What is Fascia?
Fascia is the complex network of connective tissue which runs throughout the whole body. It can be felt just beneath the skin and binds the skin to the underlying tissues. It forms muscle sheaths, ligaments, tendons and the protective coverings surrounding our bones and internal organs. Fascia is made from proteins and water, making it extremely strong, yet elastic and fluid. It thus provides support and protection for all internal structures, while enabling movement between them. The fascia functions as one integral unit, rather like a onesey covering the whole body beneath the skin. It has been described as the largest system of the body, as it touches and interconnects all other systems and structures.
What Can Go Wrong with Fascia
Tension, poor posture and trauma cause the fascia to become dehydrated and to stick to itself, rather like Cling-film. Adhesion in one part of the fascia can affect other parts of the network, leading to pain and restricted movement. In order to understand this concept, try pulling your shirt or jumper down at the front and feel how it is pulled up against your skin at the back. Modern approaches to bodywork recognise that patterns of pain and tension previously attributed to muscles and joints are in fact fascial in origin. In fact, pain in one area of the body may be caused by fascial restrictions in a seemingly unrelated area.
How Can Myofascial Release (MFR) help?
MFR treatments seek to unravel restrictions in the fascia and restore its elasticity and fluidity. The therapist uses sustained, gentle holds, pressure and stretches over broad areas of the fascia, in order to realign it. For reasons explained above, the therapist may treat areas other than those in which pain is felt. No vegetable oil is used, although SB Holistic may use distilled plant waters (hydrolats) or tiny amounts of pure essential oils, in order to enhance the treatment with the benefits of aromatherapy.
Learn more about Myofascial Magic (available exclusively from SB Holistic approved stockists)
Client involvement and feedback are essential in directing the treatment and monitoring its effectiveness. During an MFR treatment, you may experience any of the following sensations:-
- Heat or cold in the area being treated, or somewhere else apparently unrelated;
- Fluid moving or rippling in your body, or a sense of being moved within your own skin;
- Tingling, stinging or burning, a bit like a Chinese burn;
- Aching in the area being treated or somewhere else;
- Heaviness or lightness in your body;
- Spontaneous bodily movement, as the fascial restrictions unravel and the body realigns (unwinding);
- Unexpected emotional responses, as the body recovers from previous traumatic experiences: laughter, crying, fear/panic or anger.
Benefits of MFR
- Greater freedom of movement;
- More long-term relief from muscular aches than can be achieved through traditional massage alone;
- Enhanced postural awareness, owing to improved nervous system functioning;
- Improved metabolism and immune system functioning, as nutrients, hormones and antibodies are circulated more efficiently to and from the tissues via the fascia;
- Enhanced ability to heal following injury or surgery, owing to improved immune system functioning;
- Improved physical and emotional resilience.
For more information about the specific physical and emotional benefits of this amazing treatment, please check out the articles available at the link: http://www.myofascialrelease.co.uk/articles/
My thanks go to Ruth Duncan of MFR UK, for her outstanding knowledge, skills and training in this fascinating area of bodywork. The information provided here is based on training materials supplied by MFR UK.
I am currently the only CNHC registered massage therapist practising in Exeter city centre.
Testimonial on the benefits of Myofascial Release:
Karen, life coach – Sheffield
“Your myofascial release therapy seems to have made a real difference to my neck and has complemented the physiotherapy which I had previously. My neck is feeling much looser and generally better.”