I've talked before about the importance of fascia, and various ways the fascia can be addressed through massage therapy. Today, I'd like to talk about Myofascial Release.
The Myofascial Release approach places importance on two key concepts for the therapist - patience and the correct pressure.
First, let's talk about patience. Fascia is made up of two different components - an elastic component and a collagenous component. The elastic component stretches quickly and easily. Cool! BUT... releasing only the elastic component of fascia still leaves about 80% of the fascial system unaddressed.
The collagenous component of fascia takes at least 120 seconds before it begins to soften and release. Myofascial holds last a minimum of 5 minutes to address this missing 80%! It's common for a hold to last much longer than 5 minutes.
So, patience is key. The other aspect is the correct pressure.
Too much pressure will cause the client's body to guard, even subconsciously. Too little pressure and the collagenous barrier won't be adequately engaged to facilitate a release. As John Barnes says, "MFR is about ‘feeling’ into the client’s body and reading their body language."
Once engaged with the collagenous barrier, we wait. After about 3-5 minutes, through the process of piezoelectricity (or pressure electricity) a bioelectric flow is created which allows for a state change of the ground substance. The ground substance is the water-like fluid that surrounds every cell in our bodies and fully permeates the fascia. When the ground substance is restricted, it starts to harden - becoming thicker and viscous and eventually turning crystalline. Myofascial Release's patience and appropriate pressure levels allow us to reverse this change - hard, viscous ground substance melts and becomes more fluid-like again. As releases occur in the body, the therapist follows them - it's like butter melting or taffy stretching.
No oils or lubricants are used in this work. Clients remain clothed. I prefer men in shorts and women in something like a 2-piece swimsuit - a sports bra & booty shorts are a great option.