Myofascial release is a form of manual therapy where your therapist looks at posture and soft tissue throughout your body to help direct treatment via a hands on approach. Treatment includes applying a gentle, sustained pressure where tissue is restricted, with a goal of releasing the soft tissue to restore motion and reduce pain.
How Myofascial Release Works
Fascia is like a spider web that spans throughout your entire body in one, continuous piece. It is a connective tissue that is integrated with everything in your body, surrounding every muscle, bone, nerve, organ, etc., down to the cellular level. This is important, because the fascial system functions to provide structure and support to all parts of your body, as well as acting like a shock absorber due to its physical properties.
Fascia is made up of three parts:
- Elastin fibers, which are strands of flexible tissue that allow for movement. Approximately 20% of the tissues that comprise the fascia is elastin. Skin is primarily made of elastin.
- Collagen fibers, which are denser and less flexible and act to provide support. About 80% of fascia tissue is made of collagen.
- Ground substance or matrix, which is a gelatinous substance that surrounds elastin and collagen fibers. Ground substance provides some support and also acts as a shock absorber with its gelatinous characteristics.
When a therapist applies myofascial release (MFR) techniques as part of the treatment plan for a client, they are addressing what is called fascial restrictions. Fascial restrictions are areas of the body that have lost the flexible qualities of the elasto-collagenous characteristics of the fascia. These restrictions are often caused by posture, injuries, surgeries, inflammation, guarding patterns against chronic pain, trauma and stress, to include emotional trauma or stresses.
Myofascial release treats the whole person by taking into account their medical history of past injuries or traumas dating well beyond what one might expect when they come in with a diagnosis for a particular injury. This is due in part to the potential for compensatory movement patterns developed during a previous injury or trauma, which should be addressed for the best long term outcome.
For best outcomes, patients should come dressed in shorts for males and shorts and a sports bra for women.
Myofascial Release for Treatment of Lyme Disease Symptoms
At Central Vermont Medical Center, our therapists have been trained in using myofascial release to help symptoms related to Lyme disease. Specifically, myofascial release plays a role in releasing restrictions in tissues in the body that may not be allowing antibiotics or herbal supplements to pass through tissues as needed to help treat or cure symptoms.
Physical Therapy treatment typically includes an evaluation followed by 60 minute treatments as needed. Our therapists work closely with holistic practitioners in the area, including physicians, naturopaths, acupuncturists and nutritionists to help guide patients on a path to recovery.
*According to healthvermont.gov, Vermont has the second highest rate of reported Lyme Disease cases in the US. Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick bite. Early symptoms of a tick bite can include a rash, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint pain and fatigue. Current treatment for a tick bite from the CDC is the use of antibiotics. However, if a tick bite isn’t caught early or if antibiotics aren’t effective, chronic symptoms such as joint pain, fibromyalgia, thyroid imbalances, chronic fatigue, headaches, migraines, memory loss, anxiety, etc., can develop and are referred to as Chronic or Late Lyme Disease.