While many massage techniques induce relaxation with soothing and gentle kneading, myofascial release involves more intense muscle manipulation. Myofascial release is similar to Swedish massage, but the gentle pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. Additionally, this type of therapy reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Unlike most traditional massage that promotes whole-body relaxation, myofascial release is often used to target specific trouble spots after an accident or injury has left you stiff and sore, as in instances of whiplash or falls.
Myofascial release is used to treat a variety of physical ailments such as:
- Chronic pain
- Injured muscles
- Limited mobility
- Postural problems
How It Works
Before myofascial release, a trained and certified therapist will discuss the client’s accident, injury or complaints of generalized stiffness, gaining an understanding of how the pain or injury is impacting the client’s daily life and what he or she is hoping to gain. It will be customized to the specific needs of the client, focusing on the stiff, sore and achy areas that are of the most concern.
Myofascial release works by breaking down muscle adhesions that can build up after an accident or a chronic illness. By applying gentle, controlled pressure and friction to an afflicted area across the grain of the muscle, myofascial release relaxes rigid tissue and relieves the pain associated with stiff muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Therapists may encourage their clients to apply ice to tender spots following myofascial release. Some soreness the day after can be expected, though the discomfort should pass in a day.