The term myofascial release is derived from the Latin words myo (or muscle) and fascia (or elastic band). Its no wonder many massage therapists and chiropractors liken the stretching of muscles and ligaments to the stretching of an elastic band.
In practice, Myofascial Release is a gentle therapy, consisting of a mixture of light stretching and massage work. During a session, the therapist will apply hands-on massage strokes in order to release tension from the fibrous bands of the muscles, bones, nerves and joints, by unblocking any scar tissue or adhesions due to injury in the muscles and surrounding tissues.
The therapist will often use light to moderate traction and twisting strokes to apply the appropriate tension on the soft tissue, and to achieve a full reflex range of the muscle. This slow and subtle technique can be used to unblock fascia and muscle throughout the body restoring total physical harmony.
Myofascial release is a safe therapy that can be used as a preventative method or to promote the healing of an injured, stiff or painful muscle. However, this therapy has also been affective in treating patients with sloppy posture, chronic fatigue, severe tension and anxiety, as well as repetitive stress injuries of the muscular-skeletal system.
Myofascial release therapy is applied hands-on, in kneading-style strokes that are meant to stretch, loosen, soften and lengthen muscle tissues. The strokes are applied with gentle pressure, and held for approximately 2-mintues in order for the stretch to have its full effect on the muscle. Typically the same stretch is performed more than once by the therapist until the muscle is totally relaxed and a release is felt. The therapist will always apply massage in the direction of the muscle fibers to encourage the full range of motion of the muscle.
A typical Myofascial Release massage lasts an hour, and afterwards clients often rave about the total release of body tension they experience. This is why the treatment is often recommended to soothe a plethora of pain-associated conditions including migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, menopause-related pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, Fibromyalgia, whiplash and muscle spasms.