Myofascial Release (MFR) is an effective, hands on form of therapy which focuses on the fascial system as a key structure for creating lasting changes in the body. The therapist applies a gentle, sustained, pressure into the fascia to release restrictions within your body helping to decrease pain or tension while increasing range of motion, blood and energy flow and overall health. This form of Myofascial Release requires time at the collagenous barrier. The therapist applies sustained pressure for a minimum of five minutes, allowing the collagen to change. Other forms of therapy that work with the elastic component without considering the collagenous barrier produce temporary results. This is a whole body approach that does not use traditional protocols for the treatment of individual symptoms. Because MFR is not a passive therapy, its effectiveness depends partly on participation by the person in treatment. Each person is assessed and treated with the understanding that the root cause of a symptom will not be the same in everyone.
Craniosacral Therapy works with the craniosacral system, which is the deepest part of the fascial system. It extends from the skull to the sacrum, and includes the membranes and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Imbalances of the craniosacral system can be caused by fascial pulls from outside the system or by restrictions within. Indirect Myofascial Release techniques use the fascial system as a handle or lever to engage and realign the cranial bones and other structures, thus allowing them to self-correct.
What Is Fascia?
Fascia, commonly referred to as connective tissue, is a system in the body composed of collagen fibers, elastin fibers, and ground substance (a gel-like extracellular matrix containing the fibers). It is a three-dimensional, body-wide system that runs from head to toe without interruption. It covers and interpenetrates every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ—including the brain and spinal cord—down to the cellular level. It gives support and shape to the various structures within our bodies and ultimately gives us our form. If every cell of the body could be removed and the connective tissue remained, the body would still have its recognizable form. We can begin to see how each part of the body is connected to every other part by fascia if we imagine how the yarn in a sweater creates and connects every part of the garment’s shape. If the sweater becomes snagged, the pull affects the rest of the sweater.
When the fascial system is in a healthy state, it has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. It has a supportive quality (which the collagen fibers offer) as well as an elastic quality (which the elastin fibers offer). These fibers affect our flexibility and stability and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand suddenly applied force or stress and strain. The ground substance has fluidity, which enables structures within it to move or glide in
Physical trauma, poor posture, repetitive stress, scarring, or inflammation can cause the fascia to become solidified and shortened, thus losing its pliability. This is referred to as fascial restriction. These restrictions can exert excessive pressure (in extreme cases up to 2000 pounds per square inch) on nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones, or organs. The result can be pain, restriction of motion and dysfunction in any system of the body. Restrictions within the fascial system can affect us on muscular, cellular, neurological and metabolic levels. Fascial restrictions can produce far-reaching effects on other seemingly unrelated areas of the body and often go undiagnosed. They do not show up on diagnostic tests like x-rays, CAT scans (three-dimensional x-rays), and MRI’s (magnetic resonance imaging).