Massage is a relaxing therapy enjoyed by many, but did you know there are many different types of massage? In general massage works on the muscles, warming them and helping remove toxins and encouraging them to relax and release tension. This can be very beneficial but often the connective tissue surrounding the muscles does not release and consequently old tensions return.
Myofascial release massage works with the body’s connective tissue to encourage it to release and reduce tension and restrictions. Research investigating Myofascial release therapy for children with Cerebral Palsy found positive results for a number of factors such as tone and range of movement. http://unmmg.org/clinics/cfl/assets/MyofascialArticle.pdf A further study found Mysofascial release combined with osteopathy improved motor function for children with mild to moderate cerebral palsy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18948639
To understand Myofascial release it is useful to know about fascia:
Fascia is a connective tissue that runs throughout the body from your head to your toes. It is like a web of tissue that can be found around your organs, muscles, blood vessels and glands. It is a three dimensional dynamic structure that in health can move and stretch without restriction. There are times when the fascia tighten and almost stick and clump together. Poor posture, trauma, stress and inflammation can all lead to restrictions in your fascia. This restriction then puts pressure on the structures related to the fascia such as nerves, muscles, blood vessels and bones. These in turn all become restricted too.
A great way to understand is by imagining you are wearing an all-in-one body suit which allows you to stretch and move, this is how healthy fascia behaves. Imagine now that parts of that body suit have lost their stretch and become tight and immobile. Imagine another area has been gathered up and pinned into a tight ball of fabric. Imagine another section is rough and coarse. Now try to move as freely as you first did. Your muscles need to work harder. Your blood flow is restricted. Your joints are under strain. Eventually you start to feel aches and pains, fatigue and tension. This is how restricted fascia can feel. It is exhausting!
Releasing this tight fascia allows your body to adjust back to a point of mobility and comfort. Myofascial release massage is performed without oils to allow the therapist to feel the fascial tissue and create an internal climate for change. Gentle sustained pressure and stretching allows the restricted fascia to release and circulation to improve. The treatment is relaxing and gentle without forcing the tissues.
The results vary but for some people the release is immediate and movement restored to a level they had lost often months before. It may take a number of treatments for some people but progress should be seen after a three or four sessions.
To find out more about myofascial release visit http://www.myofascialrelease.co.uk/
About the author: Joanne Marie is a nurse, reflexology and massage practitioner working at Breathe Holistic Therapy Kidderminster DY11 5LB http://www.breathetherapy.co.uk/ A passionate advocate of complementary therapies Joanne works with a wide variety of clients. Joanne has a ten year old son who loves reflexology and massage almost as much as his mother!