What Is Myofascial Release Therapy?

What Is Myofascial Release Therapy?

Myofascial Release Therapy
Damage to skeletal muscle can have far reaching consequence if it is not treated in time using proper methods. To reduce muscle pain and improve mobility, a specialized soft tissue therapy is used which is called Myofascial release therapy. It is used to lengthen, shorten muscles and repair tissue damage. The therapist applies pressure on skin to tackle immobility, enhance circulation and flexibility of muscles. This process is repeatedly deployed until contracted tissue becomes softened.

When you can opt for Myofascial treatment

A lot of people opt for this procedure after suffering muscular flexibility post an accident or mishap. As it is, this therapy is given to people from both genders and covers many age groups. It can be applied on many body parts where soft tissue damage has taken place. This method is also used to treat specific medical conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome, Temporo-Mandibular Joint disorder, migraine headaches, arthritis etc.

People suffering from conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and jaw pain benefit from it. Even women opt for this therapy for relief from menstrual problems, pelvic pain etc. In rare cases, the method is applied to children to treat conditions like cerebral palsy, head injuries and scoliosis.

Who offers Myofascial Release Therapy

As a matter of fact, various types of health professionals can offer you myofascial release therapy nowadays. Examples include trained osteopathic physicians, occupational therapists, injury specialists and chiropractors. A high competency level is prerequisite to work as a certified Myofascial Release Therapist. The efficacy of the therapy depends on expertise of the practitioner and his personal style and knowledge on the method.

How Myofascial Release Therapy is Administered

As it is, myofascial release therapy sessions resemble those of post-operative rehabilitation therapy. The therapist will inspect affected body regions thoroughly at the beginning of the session and ask you related questions. The therapist will hear your complaints and find out root cause of pain or immobility. He may ask you to get into various postures as well and touch and feel affected regions. Thereafter, he will decide a suitable method for you.

The sessions can last for half an hour to an hour and the duration varies on kind and amount of damage to tissues and muscles. This therapy is usually applied at health center or hospital’s outpatient clinic. The tenure can be of a few weeks or more. Both hands and instruments can be used by the therapist. Usually, any massage cream or oil is not used in this process.

Myofascial Therapy Can Also be Used as Complement to Other Mainstream Medical Therapies in Some Instances. It is Often Used in Conjunction With

  • Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen
  • Heat and cold compress methods
  • Self-stretching exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Occupational therapy

It Can be Broadly Classified Into 2 Categories:

Direct Myofascial Release

In this method, the technique is deployed directly on affected body parts. The therapist is likely to use her or his elbows and knuckles to soothe and rectify affected tissues. It requires possessing a significant amount of skill.

Indirect Myofascial Release

In this method, the therapist applies soft stretching exercises on affected muscles and tissues. This enhances blood flow and leads to muscle loosening. Usually, chiropractors resort to this method.

How Myofascial Therapy Can Relive Pain

It is true that application of this therapy can be a tad painful at times. However, it has been found to be very effective in providing long term relief from strain, painful spasms and tensed muscles. The therapy loosens up tight and damaged muscles in body. The method also enhances blood circulation and aids natural healing process.

The relief from the therapy also varies from one person to another. Some recipients feel relief from muscle stiffness and pain quickly while for others the relief comes gradually. It has also been seen that some people feel discomfort initially and then feel better. The mobility and flexibility is enhanced slowly.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad