Myofascial release (MFR) is a specific type of hands-on body therapy that addresses chronic pain by working directly on fascial “trigger points.” Fasciae connect all the bones, muscles and organs to one another, giving shape to the body and holding its parts in their proper places. Poor posture, chronic inflammation, injury and other factors cause the fascia to develop restrictions that can affect not only the injured area, but cause pain and tightness in other parts of the body as well. This is due to fascia’s function of being the “web” that connects the entire structural system; when one segment of fascia is injured, it will have an impact on the whole body. This is also why many traditional treatments such as massage, medication and surgery may not have a lasting effect on chronic pain. Enter myofascial release: gentle and slow trigger point manipulations allow the fascial web to elongate, release and reform healthy patterns.
Though MFR treatments are gentle, they can be quite intense. The practitioner will likely direct the patient to breathe into the restricted areas that are being treated and may give directives for stretches, foam rolling and gentle movement to facilitate further opening post session. Recipients of MFR therapy report increased range of motion in previously restricted areas, decreased physical and emotional pain, lower stress levels, greater flexibility and post-workout recovery and a stronger mind-body connection. If chronic neck, shoulder and back pain are plaguing you, this low-risk and soothing treatment may be a good option. To find a practitioner near you, visit the Myofascial Release Therapist Directory on MFR founder John F. Barnes’ website.
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