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Mary Fairbairn, CMT, Owner
Fascia and Myofascial Release
Hands in Demand Professional Massage Therapy, LLC
. http://www.handsindemand.com

Fascia and Myofascial Release

Before explaining what myofascial release (MFR) is, there must be an understanding of what fascia is. John F. Barnes, physical therapist and owner of MFR Treatment Centers and Seminars, has described fascia as a specialized system of the body that looks like a spider’s web. Fascia is a densely woven structure that covers every bone, muscle, nerve, vessels, and the internal organs. It is one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. Each part of the body is connected to every other part of the body by fascia.

Pull off the skin of a piece of chicken and usually a sheet of fascial tissue will stretch between the underside of the skin and the surface of the muscle/meat. Howard Rontal, founder of The Myofascial Release Massage and Certified Hellerwork Practitioner, explains that fascial tissue has many functions: it serves to support, protect, cushion, and insulate. It allows for movement of the different bones and muscles; to stretch and slide over each other. Fascia is made of elastin and collagen. In the young it is soft, pliable, stretchy and serves as a lubricant. Due to age, repetitive use injuries, trauma, falls, poor postural patterns, surgical procedures, scarring and inflammation the fascial tissue becomes hard, dense, fibrous, inelastic and short. It goes from being a lubricant to an adhesive. Myofascial restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (X-ray and CAT scans).

Myofascial release is an effective and safe hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into the myofascial restrictions to decrease and eliminate pain. It restores motion by stretching and lengthening the fascia. MFR is done on the skin, using little if any lubricant. Depending on how chronic the condition is, the client usually feels relief and increased movement during the first session. Ideally, the MFR session is a fully body technique because the fascia is entwined and connects many parts of the body together. MFR can also be incorporated into a regular massage session. The amount of sessions needed depend on the severity of the restrictions. The therapist trained in MFR can help determine the best course of treatment.

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