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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

What Is Myofascia

Myofascial Release

Myo comes from the Greek word for “muscle” and fascia comes from the Latin word for “band”. A lot of us may have heard of the plantar fascia on the bottom of our feet and the “IT band” which is the connective tissue on the lateral aspect of the upper thighs. Fascia is a single uninterrupted web of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, nerves, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, bones and organs and connects all of the above even on a microcellular level.

Fascia is just as vital a structural component as our bones. Without it our bodies would be incapable of such basic functions as sitting, standing and walking and running. It binds these structures together in much the same way that cling film is used to hold the contents of a sandwich together. It is multi layered with superficial, deep and visceral layers.

It is composed of collagen, elastin and ground substance. Collagen is a protein which provides strength whilst elastin is also a protein that provides flexibility. Studies show that elastin enables tissue to increase its flexibility by 150% of its original length. Ground substance is a liquid gel that binds it all together. The ground substance also acts as a medium for blood plasma and lymphatic fluid to move into our cells which allows nutrients and hormones to move in freely whilst assisting in removal of waste products from our cells. It is a highway of communication. Tightness or blockages within the myofascia therefore creates a restriction in the muscle systems of our bodies and has a profound effect of the length and function of the muscles.

Causes Of Myofascial Restriction

Treatment

According to the research there is no evidence for medicine, modalities, muscle energy techniques, mobilizations/manipulations, massage and flexibility and exercise programs to suggest a significant change in the fascial restrictions that occur in the high percentage of patients presenting in physiotherapy clinics. These restrictions are only altered via myofascial release (Barnes, PT, LMT).

Myofascial release therapy is a safe and highly effective form of hands on soft tissue manipulation that helps restore the myofascia to an individual’s “physiological adaptive capacity”, or natural state.

Conditions That Benefit From Myofascial Release:

Fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches & migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, shin splints, strains, whiplash, dislocations, rheumatoid arthritis, temporal mandibular joint disorder, bursitis, pes planus, plantar faciitis, IT band syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, herniated discs, sciatica, thoracic outlet syndrome and yes pretty much everything…

References:
The Biology of Belief, by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD.
Myofascial Release-The “Missing link” in your treatment. Article by John F. Barnes, PT, LMT

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