Myofascial Release is a deep and gentle form of stretching that has a profound effect on the body's tissues.
Myofascial Release or MFR is a style of bodywork in which the focus is to connect with and affect the Fascia (Connective Tissue) of the body. Fascia is a live & responsive tissue of the human body; it separates every structure of the body and, more importantly, connects every structure in the body.
MFR is performed similarly to a regular massage, however, it is without the use of oil that we are able to access the fascia. The therapist uses their hands to sense the layers of fascia in the body and apply a gentle traction (stretching) to encourage the fascia to release. It takes 3-4 minutes, minimum, for the deepest layer of collegen fibers (in the fascia) to start to release. This is why, within a 60 minute massage, we may do a handful of different releases: slow, intentional holds, each of them lasting a minimum of 3-4 minutes in order to access the deepest fascial layer. Because of this timing, MFR tends to create a more focused session; you may want to prioritize a certain ache/pain or postural issue. Compare this to the traditional Swedish massage where the therapist's hands move much quicker and can easily create a full body, head-to-toe session in one hour.
There is a lot of science out there which validates the theory of this work. I highly encourage you to visit this resource page on John F. Barnes' site. Reading these articles will give you a much deeper understanding of what fascia is and what MFR can do for you. Make sure you check out (towards the bottom of the archives):
- "Introduction for The Patient"
- "Without Awareness There is NO Choice"
- "Therapeutic Pain"
Don't stop there! They're all a great read! Nose through the articles until your brain is full and then book your session so that you can feel the effects in your body.