From the neck down to the feet, most of us carry some form of tension in our bodies. We might even notice it’s worse in some areas than others. If you’ve tried traditional massage therapy and it hasn’t eased those muscles as much as you had hoped, or the benefits were too short lived, it might be time for you to try a myofascial release massage. This massage therapy technique targets trigger points deep in your muscle tissue that can cause a great deal of pain when stiff and restricted.
Let’s break down “myofascial” and what it really means. “Myo” is shorthand for muscular tissue and “fascia” is a web of connective tissue that reaches through the muscles down to the bone. If any part of that web is compromised, we feel it. This is why seeking a trained chiropractor or wellness specialist is so important — they can locate the area in the tissue that’s causing the rest of the web to tighten.
What is Myofascial Release Therapy?
Myofascial release is performed without any lotions, creams or devices — it’s a hands-on massage technique intended to apply pressure and loosen tough knots. Your specialist will gently stretch and knead the fascia and muscles until they relax.
Keep in mind that it might be uncomfortable as they work to loosen muscle tissue, but it should provide more dramatic relief than you’d experience with alternative massage techniques. Don’t worry if you experience soreness afterward — that’s completely normal.
What are the Benefits of a Myofascial Release Massage?
Take a moment to focus on your body and how you’re feeling. Do you feel any pulling on your neck or tightness in your lower back? Do you deal with this pain and discomfort every day? Good news — myofascial release may bring you the relief you desperately need and help with your body’s natural recovery process.
Here are some benefits you may experience with regular myofascial release massages:
- Overall body relaxation
- Improved range of motion and circulation
- Reduced soreness and tension
- Stress relief
Who Should Consider Myofascial Release?
If you are already getting massages regularly but you feel your muscles could benefit from focused pressure and attention, you may want to consider a myofascial release massage. This technique is great for pain management and targeting parts of the body that sit in fixed positions for long periods of time. Myofascial release is especially good for people who sit at a desk or in front of a computer for hours or hunch over to do their work (i.e., caregiving, welding, construction, etc.).
Myofascial release therapy is good for parts of the body like:
- Lower back
Are There Any Risks Associated with Myofascial Release Therapy?
Like any form of treatment, there are some risks. However, risks posed by any massage, including myofascial release therapy, are minor compared with more invasive medical interventions.
Talk with your doctor before scheduling a treatment if you take any medications or have any health conditions, including but not limited to:
- Weak or broken bones
- Open wounds
- You are taking blood thinners
During a myofascial massage, you should be on the lookout for potential warnings signs that the therapy isn’t right for you.
- A sharp or shooting pain is not normal. Make sure to tell your therapist if you’re experiencing abnormal pain during treatment. Your massage therapist may be able to alter their technique or massage pressure to alleviate the issue.
- Treatment should not be extremely painful. It’s important to use the right amount of pressure to prevent more pain or damage to tissue. It’s okay to communicate what’s tolerable and what’s uncomfortable to your therapist — they will understand.