Knowledge is Power…
How Myofascial Release May Stimulate Tissue
Modern practice of a targeted type of massage called Myofascial Release (MFR) builds on growing scientific understanding of the function in that thin sheath of fibrous connective tissue wrapped around all our muscles and organs, called fascia. In the past, MFR was viewed as a mechanical manipulation to adjust tissues, but research has generated a more dynamic understanding of the tissue- – which includes smooth muscle cells – that helps the practitioner more effectively know where and how to focus MFR attention.
MFR practitioners have long reported that they can feel a change in the tissue underlying their touch after less than two minutes. Experts believe that longer-term applications of heat or pressure can lessen the viscosity of the tissue, making it more like a fluid than a gel, and that pressure can stimulate the production of collagen fibers – but neither theory explains the quick change experienced in MFR. A paper by Robert Schleip of the European Rolfing Association, published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies,1proposed that the quick response results from the neurological connections in the fascia.
The body is filled with mechanoreceptors, cells that respond to touch and pressure by sending signals to the nerves. Schleip says some mechanoreceptors in the tissue affect autonomic functions like heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. When they are stimulated, a shift in fluid flow, affecting blood supply and tissue thickness, can happen quickly, explaining the changes that MFR practitioners feel as the muscles relax during treatment sessions.
True Roots Massage practitioners, trained in MFR and primarily expert Walt Fritz’s Foundations in Myofascial Release, leverage this knowledge as they serve people using MFR to relieve pain and other symptoms. Based on the dynamic understanding of how fascia works, we focus on the inappropriately shortened and hypertonic tissues, muscle fibers that may be related to dysfunction at the joint, fibers that move the face and hands, and tissues that have especially dense mechanoreceptors, including palmar and plantar fascia, muscles in the neck, including the SCM and ligaments. The treatment includes sustained light pressure on the skin while addressing areas of relevance using a slower touch and a feedback loop from the client.
We work closely with you to help your body heal and strengthen itself through the best practices in our field. Curious to see what MFR can do for you? Schedule your session at True Roots Massage today.
1Schleip, R. (2003) Fascial plasticity-a new neurobiological explanation: Part 1. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 7(1): 11-19; Schleip, R. (2003). Fascial plasticity-a new neurobiological explanation: Part 2. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 7(2): 104-116. Retrieved on Oct. 15, 2017, from http://www.somatics.de/schleip2003.pdf.