In our previous entry we described myofascial release, how it compares to structural integration, and the need to be highly trained in the modality in order to know how to manipulate fascia in the correct way so it creates an optimal pattern, allowing for natural, effortless movement. This week we’ll look at some of the unique properties of myofascial release.
In order to manipulate the fascia correctly, therapists often have to use more than just the front of their hands, incorporating their knuckles, forearms and elbows as well. This manipulation of the fascia adds pressure and heat to fascia, which causes it to melt and become more liquid. Massage therapists can actually feel this happen as they perform the modality and, in fact, researchers have observed small electrical charges emitted by fascia when it encounters pressure or heat, which stimulates and softens surrounding tissues.
As we described last week, this melting and reforming of fascia and the body’s structural alignment can increase circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, and improve muscle movement. But it can also actually bring to the surface repressed emotions that stem from past traumatic experiences, allowing clients to process personal mental issues and, some claim, reach a heightened state of emotional and mental balance.
This heightened emotional state is not only apparent in the client but is essential within the therapist providing myofascial therapy, at least according to one expert in the modality. As this specialist writes, therapists must “feel their own pain and face their own fears” to silence themselves “physically and mentally.” This allows them to feel and know the exact problem of the “person or animal” they are working on, which then takes “the guesswork” out of the health care they provide.
What are your experiences with myofascial release? Does it require a therapist who is both physically and mentally trained in the modality? And does it lead to dramatic physical and mental changes in the recipient? Since there are no comprehensive studies on the therapeutic effectiveness of myofascial release, please share your anecdotes or opinions with us in the comments section.