Myofascial release is a type of physical therapy mostly used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. Fascia is a layer of protective covering over muscles. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder due to sensitivity and tightness in the myofascial tissues. These tissues support and surround the muscles throughout the body. The pain usually originates from certain points within the myofascial tissues called “trigger points.”

Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing the shortened and tightened muscle. There are a number of conditions and symptoms that we address at Aspire with the help of myofascial release therapy.

Who might benefit from Myofascial Release?

Patients with myofascial pain syndrome are benefited from MFR. People who experience prolong headaches may also find relaxation from myofascial release. Mildly massaging on stiff muscles in and around the neck and head may subside headaches.

Some people with Chronic Venous Disease (CVD), which occurs when blood accumulates in the deep veins of the leg, may also be well suited for myofascial release. During CVD, the blood pool stretches and gradually damages the veins in the legs. The person may experience a painful sensation in the affected leg. MFR might be used in combination with other treatments to reduce the accumulation and pain caused by CVD.

When is myofascial release used?

Myofascial release technique is used to:

* Treat acute Pain

* Treat post injury

* Treat post-surgery

* Produce relaxation


Most of the MFR takes place during a massage therapy/ relaxation session. The physical therapist will begin compressing, massaging and stretching the areas that feel tight with light manual pressure. The physio then supports the tissue and fascia in releasing pressure and tightness. The process is repeated many times on the same trigger point and other trigger points until the physical therapist feels the tension is fully released.

The areas where the physical therapist works may not be near where the pain originates or where one feels the pain most prominently. MFR works on the wider network of muscles that might be causing the pain. It helps to reduce tension and stiffness throughout the body by releasing trigger points across a wide section of the muscular system.

There are two types of Myofascial Release Techniques: Direct and Indirect

Direct Myofascial Release

Direct MFR (or deep tissue work) method works on the restricted fascia (it is the supportive bag that surrounds each of the muscles). Physical therapist uses manual techniques, or other instrument assisted soft tissue methods to slowly stretch the stiff fascia by applying a moderate force and pressure. Direct myofascial release stretches, lengthens, or mobilizes adhesive tissues. Physio slowly moves through the layers of the fascia till the deep tissues are reached.

Indirect Myofascial Release

The indirect MFR method includes a gentle stretch, with minimal pressure, which allows the fascia to “unwind” itself. The gentle distraction applied to the restricted or tightened fascia will result in heat production and increased blood flow in the affected area. This allows the body’s in-built ability for self-correction to return, thus alleviating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body.

Myofascial release modalities used in our clinic

At ASPIRE, we utilize various MFR techniques to ensure proper sliding and gliding of the soft tissues. When these tissues are not moving in a proper manner or become chronically shortened, improper blood flow to the tissue occurs and nerves can become trapped leading to sharp shooting pain with movements.

Some of the MFR tools that are used in our clinic

* Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) – IASTM has two main functions: to break down abnormal tightness in muscle tissue, such as scar tissue, and to restart first-phase healing in the body.

* Foam Rolling

* Muscle roller

* Thumb presser

* Physio Gun