"Helping you look after your body"
The term Myofascia is derived from the Greek word ‘myo’, meaning ‘muscle'; and ‘fascia’ meaning band.
Fascia is a very densely woven covering that connects every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord.
The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is, in fact, one structure that exists from head to foot without interruption. It has the appearance of a spiders web.
In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia (connective tissue of the body), like the yarn in a jumper.
Fascial restrictions, caused by improper posture, overuse, injury and scar tissue, exert excessive pressure producing pain and restricting motion. Fascia affects our flexibility and stability, and is a major determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and strain.
Fascia is the body's energy saving device. If your posture remains the same for any length of time, the fascia will bind and lay down more collagen. However, if you are moving regularly, then the collagen will take up more elastin therefore becoming more flexible.
Examples of fascia include:
• Ascia lata (deep fascia of the thigh muscles)
• Rectus sheath (abdominal muscles)
• Posterior thoracolumbar fascia – shown below
What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial release is a form of hands-on manual therapy designed to stretch the fascia. The purpose of this is to relax these tissues or elongate them to restore tissue mobility.
Injury, immobilisation, disease and ageing can result in fascial adhesion or restrictions, resulting in inefficient movement patterns, altered alignment, faulty mechanics and pain, tension and holding patterns.
It is a treatment that involves gentle sustained pressure. The time element within this therapy is vital as fascia cannot be forced as it has a quality known as ‘Thixotropy’ where force is met by a returned force. Thixotropy is the property of certain gels or fluids that are thick (viscous) under normal conditions, but flow (becomes thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, or otherwise stressed. Therefore we have to allow a sustained but gentle pressure for at least 2-3 minutes to allow the fascia to elongate and restore to a healthy position.
Techniques involved in Myofascial release may use.
• Skin rolling-lifting the fascia away from the body and releasing stuck fibres.
• Slowly sinking into tissue with the exhalation, otherwise known as “winding in” and moving only at the speed the tissue releases and no faster. Movement can be so slow it is imperceptible to the recipient.
• Exiting the tissue otherwise known as “winding out” is just as important as being engaged with the tissue, as working at such a depth has a profound relaxation effect and thus the ease of release avoids shock to the recipient’ nervous system.
• Slow fascial stretching, often resulting in feeling release in areas other than the focal point being worked on due to the unbroken connectivity of fascia throughout the body e.g. stretching in through the lower back can often result in feeling release through the neck or base of skull.
• Connective tissue can involve whole limb lifting and slow twisting and manipulation to release long standing habitual bodily patterns.
Myofascial release techniques can also be incorporated into a deep tissue and trigger point massage.
Benefits of Myofascial Release
Myofascial massage is aimed at everyone. Most people develop some negative postural habits. This is due to repetitive activities or psychological and emotional influences on the body.
Myofascial massage can be of specific help to:
• Athletes (regular or occasional enthusiasts)
• Gym users
• Individuals with chronic joint or muscle injuries
• Individuals who perform repetitive work that causes considerable strain on muscles (trades people, active jobs, office workers)
• Individuals who suffer from stress
It can be especially useful to people presenting with the following conditions:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
When would Myofascial Release not be recommended?
Infection (systemic or localised)
Acute circulatory conditions
Malignancy Skin Hypersensitivity
Advanced diabetes (Type 1)
Severe Osteoporosis or advanced degenerative changes
Acute Rheumatologic Condition (fibromyalgia, Lupus)
If you are thinking of booking an appointment or have one already scheduled and find you have one or more of the conditions listed above, please call before your appointment to discuss the reasons behind these cautions.
I can also provide you with a GP/Specialist referral letter that you can take to your Doctor/Practitioner to enable them to make a decision to weather the therapeutic session can take place.
On your first visit a full confidential consultation will take place with me. (All therapists should adhere to the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998).
Myofascial Release utilizes a gentle blend of stretching and massage, to produce a healing effect upon the body tissues. Myofascial release effectively frees up fascia that may be impeding on blood vessels or nerves. This technique also increases the body's instinctive restorative powers by improving circulation and nervous system transmission. I use light to moderate traction and twisting. Results include a decrease in muscle tension, increased range of motion and reduction in pain in the soft tissue.
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy: A trigger point is defined as a spot within a taut band of skeletal muscle, or its fascia, that is painful if compressed. A static compression is applied to a trigger point with my thumb or fingertips. The pressure used is always within the your pain tolerance and the length of time varies - usually until you feel the pain dissipate. I communication with you at all times during this treatment.
"J" Stroke: This is the deepest of the fascial techniques, so it's used selectively. This stroke warms up the tissue using a fist position with the knuckles slightly raised. Skin is squeezed as I increase depth making a small "J' with the first knuckles while simultaneously pulling the tissues through. This technique is applied in an organised pattern along the tissue lines. I always communicate with you and stay within your pain tolerance.
C" Bowing: This fascial technique is performed with very little movement. Great for releasing restrictions, my thumbs are placed on the tissue beside each other while the fingers grasp the skin. The thumb sinks into the underlying tissue pushing it forward while the fingers pull back and distort the skin in a "C" shape until release is felt. (I call it the duck grip)
Cross Hand Fascial Stretch: This fascial technique includes very little movement over the skin. Movement occurs in the underlying fascia. The palms of my hands are placed on your skin, my arms are crossed and the fingers point away from each other. The appropriate pressure is used to engage the fascia and the slack is taken away from the skin so that a release is felt.
Skin Rolling: This technique lifts the skin between the thumb and fingers and is gently rolls over the area, very slowly. Skin rolling allows a release in the superficial restrictions between the skin and underlying tissue. It may be necessary to repeat rolling a few times over the same area in order to release any long term adhesions.
Muscle Squeezing: This technique literally squeezes or compresses the muscle between the palm of the hand and the fingers. Pressure is directed slightly upwards. This is done slowly at the beginning of your treatment. Pressure will increase with each compression - within your pain tolerance. Muscle stripping: Can be performed on a number of surfaces using the fingertips, the ulnar border of the hand (little finger side), the thumb or the elbow. The pressure is applied along the muscle fibers usually from origin of the muscle to insertion.