Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides
support and protection for most structures within the human body, including
muscles. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease,
overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain,
muscle tension, and thus diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its
corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue
may be affected as well, including other connective tissue.
As with most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local
inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the
connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in
reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. In this way, the cycle
creates a positive feedback loop and can result in ischemia and somatic
dysfunction even in the absence of the original offending agent. Myofascial
techniques aim to break this cycle through a variety of methods acting on
multiple stages of the cycle.
Myofascial techniques generally fall under the two main categories of passive
(client stays completely relaxed) or active (client provides resistance as
necessary), with direct and indirect techniques used in each.
The direct myofascial release (a form of deep tissue work) works on the
restricted fascia. Therapists use their knuckles, elbows, forearms or hands to
slowly stretch the restricted fascia . Direct myofascial release looks for
changes in the myofascial structures by stretching or elongation of the fascia,
or mobilising adhesive tissues. The therapist moves slowly through the layers of
the fascia until the deep tissues are reached. Whilst this is a form of deep
tissue massage due to the slow pace it can be deeply relaxing.
Myofascial release technique can be described as:
• Land on the surface of the body with the appropriate 'tool' (knuckles, or
• Sink into the soft tissue.
• Contact the first barrier/restricted layer.
• Put in a 'line of tension'.
• Engage the fascia by taking up the slack in the tissue.
• Finally, move or drag the fascia across the surface while staying in touch
with the underlying layers.
• Exit gracefully.
It is an invaluable form of treatment. plus it is oil free, thus for those
people wishing to go to work or somewhere other than a shower after a massage it
is a terrific style to choose. It is the treatment style of choice for