Myofascial therapy is a treatment option that many people are not aware of. It is a form of soft tissue therapy intended for pain relief and increasing range of motion. Myofascial therapy can be used in treating a variety of conditions such as back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, back pain, poor posture, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, scoliosis and tennis elbow. It works by stretching and loosening the fascia so that it and other contiguous structures can move freely so as to restore normal function and mobility. The term myofascia is derived from the latin words (muscle- Myo) and (band- Fascia). Fascia is the soft tissue component of connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures in the body including the organs as well as the muscles. It also plays a major role in maintaining normal metabolic processes.
Injuries, trauma, stress, poor posture and inflammation can cause restriction to fascia. Normally, when the injury heals, the fascia relaxes and goes back to its normal state. However, sometimes in cases of chronic pain disorder, excessive fascial strain can cause pain in multiple other areas.
The main goal of this therapy is to manipulate the fascia so as to combat muscle pain, heal injury, increase flexibility, improve body posture and manage stress. Types of Myofascial Therapy Techniques- There are two types of myofascial therapy techniques- Direct therapy and Indirect therapy. In case of direct therapy, direct pressure is applied to the constrained fascia. On the other hand, in indirect therapy, a very low force is applied to the fascia, which allows it to unwind on its own.
In the direct myofascial therapy technique, the practitioners use knuckles, elbows or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia. Several techniques such as stretching, elongating the fascia and mobilization of adhesive tissues are used to change the myofascial structure. Depending upon the location of the strained area, direct release myofascial therapy can be conducted on the head, face, back, trunk, pelvis, thighs and feet.
The indirect myofascial release technique involves application of very low pressure to the fascia. The main objective of indirect myofascial method is to increase the blood and heat circulation to the restricted area. Because of the improved blood and heat flow to the strained area, the fascia relaxes and stretches on its own. To do the indirect myofascial release, the therapist uses fingers to gently press on the restricted fascia for about four to five minutes. Now the pressure is released gradually.
The techniques of myofascial therapy involve soft tissue manipulation. The chiropractor uses different accessories like flexible bags, foam rollers, and therapy balls to perform the therapy.