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Myofascial Release: What Is It, How Does It Work and What Conditions Can It Help

If you are to understand what the myofascial release technique is, you need to understand what superficial fascia is. The superfiscial fascia is a layer that surrounds the body’s nerves, glands and organs. It’s loosely made up of fat tissue and muscle in various fat quantities.

It’s the superfiscial fascia, which is one long structure from head to toe, that that makes up the body’s shape and fills up the unoccupied regions. It’s found mainly in the lower stomach area, adjacent to the stomach wall where many organs are. A thin layer can be found on the feet and hands as well as the sides of the face and neck.

It also works to do the following:

  • Help in the movement of skin,
  • Give blood vessels and nerves a pathway to the skin
  • Ensure body heat is conserved through the fat content

Fascia will attach itself to underlying muscle tissue because of injuries and lack of stretching. Myofascial restrictions and adhesions can also be caused by surgery, inflammation and trauma. Adhesions will cause soreness, pain, restrict muscle movement and decrease both flexibility and motion.

Physical Therapists Use The Myofascial Release Technique

Now, the myofascial release technique is carried out by physical therapists. It works by applying gentle but sustained pressure to the tissues while providing the fascia with traction. What happens is that the fascial tissue relaxes and stretches; causing adhesions to be removed and restoring range of motion and flexibility. In the end, this results in decreased pain.

All myofascial release treatments tend to involve the same mechanism. A therapist will use their touch to find where tightness in the body is and put a light amount of stretch to it. As the tissue starts to relax, the therapist will put more motion into it. During the entire process, the therapist will let you know what he/she is doing, and get feedback from you to ensure the treatment is successful.

The entire process will continue until the affected area has been thoroughly relaxed. Once done, treatment on the next area can be started. Since the technique is so relaxing, it’s not uncommon for patients to fall asleep. The treatment’s goal is to balance the tension in the muscles out.

What Conditions Does This Technique Help

The myofascial release technique is useful for many conditions including but not limited to:

  • All types of back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fibrositis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Many people who use this technique do it after other treatment methods have failed. If you suffer from any of the above conditions and have not gotten relief from other treatment options, it’s time to talk with your doctor to see if the myofascial release technique is what you need.

Be sure you set up an appointment with a physical therapist at Bethesda Metro Physical Therapy that will do a muscle exam to see if this technique is “just what the doctor ordered”.

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Bethesda Metro Physical Therapy
6931 Arlington Road Suite T200A
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907-2659


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Physical Therapy Bethesda MD Office Bethesda Metro Physical Therapy logo for footer

6931 Arlington Road Suite T200A

Bethesda, MD 20814