The human body is a marvellous contraption, which needs exercise to ensure that your muscles do not become stiff. However, sometimes, too much exercise can leave your muscles feeling sore and tight for days. Another way, soreness and tightness in muscles can happen are through not exercising at all – in this case, knots get formed in the back and neck muscles. These can be very inconvenient due to the pain they cause and the movement they limit. While a massage can be a great way to relieve some of this tension, a more focused approach is required to remove the knots specifically, and to ease the tissue around the muscle. 

Myofascial Release is the answer to this.

What is Myofascia?

Myofascia, literally translated, is comprised of two parts: myo: muscle; and fascia: the encasing of tissue around those muscles. When muscles get tensed due to exercise or regular stress, it is reflected in the fascia and needs to be countered quickly so that there is relief from the pain, which is likely to happen. The fascia is a thin and tough layer which, when encapsulating a stressed muscle, often connects itself to the softer tissue of the muscle. This causes pain and hampers mobility. However, due to its robust nature, there is more effort required to alleviate this pain than what a regular massage can provide.  The relief, in this case, depends more on a trigger point therapy where a therapist can tackle the individual knots directly.

The specialised therapists excel in putting in more force to release the highest amount of tension and therefore provide maximum benefits by getting rid of the pain and improving mobility.

How is it done?

Myofascial release therapy is rendered through the application of firm pressure and slow strokes through a well-calculated trigger point strategy. These slow strokes are applied along the muscle fibres so that a maximum number of knots in the connective tissue can be tackled with complete effectiveness. A massage does not work in the case of knots as the release happens only when specific points are dealt with.

This therapy can also be done at home with objects like foam rollers, and tennis balls as these provide strokes and pressure similar to the kind provided by a therapist. Dr Garry Ho, the director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s sports medicine fellowship program, says that it is entirely natural to use tools in Myofascial therapy. According to him, the Graston Technique, Active Release Technique, Ming Method, Melt Method, and Rolfing are all ways to achieve Myofascial release.

Who benefits from Myofascial release therapy?

The great thing about Myofascial therapy is that everyone suffering from muscular discomfort or knots can use it. In the current lifestyle that we follow, everyone is likely to suffer from stress, athletic muscle tension, knots and pain in muscles due to overexertion. Whether you need the therapy for your sore muscles or you need relief from athletic aches due to knots in the back and neck; this therapy works brilliantly for all. The best thing about the treatment is that it can be rendered in various adaptable techniques as per the body of the recipient.

Many people suffering from physical injuries or loss of flexibility have found benefits in Myofascial massage therapy. Many people with chronic pain in their back, neck, hip or any other area containing soft tissue have tried Myofascial therapy and it has worked for them!

A great example of this is the story of Debra Firestone, who was experiencing difficulties with vision and balance due to pain in her neck. She visited some doctors, but they were unable to figure out the relationship between the pain and her impairments. This led her to a Myofascial therapist. The therapist discovered a knot in the fascia at the base of her skull, which could be stopping blood flow and therefore causing the impairments. After receiving the Myofascial release therapy, Firestone says that she can now turn her head without feeling like she’s about to pass out.

Just because Myofascial therapy can be used by everyone, doesn’t mean it should be used every time you need a massage. It is good to make an educated decision based on your individual needs. Through this article, we are attempting to spread awareness about the therapy and its measurable benefits. Myofascial therapy, or deep tissue therapy, is one of many kinds of treatments offered by HealthCure, a health-based unit based in Auckland, New Zealand and known for its expert massage therapists.  Whether you go for the deep tissue massage or choose any other from the full range of massage therapies offered by the team, Ruchi, the director and a massage therapist herself, makes sure that you receive only the best treatment to release all the tension in your body.

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