Myofascial Release is a safe, hands-on technique used as a complement to traditional physical therapy. It involves applying gentle sustained pressure into myofascial connective tissue restrictions to breakup fibers that constrain and joints, ligaments, and muscles to restore motion and mobility. The essential “time element,” that is the sustained pressure required to break up fascial restrictions, has to do with unique physical properties of the fascia system. Low load (gentle to moderate pressure) applied slowly over the duration of minutes will allow the facial to reorganize and elongate creating the sensation of free movement as well as objectively greater range of motion when combined with manual therapy.
Fascial is a type of connective tissue that surrounds and is embedded in our skin, muscle, bones and ligaments. Fascia supports and protects these structures and is made up of collagen and elastin, two types of connective tissue proteins. Fascial fibers can be finer than a spider's web or these individual fascial fibers may coalesce and organize into sheets, sleeves, or cords to support, give structure, and define planes between muscles and other soft tissues. Fascia is critical for proper functioning of our body and allows muscles and tendons to glide past one another while compartmentalizing our soft tissue to give it form.
Watch the following video to get an idea of how fine and intricate the fascial network in our body can be. This video was filmed by surgeons performing endoscopic surgery where a small camera is inserted between the skin and muscles creating a space where the fibers of fascia can then be seen.
Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures can create fascial restrictions that cause discomfort and and a tight, pulling sensation under the skin and across joints. Farmington Valley Physical Therapy uses Myofascial release technique in combinatio with manual therapy and joint manipulation to increase flexibilty and to prepare patient's for therapeutic exercise.