What Is Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR)?

Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) is a hands-on technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into restrictions within the body's soft tissue in order to restore range of motion and decrease pain.

The skilled hands of the therapist are trained to feel these fascial restrictions, which differ from one person to the next. The use of MFR treatments allows the therapist to administer a customized treatment to meet the specific needs of each individual client.

What Is Fascia?

Fascia is the tough, fibrous tissue that lies directly beneath the skin, and its purpose is to serve as the connective tissue between the skin and the underlying muscle tissues. It doesn't stop there. Beneath this superficial layer of fascia are increasingly deeper layers of fascia that penetrate every muscle, bone, organ, nerve, artery, vein, and system of the body, all the way down to the cellular level. In other words, the fascia is multi-dimensional web the size and shape of you that serves as the immediate environment of every cell in the body.

The unique thing about fascia is that there is no beginning and no end to the fascial system; it is one continuous sheath of densely, interwoven tissue that runs from the head to the toes and back without interruption.

The function of the fascial system is to give shape and form to the body, to support every other structure in the body, and to help absorb shock. In a normal, healthy state, the fascial system is fluid, pliable and will stretch and move without restriction.

Physical traumas (such as falls, car accidents, surgeries, etc.), inflammation, scarring, habitual poor posture, and emotional traumas can cause the fascia to lose its fluidity and pliability. When this happens, the fascia becomes hard and fibrous, causing restrictions and dysfunction in the body. When such restrictions are not addressed, they have a cumulative effect and can lead to pain, diminished range of motion, headaches, and an endless list of other chronic conditions.

How is Myofascial Release Different from Massage?

Myofascial Release is not massage. Traditional massage techniques utilize a lubricant so the therapist's hands can glide across the skin; thus affecting circulation and muscles. Myofascial Release Therapy does not utilize any lotions, oils, creams, or gels; and the therapist's hands typically do not glide over the skin. Myofascial release affects the muscles and circulation, and also the connective tissue as well as every other system in the body. Because of the interconnectedness of the fascial system, an imbalance in one area of the body can cause pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Regardless of a client's diagnosis, a Myofascial Release therapist will assess the whole person to find imbalances in the structure. A restriction in the low back, for example, can cause shoulder pain, headaches, limited range of motion in the knee, or any number of other symptoms. This is why whole body treatments are imperative for any diagnosis instead of treating only the area where the pain manifests.