I got your attention didn't I? And sorry to disappoint, but we aren't going to be talking about the sexy times here. We are going to speak about Myofascial Release. There's a lot of cloudiness regarding it's effect and the research behind it. We are going to look more into this style of massage therapy.
It starts with understanding what the fascia is. Fascia is a 3 layer network within our body that connects the skin, to muscle, to tendon, to bone. Imagine a network that holds everything together we learned in anatomy class. Or all the space in between. Sometimes there are going to be times when this network, which is normally relaxed, tenses up, become rigid, and restricts movement.
Myofascial release is a massage technique that uses constant pressure to force the fascia to relax and release muscles and tendons. Most massage techniques use of process of rolling, or pushing the muscle and fascia around. By applying constant pressure to a single spot, it forces the fascia to release tightness and all the body to move as intended.
One of the greatest benefits to Myofascial Release is that, under proper coaching by a qualified professional, you can take some of these practices home. Foam rolling is a great example of Self-Myofascial Release that many people like to take home for back and shoulder pain. Massage hooks are another great tool for applying deep tissue pressure.
Some of the negatives are the lack of research to help support the legitimacy to this massage technique. 10 out of 88 studies were able to support this technique as promising and beneficial. There is also argument within the field of Myofascial Release regarding proper technique and frequency.
In our gym, we support the supervised use of Myofascial Release. We look at a lot of different options however, and it's obviously not always the answer. It sure feels great and allows more flexibility to help in our range of motion. Learning how to use the foam rollers and deep tissue massage hooks is vital. Without these lessons, one can really hurt themselves.
The verdict is out. Give it a try when you have exhausted options and be sure to find a professional to help you.