The term "myofascial" was first used in the 1940's by Dr. Travell when examining the relationship between muscle and fascia. More specifically when she was describing musculoskeletal pain syndromes and trigger points. Dr. Travell later began describing specific trigger points and centers of adhesion where fascia densities and tension were most commonly observed. Later in 1983 she published "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual." I am thanksful for Dr. Travell because Much of her work laid the foundation for many of the fascial release techniques today.
Although western medicine has only been examining the impact and function of fascia for the last 70 years or so, there are many studies which demonstrate that ancient eastern forms of medicine, such as acupuncture act directly on fascia and fascial planes, in acupuncture often called meridians. It should also be noted that although the mechanisms of myofascial release are poorly understood, there is clear evidence to demonstrate the benefits.
Furthermore, because fascia is continuous and contiguous, tension and fibrosis in one area can have affects on distance sites. For example, there was one anecdotal case where a woman was having pain in her knees. Her physicial therapist began to release facial centers of adhesion from the knees upward and only once the facial tissues in her shoulders and neck were released did her knee pain subside. Tension of the fascia in her neck was distributed throughout her entire body. This is not an uncommon occurrence, although typical centers of adhesion are often discovered closer to the ailing body part.
The term Myofascial Release has taken on a new meaning and understanding within the scientific community in the last 20 years. In current medical terminology, myofascial release refers mainly to soft tissue manipulation techniques that are designed to act strictly on fascia.
Direct myofascial release, or deep tissue, is performed by loading the fascia tissue with a constant and relatively significant force until the tissue release occurs, often about 3 minutes. Often therapists and practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to apply pressure and slowly stretch the fascia in different planes of motion while applying pressure.
This technique is not for the faint of heart and can cause significant discomfort, however, the effects and benefits can be felt almost instantaneously. This differs from massage in the fact that specific trigger points are isolated, often only a few centimeters area, and not the entire muscle is treated.
Indirect myofascial release is performed in a similar manner to direct, however, the pressure applied to the tissue is much lighter and the tissues are only gently stretched in the plane of least resistance. In general this is a more passive therapy with the aim to stimulate blood flow and allows for healing and myofascial release thru the body's own inherent mechanisms.
At Athletes in Pain, I use slow motion video gait & posture analysis, myofascial release and training plans to rehabilitate your fascia and painful areas in your body, and video range-of-motion testing. From Olympic Athletes to people who just like to stay active, I can help you get back in the game. Call me to schedule a $25 no obligation consultation so we can see where your pain stems from and help with your pain from the source, not just masking the symptoms.
Hello, I'm Stephe Worley, the owner of Athletes in Pain Sports Therapy Clinic. I have over 32 years of experience as a Sports Therapist. I am proud to have the privilege of working with numerous athletes throughout my career.