Myofascial Release

Young lady receiving a myofascial-release massage

At Blissful Balance Massage in Stony Plain, myofascial release is a specialized form of massage therapy that focuses on eliminating pain and restoring range of motion in the muscles. It is considered to be one of the gentlest forms of massage therapy, as it involves the application of light pressure movements to the fascia, which is the tough, dense connective tissue that covers and surrounds all of your muscles. Clients often seek myofascial release therapy to help relieve chronic pain in the back, shoulders, hips, jaw, neck, and practically any other area where soft tissue is located. Since this technique is designed to release tightness and/or shortness in the muscles, it is also an ideal choice for people who have lost mobility, function or flexibility after an injury.

Benefits of Myofascial Release 

Relaxes the muscles: Stored tension in the muscles is one of the primary culprits behind chronic aches and pains. This treatment is specifically designed to "break up" and alleviate stored tension, allowing the fascia to elongate and bring relief to the affected area.

Minimizes muscle soreness: This form of bodywork improves circulation, enabling the blood to carry more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles to reduce soreness and speed up recovery time.

Reduces pain: The light pressure movements used in this technique can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals produced by the body to reduce pain and encourage feelings of well-being.

Improves range of motion: Stiff muscles are notoriously immobile, but this bodywork technique can improve range of motion to encourage a greater scope of dynamic movement.

Improves muscle elasticity: This technique is specifically designed to break down or reduce scar tissue and/or fibrous adhesions (i.e., "knots") in the muscles to improve elasticity, reduce pain and enhance movement.

Encourages the production of cytokines: With a name derived from the Greek words "cyto" (cell) and "kino" (movement), cytokines are important signaling molecules produced by the body to encourage cell-to-cell communication. Myofascial release has been shown to stimulate the production of these fascinating organic compounds, which can help regulate and mediate inflammation in the muscles.

Encourages the lymph flow: Lymph is an important fluid produced by the body to help fight infections and maintain immune health. This bodywork technique can encourage a greater volume of lymph flow, which will bolster the body's natural defenses, remove toxins from the muscles and improve recovery times.

Common Conditions Addressed by Myofascial Release

  • Temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Sciatic pain
  • Chronic migraines or tension headaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Injury-related mobility disorders
  • Back pain
  • Adhesions (knots) in muscles
  • Muscle soreness

How It Works 

Myofascial release is similar to traditional massage in terms of using the hands to manipulate soft tissue, but the pressure applied in this form of bodywork is typically lighter. The gentle movements used in this treatment are designed to release restrictions while elongating fascial tissues. The therapist will typically forego using any oils or creams, and instead will make direct contact with the skin order to detect and pinpoint areas of tension or restriction in the fascia. The average session lasts anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, and treatments will typically be performed over a series of weeks or months in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Myofascial release can produce several positive benefits for patients who suffer from chronic pain, restricted flexibility, and/or hampered movement in their muscles. Be sure to consult with a professional bodywork specialist like myself to determine if this type of treatment will be the appropriate option for you.