Myofascial release (or MFR) is a soft tissue massage therapy for the treatment of muscle immobility and pain. This alternative medicine therapy aims to relax contracted muscles, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and affect the nervous system through the stretch receptors in both fascia and muscle.
Fascia is a thin, tough, elastic type of connective tissue that wraps most structures within the human body, including muscle. Fascia supports and protects these structures and connects them from head to toe. It is aligned into pathways(meridians) that connect specific muscles together in straight or spiraling patterns that very often coincide with the meridians of acupuncture. Tension in the fascia is transmitted along these meridians from one muscle to another. This is now considered a form of communication between muscle groups coordinating and facilitating motion that is 7 times faster than impulses are transmitted along nerves. A major aim of MFR is to free ‘fascial restrictions’ between the layers of fascia that appear to disrupt proper transmission of tension(called transduction) and proper nervous system feedback.
Myofascial release is personalized to the patients’ needs following assessment of symptoms, posture and mobility. It can be a stand alone treatment but it is even more effective when married with other osteopathic manual therapies.