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MYOFASCIAL RELEASE STRETCHING
WHAT IS IT ?
Myofascial Release is a specialized stretching technique used to release tension and realign the body. The word "myofascia" is derived from the Latin word "myo" meaning muscle, and "fascia" for band. Fascia is tough connective tissue that spreads through out the body in a three dimensional web, from the head to the toes. Fascia surrounds every nerve and organ in the body. Tissues become tight throwing the body out of alignment due to poor posture and physical illness or injury. The fascia that surrounds the muscles becomes short, tight and uneven amount of pressure on the fascia can bind the fascia to under lying tissues causing trigger points and/or adhesion scar tissue. Over time, trigger points and adhesions can limit the range of motion within a joint and cause pain and numbness throughout the body. If you are hyper mobile train for stability not end joint range stretching and if tight myofascial release and roam rolling is recommended.
Myfascial Therapy is done by trained health care providers such as Physical Therapist and Massage Practitioners. Many coaches, athletes and Personal Trainers have incorporated soft tissue myofascial release stretches using the foam roller as a warm-up to increase elasticity in the muscles by staying on a tight tinder spot, taking deep breaths and relaxing into the painful until the discomfort reducers by 50 to 70%. This can take a little time so it is important to use your body weight to stay on the area until the pain diminishes. (Pain from a "trigger point" lesions as the muscles relax verses a sharp sudden "pain" that leads to injury). It is important to know the difference between these two kinds of pain. By applying myofascial release techniques techniques elasticity in the muscles improves mobility and flexibility, which reduces the chances of muscle pulls, strains and tears. In addition, rollers are used after workouts to release stress and assist in decreasing muscular soreness by utilizing foam rollers, which are cylindrical pieces of hard foam available in various densities from relatively soft to hard. Besides foam rollers, a hand held "Stick" used when traveling works well too.
Another option for myofascial release are soft, slightly squishy balls about the size of a grapefruit weighing from one to three pounds. These balls are soft pliable and can be generally be used safely directly on the spine. They help strengthen postural muscles, stability and increase range of motion (ROM). The primary names they go by are: Genies, Poz-A-Balls, Fit Balls and Thera Band exercise balls.
The kind of results expected when using Myofascial Release stretching is the gentle stretching used relaxes trigger points and breaks up scar tissue by softening, lengthening and realigning the fascia. By staying on a tight, sore area will release constrictions in the tissues helping to restore balance to the body by relieving pain and improving blood circulation to the tissues..
Everyone can benefit from Myofascial Release therapy; athletes, the general population, individuals, suffering from back pain, fibromyalgia, frozen shoulders, Rheumatoid Arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and whiplash injuries or any other type of injury and to reduce the likelihood of a injury. (See also stretching page and Kinesio Tape page for more information.)