Myofascial Release Therapy may be for you if you are considering some form of orthopedic massage to help with muscle pain or soreness, or joint stiffness or immobility.
Myofascial release is a safe, natural hands-on technique that a massage therapist with the proper training can perform—often with surprising effectiveness.
The benefits of myofascial release massage, also known as muscle stripping massage, can be:
- Helps break down scar tissue
- Improved muscular range of motion
- Reduced muscle soreness
- Functional muscle length maintained
- Very useful for freeing up tight, small areas such as neck, hands and shoulders
- Increased blood and lymph flow
- Increased nutritional uptake
- In conjunction with other modalities, improved posture, alignment and balance
Orthopedic Massage: What it is, How it Works
‘Myo’ means muscle and ‘fasciae’ is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin. It attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is classified by layer, as in superficial fascia, deep fascia, and visceral fascia.
It may also be identified by its function and anatomical location. Therefore, myofascial release therapy is orthopedic massage that specifically centers on manipulation of the fascia surrounding the muscles.
Fascia becomes tight from a muscle spasm, a joint out of place, a rotational issue, or inflammation. Myofascial Release Therapy works to release the tightness and restore motion using gentle, sustained pressure.
Each Myofascial Release Massage session is performed directly on the skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia.
The myofascial release doesn’t just happen! The fascia system is too vast and has to be freed up in small sections across joints and with facilitated resisted stretches. The myofascial therapist lays down two hands in a gentle fashion, with light pressure, counter-resisting each other, freeing up ‘glued down’ fascia.
For the client who has a sensitivity to the firmest types of massage, myofascial therapy works well. The deep tissues are treated, but through specific, gentler, targeted motion.
This type of therapy also makes a medical massage therapist’s job a little easier to plan an approach to an unyielding fibrotic area. When I approach a situation, I make assessments to see if the area has any joint structures or spinal faucet joints out of place.
I don’t force any change; I simply use the bones as levers to massage the deep fourth layer fibrotic muscles. I then have the client assist me with movement as I hold stuck joints and wait for release. By feeling for that stuck joint and releasing it, you may get lucky. The glued fascia may free up during medical massage!