Often people see a skeleton and think that is what is holding them together; like bricks stacked on top of each other. But in reality, it is so much more. The body has this amazing layer called fascia. It is a strong fascial connective tissue net that surrounds every cell, organ and muscle in your body. If one were able to view the body with just this “net’, the actual form of a human would be in front of you. There is no start or stop to the fascia; it is one fascial suit.
The embryo breaks into three layers: the ectoderm (central nervous system, skin, and hair), the endoderm (the visceral organ and circulatory system) and the middle layer is the mesoderm. This mesoderm is in the middle so it reaches with fibers upward and downward to surround the ectoderm and endoderm. By doing so the mesoderm layer creates an amazing myofascial net. From a manual therapy prospective, physical therapists treat the ectoderm with craniosacral therapy, the endoderm with visceral manipulation, and the mesoderm fascial net with myofascial release.
Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, explains that in order to understand the human body, one must look at the body as a system enclosed in one fascial net. So if something happens to one part of the fascial net; the restriction may actual be felt distant from the source. Much like a tight sweater, if you pull on one end of the sweater you feel it at the other end. When one understand the myofascial meridians and trains of the body, one can logical explore the body and with” hands on” techniques perceive and release the restrictions. These diagrams are a few of the myofascial meridians explained by Myers.
According to John F. Barnes PT, a leader in the world of myofascial release, “In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities."
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate. A flat hand, crossed arm approach is used to connect to the myofascial layers and create release. MFR should not be confused with soft tissue mobilization or massage, which are good techniques for muscles release; but these techniques often miss the fascial layer. Myofascial techniques are specialized hand forces to the primary fascial zones and along the myofascial meridians to bring balance to your body and mind.
Begin your myofascial wellness journey with Debbie Sternen, MS, PT at Cleveland BodyWise. This service is self–pay and not an insurance based service. Call 216-682-0413 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a one hour Myofascial Release BodyWise session for $120. Debbie generally likes to work with a client for 4 treatments and then decrease the frequency to monthly or even yearly. Yet, you will feel different even after one session.