What type of body therapy would you consider the most beneficial? Your therapy options are massage, myofascial release, acupuncture, sensory deprivation (i.e. float tank), cryotherapy, vibration, or hydrotherapy. With that said, I received one of the best myyofascial release (MFR) therapy sessions the other night after work. Maybe it was because my body really needed it; or the fact it had been more than eight months since my last visit due to the pandemic.
EveryBODY recovers differently from training depending on factors such as age, stress, nutrition, sleep and of course training volume.
Having tried all of the aforementioned therapies, myofascial release seems to get to the root cause better than other options. Most therapies are good for treating symptoms, not helping with the issue at hand. Meaning, you need to determine what’s causing the pain in the first place. As with other types of body work, like massage therapy, it comes down to the therapists experience and technique. The same holds true for myofascial release therapy. My therapist, who I’ve used for a few years now, also happens to be a physical therapist. She has also trained under the “Godfather” of myofascial release therapy, John Barnes who is a physical therapist as well.
What is Myofascial Release Therapy?
Researchers Levin and Martin have stated, “fascia is the fabric of the body…fascia is a tension network.” All the other tissues in our body, like muscle, bone and brain, are actually embroidered into the fascial fabric.
“Myofascial release is a safe and effective treatment to address restrictions in connective tissue. Myofascial release helps to reduce pain, restore motion, decrease tightness and improve overall functional mobility.”
Kendellynn Cavanaugh, MSPT
MFR is a safe hands-on technique that involves a sustained pressure applied to myofascial connective tissue restrictions. The goal is to eliminate pain and restore motion. A therapist will actually apply different levels of pressure as they “stretch” the skin in multiple directions. There are three type of connective tissue. Ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone and then there is fascia. It’s a watery web-like system that covers your entire body, literally from head to toe. Fascia is a type of connective tissue that is composed into three layers: the superficial layer, a layer of potential space, and a deep layer. Fascia is believed to be one continuous piece of tissue that works in connected “chains” to create a floating compression in the body.
What Types of Issues Does Myofascial Release Treat?
Myofascial release technique can be used to treat a host of issues, the following is just a small selection.
- Chronic pain
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Low back issues (like disc pain)
- Jaw pain (TMJ)
- Pelvic floor pain
The Bottom Line on MFR and Other Therapies
Do you really need regular body work or can you take care of it yourself through a basic recovery process? In theory, it’s easy to say I’m going to take time out of my day or before my workout and address any functional issues. But in reality, it does not happen most of the time. Of course, there are some exceptions. Tools are available to use like foam rollers, vibration guns, yoga, and mobility work, to name a few, and they will definitely help. As you age, though, the body just does not move the same way as it does when it’s young.
Therapies, especially MFR, can help restore the body to its original self. It can keep you moving optimally, the way you were meant to move. In doing so, the body will not “breakdown” as often, keeping injuries at bay. It’s only a matter of time before an injury shows itself, if muscle and connective tissue restrictions are constantly present. MFR is the perfect tool to alleviate these issues, getting the body functioning the way it was meant to…no matter what your age. Stay Strong with Jefit.
Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body. Scheip, R. et al. Churchill Livingstone, 2012.