View Full Version : Myofacial Release/Stretching
06-18-2008, 01:49 PM
I went to a class last night on Myofacial Release and wondered if anyone here has experience with it? I have known the OTR who put on this class for years. She has used this method in her practice for a long time, and she has used this technique on me years ago when I had a sore wrist. I didn't notice a huge difference in my case. She claims that it is helpful to nearly everyone and impossible to harm anyone with it, so she uses it a lot. It seemed to me that it didn't harm anything, but didn't really help measurably either. I went to the class in the hopes that I would understand this better, perhaps understand the science behind it, but I still am having trouble believing in it's usefulness. Does anyone have some knowledge to share on this? Thx.
06-18-2008, 04:37 PM
Yes! I have myofasciitus (sp???). My doctor put me onto the stretches and the digging into the affected sinews etc. At first I thought the stretches didn't work, but it takes a while and you have to keep it up. I've had some pretty decent results with them. I also have a massage therapist work on the affected areas whenever I have a chance, and I try to do the same.
Unfortunately, my hands don't have the strength they need because of the myfasciitus, so I can't dig in as well as I would like. I hope that helps.
06-19-2008, 03:10 PM
Thanks for the response, CanvasShoes. I guess I don't have enough serious pain to feel a big difference. I'll give my book another look and do some stretches for a few days and we'll see. It's just that the guy who she learned the technique from sounds like a bit of a loony. She included an article she wrote as a handout for the class. He writes paragraphs with exclamation points every other sentence and claims that there is no such thing as disease; all can be cured with myofacial release. This tends to make me think it's all a bunch of hooey. I was just interested to see if anyone else had any experience with it. From the number of views and the number of responses, I would guess that this technique is not so well known.
Thanks again. j
06-24-2008, 01:36 PM
My massage therapist does this. On one hand, like you I don't really notice that much difference. On the other I can understand the theory behind it and agree that I can see how it could work. From what I understand about it, the basic idea is that if you have an injury or something that's causing you pain, you'll tense up and carry yourself differently. You unconciously keep an area of your body "tight". So the myofacial release is supposed to help gradually loosen those areas up and get them to relax. *shrug*...like I said I haven't noticed that much difference, but she has customers that swear by it. So it must do something.
06-25-2008, 09:41 AM
It's just that the guy who she learned the technique from sounds like a bit of a loony. She included an article she wrote as a handout for the class. He writes paragraphs with exclamation points every other sentence and claims that there is no such thing as disease; all can be cured with myofacial release.
Well, it sounds like THAT GUY was a loonie, sure. Unfortunately, they exist in every walk of life, although I grant you that alt. medicine seems to attract them like a porch light on an August evening.
Myofascial release is great, IF what you have is stuck fascia. Most of us do seem to have some somewhere, but it's not always a problem. And I have to disagree with your OTR a bit - it CAN hurt, in that if you don't know what you're doing, you can destabilize someone's compensations and cause more pain in new areas. That is, you've got a skeleton, right, and you've got muscles enclosed in this sheath of fascia (if you've ever cleaned a chicken breast, you've seen it - it's the clear to whitish membrane outside the meat). The fascia acts like the guy wires on a tent, while the bones are the poles. Sometimes a pole gets out of true, and the fascia will grab the muscle as it contracts to compensate. Over time, as we sit in bad chairs and have small falls or big accidents, things get really grabby, and our muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons (which are really just thickened fascia) perform dozens of compensations to keep us upright and mostly functional. Go in and loosen up the fascia willy-nilly, and suddenly your tent is pulled into really weird (and sometimes painful) shapes.
This is why, if you come to me for pain in your right lower back, I'm going to work on your legs at least as much as your right lower back - the way your legs fit underneath you probably has more to do with your back pain than your back muscles. If I can loosen up your legs, freeing them to get back directly under your pelvis and do their structural job, then the muscles in your lower back can chill out and relax. But now that I've changed how your legs sit under your pelvis, I've also changed, slightly, the orientation of your spine, so you may end up with neck pain instead!
While I often incorporate some myofascial release techniques in regular massage, IME, the breathtaking benefits of total myofascial release* are best achieved with a series of strategic appointments which address the body in a systematic manner. Rolfing and Structural Therapy are the best systems I know of personally (although Rolfing can be pretty brutal; Structural Therapy is a lot more pleasant.) I might be willing to do some extremity work in isolation, but generally if you want a lot of myofascial release, we'd both be happier if you committed to a series of 10-12 appointments over the span of 3 or 4 months.
*For one anecdotal example: I have very large breasts, which the doctors always told me was the reason for my chronic back pain. When I was 16 or so, we started documenting my pain so that, down the road, my health insurance might cover a breast reduction surgery. When I was 25, I underwent the full regimen of 10 sessions of Structural Therapy with a student who needed a warm body to practice on. When we were done, the pain in my back had disappeared. I'm now 33, and it hasn't returned. My breasts haven't shrunk, I assure you!
06-25-2008, 11:32 AM
. . . From what I understand about it, the basic idea is that if you have an injury or something that's causing you pain, you'll tense up and carry yourself differently. You unconciously keep an area of your body "tight". So the myofacial release is supposed to help gradually loosen those areas up and get them to relax. *shrug*...like I said I haven't noticed that much difference, but she has customers that swear by it. So it must do something.
That's the way it worked for me. I'd had surgery and my body had gotten used to sort of curling around the pained area. The MFR/massage stretched me back into standing up straight. I have bad knees, so it made it a lot easier to walk.
As has been mentioned, there's a lot of bunk marketing associated with MFR. The sessions aren't cheap, so exaggerated claims abound. As to folks swearing by it, it may be because it's working for them, but it may just be because any kind of massage feels good.
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