Myofascial Therapy For Optimal Posture And Movement

Muscle Tension And Muscle Fatigue Is Caused By Prolonged Static Postures, Injury, And Stress!

This Results In, Connective Tissue That Binds Up And Constricts Movement!

Myofascial Therapy combined with Active Release soft tissue techniques both work the fibrous connective tissues and fascia sheaths that encases our muscles throughout our body.

Its this network that allows for graceful movement of a dancer or the start of a generative aging process that will make us feel old and rigid. Injury, adhesions, trauma and/or overuse activities will cause a disruption to this myofascial unit leading us to pain and dysfunction.

Muscular Fascia Unit

The Myofascial unit is referring to both  “myo” the muscular tissue component and the “fascia” the fibrous fascial tissue component of muscle. This is the connective tissue that creates the  structural organization of a muscle it is also called the deep fascia. There are 3 layers of fibrous tissues that blend together and extend beyond the muscle to attach muscle to bone. Its role is to transfer force of the muscle to bone.

  • Endomysum – this fibrous fascia is the deepest and it surrounds each individual muscle fiber; endo means within.
  • Perimysium – this fibrous fascia surrounds a group of muscles by dividing them in bundles known as fascicles; peri means around.
  • Epimysium – this fibrous fascia surrounds the entire muscle; epi means upon.

Myofascial therapy is bodywork that focuses on both the muscle and the fascia. There are many different massage techniques that will concentrate on either addressing the muscle by itself while still others focus mainly on the fascial planes of muscle. Its impossible not to affect both the muscle tissue and the fibrous fascia tissue when doing bodywork.

The term fascia in Latin means bandage or band, in that it wraps around, bundles and connects structures. Much more then the Skeletal framework the fascial web connects and supports all parts of the body. And it is responsible for transmitting tension (pulling) forces throughout the body by using its attachment to bones as levers.

Fascial tissue responds to stress placed on it by adapting itself to better able to handle and resist that stress by laying down collagen fibers and increasing its strength through the formation of specials cells called, myofibroblast. These myofibroblasts can then create an active pulling force that counter and opposes the pulling force that the fascial tissues is experiencing. This line of tension or force spreads out like a spider-web creating dysfunction and pain elsewhere on the body along these same lines of tension. In fascial tissue that has been injured or undergoing healing from a wound, you will have a greater concentration of myofibroblasts.

Myofascial Therapy

Is applied without lotions or creams. As in most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. Myofascial massage technique aims to break this cycle of pain and dysfunction.

A summary description of Myofasical therapy technique from Wikipedia:

  • Land on the surface of the body with the appropriate ‘tool’ (knuckles, fist or forearm.).
  • Sink into the soft tissue.
  • Contact the first barrier/restricted layer.
  • Put limb or bodypart in a ‘line of tension’.
  • Engage the fascia by taking up the slack in the tissue.
  • Finally, move or drag the fascia across the surface while staying in touch with the underlying layers.
  • Exit gracefully.

This technique is very effective when precisely done, it helps to break scar tissue formation and prevent muscle adhesions that restrict movement throughout the connective tissue sheets. It restores mobility, flexibility, reduces soft tissue pain, opens up the lines of communication throughout the body and it clears the toxic substances that have been entrapped in the network of connective tissue.

Manipulation of the fascia or manual therapy causes a stimulation of intrafascial mechanoreceptors which alters the proprioceptive (our body’s awareness) input entering the central nervous system. When there is a gap in proprioception, there is a habitual inhibition of movement, a loss of elasticity and a reduction in the ability for muscle tissues to stretch and return to its original shape. This can be very irritating and painful for some but for others they simply stop moving in that direction that feels restricted.

Bodywork is simply a method of educating, or re-educating motor responses. New ways of posturing and moving cannot be readily learned until the individual characteristic tension patterns developed by old habits of movement and posture are removed. Muscular relaxation is a prerequisite to any type of successful muscle retraining.

Once these old patterns of dysfunction are broken up a new cycle of patterning can now be explored. And this can last for hours or even days after the massage thus giving you the opportunity to redefine normal movement patterns and a relearning of posture and movement can now begin.

Your connective tissues as well as muscle tissue have the ability to go from gel-like state to a sol-like state through a process called, Thixotrophy. The only difference is that connective tissue take a much longer time to go from gel to sol; muscles on the other hand happens almost instantaneously. But this can happen only if you are properly hydrated before coming in for your massage session.

 

References:

  • “Fascia, Clinical Applications for Health and Human Performance” Mark Linday
  • “Kinesiology, The Skeletal System and Muscle Function” Joseph E. Muscolino
  • “Job’s Body, A Handbook For Bodywork” Deane Juhan
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