Yesterday, I talked some about fascia: what it is, how it supports and shapes the body, how it can create pulls in the body. To regain freedom of movement, the fascia needs to be released.
There are many different ways of doing this. One approach is myofascial release. The underlying principal is that myofascia reacts to heat, pressure, and tension. So how can therapist do this with a client lying on a massage table?
Basically, the therapist determines where some of the restriction is and leans their hands onto the client’s body. This is the pressure part of the technique. The heat is generated by the hands and the client’s body.
(A digression – are you aware of your own body heat? First give both your hands a good shake, just to wake them up. Now with your arms by your sides, elbows bent, comfortably hold your hands up with the palms facing each other. Hold them about 6 inches apart. Can you feel any heat between them? Slowly move your hands closer together. Stop when you can feel a warmth between them. Before your hands touch, you should be able to feel a warmth – your body’s heat!)
Back to the release. With the heat and the pressure, the connective tissue will start to “melt”. The therapist will now gently apply a slight pull (stretch) to the tissue. The hands slide apart as the tissue underneath
To you, the client, the sensation can feel like a “rope burn” or a subtle stretch. You beome aware of connections – a pull is going through your body. (This process can give the sensation of a rope burn.)
This whole process is slow – it takes at least 90 seconds for these changes to occur in the body’s tissues.
By changing the underlying fascia, space is being created in the body - space for the muscles which are encased in fascia to move, space for the joints to move freely. Your body stocking no longer restricts you - it now fits you! Explore myofascial release.