Myofascial pain is usually described as steady, dull, deep and aching and can occur with motion or at rest. Myofascial Release encompasses slow and gentle forces applied to the body through the hands of the therapist in the form of compression and stretching of the connective tissue.
Connective tissue at a cellular microscopic level is the underlying web or mesh – a crystalline lattice structure which envelopes and connects every cell, ligament, tendon, muscle, organ and limb into networks and compartments yet is a whole fluid, gel-like substance which adjusts its fluidity to specific demands of the body’s needs. ‘Thixotropy’ is the phenomenon of this gel becoming more fluid when it is stirred up and more solid when sitting undisturbed. The heat and energy provided by the mechanical forces of bodily movements and metabolism provides most of the warmth which keeps the gel fluid, flexible and resilient.
However when body parts suffer from lack of movement and vitality through disuse or trauma then the thixotropic reaction leads the connective tissues into becoming denser, sluggish and dehydrated. They lose their ability to soften, flex or stretch and this then manifests as pain and discomfort and can create tightening, stiffening and adaptive shortening or lengthening of the tissues and muscles.
The gentle compression of the therapist’s hands and the movements of passive stretching are myofascial techniques which produce friction that in turn generates heat and energy within the connective tissues and encourages more fluid, resilient, and flexible soft tissues. This restores vitality to the basic matrix of the crystalline web and in time can correct postural imbalances and restrictions.