supports every structure in the body. MFR provides an effective; gentle and safe way to physically and energetically open and rehydrate the human fascial system. A healthy and hydrated fascial system permits the body’s systems to function harmoniously and in balance once again, while helping to restore the body’s normal shape and range of motion necessary to promote optimal health and quality of life.
MFR is delivered by a trained and licensed professional. The goal of MFR therapy is to soften restricted fascia by utilizing three main techniques (discussed below). These techniques encourage the fascial tissue to “release,” or lengthen and soften in collaboration with the therapist. After a few releases the fascial tissue becomes softer and more pliable. Moreover, the restoration of length and health to the tissue takes pressure off pain sensitive structures, which in turn frees nerves and blood vessels and restores alignment and mobility. A noticeable amount of tension can be released in one session, leading to a more enhanced state of well-being.
MFR therapy involves uninhibited moving and stretching of the body. It is therefore best for clients to dress in comfortable clothing that does not prevent you from moving freely. Men wear shorts and woman wear shorts and a sports bra. Please do not apply any lotion or oil to your skin prior to your session.
Some people feel very relaxed during and/or after a MFR treatment session. Others may feel a sense of “therapeutic pain”, which is similar to the mild soreness you may experience after exercise. Talk with your MFR therapist about any discomfort that you experience. Many patients experience a significant amount of relief from pain after one or two sessions. You are the best judge of how you feel and how many sessions you need to accomplish your physical and other goals.
A structural release is the process by which fascial restrictions lengthen and soften. Structural release occurs when a MFR therapist applies gentle yet firm and consistent pressure into tightened fascial tissue. This pressure is often described as “sinking into” the body since the therapist gauges when one layer of tissue softens and then goes deeper into another layer of tissue. The therapist may hold the pressure for 5 minutes (or longer), encouraging the tissue to let go of the restriction and become more pliable.
Restrictions that cause pain may not exist where the pain is experienced. This is due to the continuous and web-like nature of the fascial system. If there is an imbalance in one area of our fascia, for instance in the pelvis, it can cause pain elsewhere in the body. Your MFR therapist has been trained to work with the body to find and heal the sources where fascial restrictions lie. As you begin to experience releases throughout the fascia, your body will “auto-correct” to help prevent future restrictions from developing.
The key to a structural release is patience. There is no forcing into the body (unless specifically using a soft tissue mobilization technique to help break up areas with persistent fascial restrictions). It is normal to experience some amount of discomfort when a therapist first sinks into a tightened fascial restriction. Always tell your therapist if you are uncomfortable so he can work with you to best meet your needs.
Throughout our busy lives we tend to feel a great deal of heaviness. Much of this heaviness can be due to lack of movement, poor posture or emotional distress (to name a few reasons). This heavy feeling can become very draining but is somehow considered normal.
Rebounding is a wonderful technique to help release this heaviness. An MFR therapist uses a shaking or rocking technique, which helps get the fascial system reacquainted with the fluid nature of the body. Rebounding can be fast and rigorous, or soft and rhythmic. It can be applied to any area of the body.
Rebounding can be especially healing for the spine, in that it can help this vital structure move more freely and with greater flexibility as surrounding myofascial restrictions begin to release. Rebounding the spine helps disperse heavy energy by transmitting a vibration via the fascial system that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This in turn creates a feeling of fluidity and lightness instead of restriction and heaviness.
When there is a release throughout the connective tissue, or fascia, the body may experience a phenomenon referred to as, an “unwinding”. Unwinding is a spontaneous release of energy either within the tissue of focused therapy, or a release throughout the entire body. Unwinding helps us feel more relaxed and free from physical and emotional burdens.
Unwinding is a completely natural process. In fact, you may naturally unwind every morning. When you wake up, you may feel a need to stretch your body, sometimes holding the traction for a few seconds or even minutes. A more relaxed state may be achieved after you release trapped energy accumulated through the night by stretching. You may also find your pets unwind by stretching and then letting go of tension. Unwinding can be found in many species as a form of natural healing.
Your MFR therapist will help you through the unwinding process if you experience it for yourself. Sometimes people may feel emotional releases during the unwinding process. These emotional releases are connected to physical releases since our body houses all life experiences that are deeply connected to one another. This can be an incredibly freeing and personally empowering process for the patient, helping to produce a deeper sense of well-being.
Your body knows how and when to express itself so you will be encouraged to move any way you want during your MFR session. Your therapist will be there to support your movements in a way in order to ensure a safe and therapeutic
You can continue the unwinding process on your own through self-unwinding at home. Regular self-unwinding coupled with structural release is very healing and restorative.
Disclaimer: MFR can help heal pain and relieve discomfort but is not intended to replace medical diagnosis and treatment by a primary care physician. It is recommended that you consult your doctor regarding medical diagnosis and medical treatment for illnesses or conditions.