Guest Post by Iona Rainbow River, LMT
You may be familiar with the term “myofascial release,” but what is it?
Like the solar system’s immense network of stars, our bodies are filled with a web of fascia, a connective tissue that protects and connects every muscle, nerve fiber, organ, bone and blood vessel. “Myofascia” refers to the fascia surrounding and separating muscle tissues.
Fascia can become restricted due to physical, mental and emotional stressors and trauma, lack of movement, and surgeries. It can also become inhibited through injuries through repetitive movements, posture, surgical and other scar tissue injuries. However, the fascia responds well to attuned, slow, and sustained stretching which can be done on one’s own. A trained therapist’s hands and instruction can aid and enhance the stretch. A variety of forms of bodywork and movement can help improve your fascia’s health to relieve and prevent chronic pain.
Having healthy, flowing fascia is important because it can improve range of motion, help the entire body relax, improve circulation, release tension and stress, reduce soreness, and assist in tissue repair after injury or surgery.
Self care for fascia is similar to self care for your muscles; staying hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water, stretching, movement, self massage, nourishing your body with whole foods, movement and meditation all help with fascial flow. Our fascial system loves movement, and even slowing down to focus on your breathing can be a form of moving and massaging your fascia internally.
Myofascial release addresses restrictions in muscles and fascia that contribute to chronic pain. The heat and pressure from the therapist’s hands allow the tension to “melt” and relax. This can bring about a feeling of a full body exhale.
Some of my favorite ways to address fascia are through deep, attuned and gentle hands-on therapy combined with individualized guided meditation. These techniques allow clients to become more in touch with the subtleties of their body and experience how concentration and focused breathing, stretching and massage can help release fascial and musculature holding patterns. In turn, clients find relief from long held stress and trauma that have been stored in the body.
Myofascial release can bring you into a deeper state of parasympathetic response, which is our autonomic nervous system’s state of “rest, restore, repair.” We have all experienced so many stressors in the past two years. You can find your way back to a state of calm and ease through attuned and intuitive massage therapy.