Following on from last month’s newsletter, a new biological paradigm was discussed. That of the body being a continuum of tissue where if one aspect is affected (like the big toe), it can affect any other area in the body (cause a headache). Every single cell is surrounded by a cytoskeleton made up of fascia.

Myofascial Release (MFR) is a technique which restores balance to the body. In order for the technique to be effective, all 3 layers (superficial, deep and dural) of the connective tissue must be engaged. As we have established that fascia is one large sheet of connective tissue throughout the body which surrounds all other tissues and organs in the body including nerves, vessels, muscle and bone. Thus it follows that when one area scars and hardens, it can place tension on adjacent pain-sensitive structures, as well affect other structures in far away areas.

“When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. The changes trauma causes in the fascial system influences comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.”

John F. Barnes PT

MFR is an extremely mild and gentle form of stretching that has a profound effect on body tissues. It is a technique which allows the tissue to yield its secrets, as opposed to controlling an outcome. It is also possible to treat an area which is seemingly unrelated to the injury or surgical site yet, because of the interconnectedness of the body, the treatment is effective. The stretch is gentle yet must be sustained. Other soft tissue mobilisation techniques exist which can be painful but typically do not engage all levels of connective tissue. They are sometimes referred to as myofascial release but are different to the technique described above. MFR is relatively painless during the process. The pain may occur after therapy as the body is asked to move or hold itself in a different way. Bearing this in mind, MFR fits in very well with trained physical rehabilitation therapists in that we are qualified to prescribe gentle exercises which will assist in maintaining the ‘new’ form.  Acute cases resolve after a few treatments but chronic conditions will take longer to influence.


EquiCanis Canine Myofascial Release Course presented by Ruth Mitchell-Golladay PT, CMT, NCTMB, EBW - April 2018

Video: Strolling Under the Skin - for more insight

Photos used from guimberteau website