What is Fascia?
The fascial system is a three-dimensional web of connective tissue composed primarily of collagen that extends throughout your entire body, supporting and encompassing every organ, vessel, nerve, muscle, and bone. Think of your fascia as a web of perfectly tensioned guy wires that stabilize the structure of your body—a network that is actually composed of tubules containing fluid that move and glide in multiple planes, allowing for free and healthy movement. The fascial system is interconnected and continuous throughout your body. With injury, disease, inflammation, or trauma, the fascial system can develop restrictions that hinder movement and create pain in areas of the body that may be far away from the original site of injury. Even events that may not seem like trauma—like giving birth (or being born!), emotional trauma, and surgery—can cause alternations in fascial mobility that eventually become restrictions or “snags” in the fascial web. Think of how a single pull in a sweater translates into lines of tension that cross the entire garment.
Watch Dr Jean-Claude Guimberteau’s amazing video of fascial movement (from “Strolling Under the Skin”) and this one of his recordings with subtitles. There is a huge amount of ongoing research to explore this fascinating system—you can visit the Fascia Research Congress website or see Resources on the left of this page to learn more.
What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release, or MFR, is a gentle, hands-on therapy that works with the body’s own intuitive healing processes to release restrictions and dysfunctional patterns in the body, reducing pain and improving functional mobility. Gentle, sustained holds allow time for the body to accept the techniques being introduced and result in lasting change.
Not all fascial restrictions manifest in immediate pain—in many cases, microtrauma from repetitive activities like recreational activities, work tasks, and poor posture adds up over time, compounded by additional traumas like car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. This may result in the feeling that your movement is restricted by diffuse tension or localized tightness, and can be significant enough to feel like an internal “straight-jacket” that prevents you from moving freely or even breathing deeply.
Because of the gentle nature of MFR, it is safe to be used during pregnancy, after surgery, and for painful conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines or chronic pain. Also, because it targets the underlying restrictions throughout the body that may cause stress and pain in a variety of places, it is successful in treating chronic, difficult-to-treat conditions like TMD (jaw pain and clicking/popping), pelvic pain, plantar fasciitis, headaches or migraines, and neck and low back pain.