What is Myofascial Release and why do you need to know about it?

What is Myofascial Release and why do you need to know about it?

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Back pain? Sciatica? Headaches? Sinusitis? Creaky, stiff muscles? If you have any of these chronic and on-going issues, working on the fascial system may just be your solution. Myofascial Release (MFR) eases the fascia, a fibrous network that covers the entire body from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. It can help restore flexibility and range of motion, ease tension to muscles, organs and tissues, and improve the function of the nervous and circulatory systems.

The fascial system is absolutely intrinsic to our stability and mobility. A 3D spider’s web of membranes, it wraps the muscles, blood vessels and nerves and connects the musculoskeletal, circulatory and nervous systems.

The body’s network of fascia layers keep muscles, blood vessels and nerves in their rightful places, help prevent injury, provide a smooth surface that lubricates the moving tissues and allow muscles to change shape as they are used.

It is essential for joint stability and motion, coordination, flexibility and strength, and when damaged, is often the culprit behind chronic pain.

Although strong, when fascia is over stretched or damaged it can tear. The body automatically mends the tear with microfibrils, but the mends can decrease the elasticity of the fascia and cause fascial adhesions. With repetitive damage the fascia becomes weaker, decreasing its ability to function and leading to degeneration.

MFR identifies the areas of fascial tension and damage, and works to ease and repair damage through stretches, trigger point massage and active movement by the client. There are many ways to approach Myofascial release.

“Yamuna Ball Rolling, Trigger Point Therapy, Rolfing, Active Isolated Stretching, and even certain kinds of yoga – these are all forms of MFR,” says Heather, co-founder of Flex Studio. “Pilates technically isn’t a traditional form of MFR, however the fascial fibers stretch and relax during a Pilates workout. When the client stabilizes one part of the body, whilst mobilising another, the stabilizing point of the body acts as the anchor from which the stretch is allowed to present.”

Héloise Chong, a yoga instructor at Flex Studio, adds, “When there’s trauma to the muscles, the body is really smart by creating a bind so that the muscles can heal. However this little binds don’t go away once the muscles heals. Therefore these binds get collected over time, creating stiffness through the muscles and facial. Yoga is a good maintenance for the body. By doing yoga you are gently releasing the fascia.”

Yamuna Body Rolling is another effective way to improve fascia health. “When using the Yamuna ball, focus your mind, body and breath as you sink into the ball. Relax and wait until your muscles feel like they are melting into the ball – that is the body telling you that your fascia has started to soften, elongate and release,” says YBR instructor Mika Childs. “Using the Yamuna ball helps bring your body back into optimum functional health in a very relaxed way. Once your body moves more freely your muscles become more balanced and your body will be more correctly aligned.”

Flex Studio has two upcoming workshops which focus on MFR: Yin Yoga Flow with Héloise Chong on October 6th, 2-3:30 PM at Island South and Foam Roller DIY with Heather Thomas Shalabi on October 8th 1:30 – 3 PM at Island South.

Flex also offers monthly Yamuna Ball Rolling classes with Mika Childs in both Central and One Island South. View Schedule.

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