Myofascial Massage Bodywork is a type of massage therapy used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. Myo means muscle, and fascia is the web-like structure that surrounds the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs of the body.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder caused by overuse of the tissues of the body, whether from extreme exercise, or habit and lifestyle. Because the fascia surrounds the muscles and joints of the body, and tightness throughout the muscles can cause the tissues of the fascia to become bound up, or sticky causing "knots, or trigger points".
Myofascial Massage Bodywork addresses the areas of tightness and the surrounding connective tissues using specific massage techniques. The use of these techniques reduces pain by easing the tension and sticky points, increasing mobility in the muscles, and more flexibility in the fascia.
What does fascia look like?
This is an image of the fascia under a microscope. As you can see here, fascia is a web-like structure made up of collagen and elastin. This connective tissue intertwines throughout the entire body, connecting itself to the joints, tendons, ligaments, as well as through each layer of muscle cells. This tissue encapsulates and glues our bodies together forming as an intracellular matrix of webbing.
How does MyoFascial Massage Bodywork work?
During the massage session the practitioner with feel for stiff or tight areas in the tissues. Healthy myofascia is soft, malleable, like puddy and elastin. To release these stiff, tight areas, the therapist will massage, stretch, and move the areas that feel stuck into a more freeing open position. Usually multiple stroke attempts are needed in the same area of trigger points until adequate tension is fully released. By releasing the tension of a specific area other proximal parts of the body may experience relief as well, this is because the body is a working system of muscles.
You can picture this idea simply by thinking of your bed sheets, when you have smooth ironed out sheets there are no wrinkles or lines in the sheet. If you were to start pulling on say the bottom right corner, eventually you will begin to notice the sheet in the middle, crinkle, and then event the opposite corners with move in the direction of where the pull is coming from. Now imagine the sheet being the fascia, the mattress the muscles, when you release the tension at the right bottom corner, you can then move the sheet back to its original edges smoothing out the sheet over the entire mattress.
Can I benefit from Myofascial Massage Bodywork?
Whether you're and athlete, gym goer, weekend warrior, or just a computer desk jockey, you can benefit from this modality. Sitting for extended periods of time in front of a computer or phone screen can cause added strain the muscles of the neck, leading to chronic pain, experiencing headaches, disrupted sleep, stress etc.
Sitting for long hours also increased tightness in our hips, which weakens our core, and puts added stress on our lower back which leads to chronic low back pain.
The muscles of the body are mechanical levers that have various shapes and sizes to move the human skeleton in global ways. When exercising in the gym with full contraction squeezes, or complete lengthening (negatives) movements, we can cause muscular imbalances. Left unaddressed these muscular imbalances causes opposing muscles to become weak leading to structural imbalances causing decreased strength, performance, and injury.
All of these situations are common and the pathologies associated can benefit from Myofascial Massage Bodywork. Releasing targeted myofascial points brings balance back and pain goes away, flexibility increases, strength goes up and you experience better performance.
Benefits of MyoFascial Massage Bodywork
Pain is often greatly reduced or eliminated.
Finally wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
Better posture, look and feel healthier with more confidence.
Immediately and significantly reduce stress.
Greatly improved mobility after just one session!
Better mobility, which leads to more effective training, and keeps you staying motivated.
Frequently Asked Questions.
What makes Myofascial Massage different from regular massage?
Regular massage typically uses techniques like knuckle kneading, folding, effleurage, vibrations, tapping, all used to create a response to the tissues. This could be for recovery, blood flow, relaxation, pre exercise, and even injury repair.
Myofascial Massage Bodywork is different in that client is assessed through static and movement assessments to see what compensations are happening. The practitioner can use theses compensations to have a starting point of typically overactive and tight muscles. Instead of using a series of techniques to stimulate a tissue response, the practitioner uses very deep, and very slow strokes that move the myofascial back to optimal mechanical position, releasing trigger point and reducing pain.
What is Myofascial Massage Bodywork good for?
It is very effective in reducing pain from a lack of mobility and flexibility.
Increases strength in the muscles.
Improves posture, leaving you to feeling more confident.
Is Myofascial Massage Bodywork based on scientific research?
YES! There are many schools of thought that all stem from the ideas and knowledge of fascia. Tom Myers Anatomy trains goes into great detail explaining the fascial system as it relates to manual bodywork and massage therapist.