Last Reviewed on February 10, 2021 by Alice Pien, MD & Asher Milgrom, PhD
What is Myofascial Release Therapy?
Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue (fascial system) restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate and release.
Myofascial Release Therapy is a comprehensive way to treat the body in a holistic manner, by working to target and treat the cause or source of the problem. Symptoms are eliminated in order to make permanent structural changes within the body to help the patient return to a pain free active lifestyle.
What is Fascia and the Fascial System?
Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord.
The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
The Importance of Fascia
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures.
In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, the fascia will lose 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.
Treating Pain with Myofascial Release Therapy
Trauma, inflammatory responses from injury or overuse, and/or surgical procedures create myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)
An extremely high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems. Most patients go undiagnosed because the fascial system is not visible on x-rays and scans.
The use of Myofascial Release Therapy allows the massage therapist to look at each patient as a unique individual. One-on-one therapy sessions are hands-on treatments during which a multitude of Myofascial Release techniques and movement therapies are utilized. With each patient, the Myofascial Release Therapy massage specialist take pride in the promotion of independence through education in proper body mechanics and movement, enhancement of strength, improved flexibility, and postural and movement awareness.
In addition to Myofascial Release Therapy, treatments are often combined with Stem Cell Therapy for maximum pain relief.
Conditions that Myofascial Release Therapy can Treat
- Headaches & Migraines
- Myofascial Pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Women’s Health Issues
- Pelvic & Menstual Problems
- TMJ Dysfunction
- Neck & Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Restriction of Motion
- Acute & Chronic Pain
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Repetitive Stress & Sports Injuries
- Neurological Dysfunction
Each Myofascial Release Therapy massage session usually lasts 60 minutes, and is performed directly on skin WITHOUT oils, creams or machinery. This enables the massage therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia.
Wearing loose shorts and a small tank top or loose fitting sports bra is the perfect attire to ensure that the massage therapist can access each part of the body while making sure that you are comfortable and relaxed during your session.
Multiple modalities of light stretching, gentle pressure, along with a multitude of Myofascial Release Therapy techniques and movement therapies are utilized throughout each session. Most often the patient will leave each session feeling extremely relaxed, grounded, balanced and in better alignment.
About the Authors
Doctors Alice Pien, MD and Asher Milgrom, Phd are established pioneers in the fields of Regenerative Medicine and Skincare. Their expertise ranges from advanced laser systems to HCT/P – Stem Cell medicine. Their medical education and advanced certifications span from medical schools of NY State University, the University of Chicago, to Johns Hopkins, Harvard and UCLA. They approach medicine with the clinical expertise of over 85,000 successful treatments over the past 20 years and significant scientific research resulting in proprietary protocols that they customize for each individual patient.