What’s so great about myofascial release?


This specialised style of massage can be a great technique for helping muscle strain or injury. Here’s why…

You may not have heard of myofascial release (‘myo-what?!’) but it’s becoming more popular. ‘It’s a specific type of massage for chronic, recurring issues, such as injuries or strain, and is more focused and deeper than traditional massage techniques,’ says Christopher, a massage therapist.

What is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial tissues wrap around your body’s muscles, connecting and supporting them. But you can experience pain and inflammation in these connective tissues, perhaps from an injury or from excessive strain on a particular muscle group, for example in your back or thighs, causing myofascial pain syndrome.

‘This leads to irregularities in the flow of blood and nutrients to the tissues, and poor lymphatic drainage of waste products in the body,’ says Christopher. ‘This lack of circulation and waste build-up causes inflammation and painful knots develop, called trigger points. If they’re left untreated, other areas can be affected, causing problems such as headaches or radiating pains through multiple areas of the body,’ he adds.

How can massage help?

Myofascial release focuses on reducing these trigger points. ‘The therapist will use slow, deep and sustained pressure at different angles, with fingers, arms and elbows,’ says Christopher. ‘He will press down on a trigger point and create traction in a particular direction to encourage blood flow and lymphatic drainage. This massage is always done without oil, for better traction.’

The process can be repeated several times on the same area until the therapist feels the tension is fully released. ‘Opening up the muscle group and aiding hydration and waste removal helps muscles build and grow,’ says Christopher. ‘To benefit from myofascial release, I would recommend a session of around an hour.  If you have an ongoing chronic issue, a session every week for about a month – then a few monthly sessions thereafter if you need it ­ – should be enough to heal your muscle strain or injury once and for all.’

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