The experience of Fascial Release is familiar to most people, in that it just feels good! It has been likened to ‘a slow melting’, or a deeply meditative moment of great subtlety and intensity. When the appropriate amount of pressure is applied to the muscle belly, you can experience a sensation of release throughout the body and its network of fascia. This can take the form of warmth, tingling, and even referred sensations in areas of the body distant from where pressure is being applied!
What is fascia, you ask? Fascia is the vast web of connective tissue that permeates and binds our bodies just under the skin and around our organs. The body’s reaction to Fascial Release is caused by a stretch response in tendons and blood flow to stagnant tissue after these areas are treated. The technique begins with a “lead” or pressure in the direction of intention. The stroke commonly goes from one end of a muscle or muscle group to the other but can also be dictated by “anatomy trains”, or meridians, specific to each person. The pressure remains constant, with micro adjustments building blood collection near the point of contact. Once released, blood flows to flush the treated areas and presents as a redness for several minutes before resolving.
The origin of the modality of Fascial Release comes from health care professionals operating in the western medicine tradition. Ida Rolf is considered primary among those who lay the groundwork for this modality. Born at the end of the 19th century, she was a nurse working in end-of-life care, known for development of the Rolfing modality. Osteopath Robert Ward, a student of the Rolf school, and physical therapist John Barnes are credited with founding Myofascial Release, the parent of Fascial Release Therapy.
Beyond the medical vernacular and specificity of the treatment are the infinite ways in which it can help most anyone at any stage of life or recovery, including general maintenance.
Conditions that can be helped by Fascial Release:
- Muscle stiffness and pain from inactivity or overuse
- Neck, back, shoulder, arm and leg pain
- Discomfort from fibromyalgia
- Myofascial pain syndrome
Specific issues are not necessary for Fascial Release to be applicable, but by scheduling an Integrated Massage, future pain can be reduced or avoided.
Check in with Cooper, our resident specialist in this modality, and watch your aches and pains melt away!