Myofascial Release

Fascia is a truly incredible, complex system of connective tissue that weaves throughout the entire body in several layers. In a healthy state, it has an almost gelatinous quality and when dysfunctional, it can become  hardened and thickened.

Among it’s known functions, fascia separates, encases, and supports muscles, internal organs and nerves. It acts as a shock absorbing medium and also, as we are just beginning to understand, a medium for conveying information within the body. Studies are being performed to learn more about fascia’s  potential contractile ability.

One way of visualizing fascia is as a full-body suit of nylon. Problems can occur when fascia becomes thickened, hardened or “stuck” causing pulls or tension in other regions of the fascial web therefore no longer optimally able to distribute force evenly, or allow muscles to glide easily over one another.

Myofascial release is a collection of specific techniques designed to release “stuck” or adhered layers of fascial tissue, thus restoring proper, pain-free movement and function.  Often these techniques are applied slowly with the therapist actively engaging the tissue and feeling for a release.

Problems in fascia can occur for many reasons with some of the most common including; trauma (eg.whiplashaccidentssports injuries), poor posture held over time (causing fascial layers to thicken, becoming less mobile and less willing to move out of that position), and surgery (causing scar tissue to form and fascial layers to “pucker”).

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in fascia and fascial research. Vancouver was host the third  International Fascia Research Congress at the end of March 2012, bringing medical professionals from all over the world to share the latest research on this fascinating connective tissue.

For more information on fascia, check out these links:

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