About Myofascial Release
[MYOFASCIAL SYSTEM: MYO: Muscles
FASCIA: The ‘web’ of connective tissues throughout the body that surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel and organ to the cellular level.]
Myofascial Release is an Osteopath-developed technique that assesses and treats restrictions in the vast and profound Fascial System of the body. Problems in the Fascial System can arise from trauma, poor posture, surgery, inflammation, overuse etc. Because of its vastness and interconnectivity, a restriction in one area of the fascia may cause symptoms in another seemingly unrelated area (think about a spider web, and how a movement in one part of the web transmits to another part of the web). An experienced therapist knows to look beyond the symptoms to treat the cause.
This diagram shows a cross-section of the calf. The muscles are coloured pink; the two low leg bones are white with grey centres; and the fascial compartments are coloured green. This diagram is one example of the kind of compartments that fascia makes within the body.
It is important to note that major branches of blood vessels and nerves (red, purple and yellow) are embedded in the fascial sleeves, so restriction in the fascia creates compression on those structures.
Picture credit: The Fasciae. Anatomy, Dysfunction and Treatment. Paoletti, S. 2006.
more on the fascial system
Fascia varies in consistency from being gossamer-like to being thick and tough. Regardless of its consistency, it should have elasticity because one of its jobs is to provide “slide and glide” for structures in order for us, and all our internal structures to move freely and without pain.
Interestingly, it is only fairly recently that the importance of fascia has become realised. It was understood that fascia created compartments within the body but it wasn’t realised how much of an impact there was when the fascia developed inflammation, restrictions and scarring.
With technology developments, it has been seen that the fascia extends beyond making compartments for other structures, to the fascia actually being part of those structures. So, it can be literally said that EVERYTHING in the body is connected!
More recently it has been discovered that the fascia is the main medium the the Immune System operates in. Therefore a myofascial restriction cannot just be thought of in the terms of only being a superficial Musculoskeletal System restriction!
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