Understanding Myofascial Release

September 18, 2010

Myofascial Release is a specialized hands-on treatment for relieving pain and tension throughout the body.  To understand how the treatment works, you need to know what fascia is and what myofascial means.

Fascia is a thin tissue that covers all the organs of your body, including each muscle and the fiber within the muscle.  When you move, the fascia stretches along with your muscles, making up the myofascial unit.  When muscle fibers are injured or traumatized, the fascia surrounding the fibers becomes short and tight, transmitting pain and other unpleasant symptoms throughout your body.  Myofascial Release treats these symptoms by releasing the uneven tightness in the injured fascia.

Your Myofascial Release Treatment

Your massage therapist will find the areas of tension and tightness caused by the injured fascia and apply gentle sustained pressure.  This pressure allows the fascia to elongate, or stretch.  John James is experienced in this specialized technique and knows how much force to use and how long to stretch based on each individual’s needs.  Your feedback will aid John James to treat you properly.

Many patients are unable to pinpoint certain sore spots, but John James will not only be able to locate these “trigger points,” but decrease their size and sensitivity.  He will accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the right amount of sustained pressure to facilitate the release of the fascia.  Myofascial Release eliminates pain and restores motion, even if alternative treatments youíve tried in the past have failed.

Benefits of Myofascial Release

When trauma occurs – physical, mental, or emotional, people respond with a flight or fight freeze response.  Myofascial Release therapists believe than an unresolved freeze response is ìrecorded,î so to speak, in the myofascial tissues, and that full recovery is not possible unless this “record” of trauma is released.  Myofascial Release is the treatment that allows your body to release its hold on the trauma that is still causing you pain.

Inflammatory responses, surgical procedures, and injuries all create myofascial restrictions that are capable of producing pressures of an estimated 2,000 pounds per square inch.  John James works with you to find these restrictions and release the pressure off pain-sensitive tissues like your nerves and blood vessels.  You will enjoy increased mobility in your joints and a dramatic reduction of nerve and muscle pain.

Other benefits of Myofascial Release include:

  • Improved circulation and nutrition for your tissues
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Decreased fascial tension beneath scar tissue
  • Restoration of motion and functional movement
  • Reduction of migraines and TMJ symptoms

Myofascial Release is highly recommended for anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological disorders, migraines or headaches, neck and back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, sports injuries, scoliosis and postural dysfunctions, and other chronic pain syndromes.

by Alaina M. Coyle, Freelance Writer

Sports Massage Therapy Benefits Swimmers Pre and Post Event

May 21, 2010

Evelyn Davis Licensed Massage Therapist

Evelyn Davis Licensed Massage Therapist

Sports massage therapy for swimmers has both physical and psychological benefits. Serious competitors and recreational swimmers alike can improve their swimming performance with sports massage therapy designed specifically for the issues swimmers face.

Swim athletes worldwide now view regular massage as a necessary part of their training regimen. Sports massage therapy increases blood flow which reduces soreness and speeds recovery. Certain sports massage techniques, properly applied,  increase the range of motion of injured muscles and further accelerate the healing process. With a shorter time required for full recovery you can increase workouts and adapt your body to a higher level of physical stress.

For swimmers’ sports massages we prefer a combination of trigger point massage, myofascial release and Swedish massage methods aimed at the muscle groups and movements that swimmers use in order to swim fast.

swimmer sports massage therapy

Trigger point release of the infraspinatus muscle.

Most swimmers generally get tight in the areas underneath and behind the shoulder blades, with lots of tender trigger points. Swedish massage movements are best here to relieve the general tension in the muscles while the patient is lying on their side. Trigger points are released with careful pressure as they arise. In particular in swimmers, the infraspinatus muscle (see photo) often triggers and refers pain to the front of the shoulder, limiting the internal rotation which is needed for a good “catch”.

Another area of significant range-of-motion concern for swimmers is the myofascia located below the shoulder at the side and extending the length of the latissimus dorsai down to the lower back. Tightness in this long muscle and fascia group is a significant impediment for swimmers. For this area we use a myofascial release technique which stretches the muscle and fascia in a very targeted way.

Swimmers all seem to generate trigger points on the back between the spine and

top of shoulder trigger point release

Top of shoulder trigger point.

shoulder blade as well as on top of the shoulder closely adjacent to the neck. We find that relieving these irritations significantly improves relaxation, posture, and breathing.

Here are some thoughts about how massage could be incorporated into your swimming regimen:

Pre-swim meet: Use a sports massage to aid in warming up your muscles before training or an event. A sports massage can help stretch the muscles as well as stimulating blood flow and relaxation. By having the muscles well stretched and relaxed it can help prevent sports injuries. Massages can provide benefits even if performed up to two days before an event.  And it’ll relax you – a competitive edge!

Post-swim meet: Utilize a sports massage after the sporting event to help in muscle recovery. A post-event sports massage can also aid in reducing muscle spasm and soreness. Post-event massages are short and direct lasting usually only 30 minutes. The post-event focuses on the muscles used specifically for the sport. After striving hard a massage will increase your blood circulation to speed the removal of fatigue toxins, relieve your muscle spasms and prevent soreness.

Fine-tuning: For regular fine-tuning a massage will search out and relieve areas of bio-mechanical stress in your muscles before they become problems, enabling you to train harder and more consistently.

Injury Rehabilitation: Massage will speed healing of your injuries, increase your range of motion, and reduce scar tissue thus allowing your muscles to expand and contract fully. With less time spent recovering you’ll be training at your peak levels more often and become more competitive.

John James Massage Plano is a sponsor of the City Of Plano Swimmers (COPS)  and provides complimentary massage services to COPS members at their regular swim meets.

Myofascial Release Massages Away The Pain

February 7, 2010

john_james_massage_plano

John James, LMT

Myofascial Release massage is a specialized massage therapy which lengthens your body’s muscles and connective tissue to relieve pain common in soft tissue disorders. You will leave your first myofascial release session more comfortable than you thought possible, more relaxed, and breathing more deeply than before.

Muscles and Fascia
To understand why myofascial release massage works so well you first need to know a bit about fascia, the thin white layer of tissue which covers every organ in your body. Each muscle group and every fiber of muscle tissue within it is covered with fascial tissue. As much as 40% of each muscle group, or myofascial unit, is composed of this tough, elastic tissue which which protects, organizes and lubricates the associated muscle.

For a massage therapist the myofascia’s function as a muscle lubricant  is most important. Normal myofascia enables muscle fibers to move easily within the muscle group, and enables the muscle group itself to move smoothly against other muscles and structures within the body.

Due to injury, repetitive overuse, habitual postures or even emotional states the normally smooth, slick and flexible myofascial tissue can shorten and become rigid, sticky and inelastic. It may lose its lubricant properties and act more like an adhesive – binding muscle fibers to each other. This causes pain, restricts range of muscle motion, may cause muscle spasms, and creates much of what we experience as generalized tension. The stress and imbalance in the muscle and fascia can radiate throughout the body causing pain and symptoms in locations you would not ordinarily expect.

Myofascial Release Aims
Myofascial release aims to restore the normal smooth functioning of the fascia associated with injured muscles, and, to stretch the fascia/muscle unit back to its proper length. Myofascial massage releases the tight, bound-up areas in your muscles gradually thus evening out the tightness of injured fascia.

Practitioners of myofascial release begin stretching your fascia guided by feedback from your body. Tight, short fascia feels very different to the touch than normally functioning tissue. Experienced myofascial release therapists locate the areas of tightness by lightly touching, they stretch a small area with minimal force – often using only two fingers – and then wait for the fascia to relax. Immediately upon its relaxing somewhat more effort is applied to increase the stretch. The process proceeds over the entire affected muscle until it is fully relaxed.

Note that the stretch, or myofascial release, is created by the therapist’s hands and not typically by the patient moving his muscles or limbs. The effect is not painful and most people find it very relaxing, increasingly so as the massage proceeds and more sore areas are treated.

Results of Myofascial Release
Often patients have become so desensitized by continued pain that they are unable to accurately say where they hurt. Not to worry! Guided by tactile feedback, a complete myofascial massage by an experienced myofascial massage therapist may range from the patient’s calves to their cranium – wherever the trail of abnormally tensed myofascia leads.

With treatment these sore myofascial trigger points will disappear leaving you pain-free, with an increased range of motion, and able to breathe more deeply. You can judge your own progress by relief from pain, and by your improved posture.

John James, L.M.T.

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Myofascial Release is a specialized massage therapy which lengthens your body’s muscles and connective tissue to relieve pain common in soft tissue disorders. You will leave your first myofascial release session more comfortable than you thought possible, more relaxed, and breathing more deeply than before.


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To understand why myofascial release therapy works so well you first need to know a bit about fascia, the thin white layer of tissue which covers every organ in your body. Each muscle group and every fiber of muscle tissue within it is covered with fascial tissue. As much as 40% of each muscle group, or myofascial unit... Read more > > >


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