Myofascial mobilization for pain relief
Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial Release is one of the terms used to describe a manual therapy used to mobilize a type of connective tissue, called fascia, that has become immobile due to excessive collagen formation and adhesion. Fascial contracture and adhesion is one of the main causes of joint pain, disc problems, and nerve impingement and other pain syndromes. At the beginning of a session, I start with a palpation evaluation, to locate and assess soft tissue that has become harder, denser, more rigid and fixed than the surrounding tissue, and mobilizing it through direct manual pressure with traction, in a specific direction. While the treatment is not quite pleasant and relaxing, like a relaxation massage, it can provide lasting relief from chronic pain and immobility, which a relaxation massage generally does not.
Unlike relaxation massage, myofascial release can only be applied if there is a fascial adhesion or contracture present that would benefit from this type of treatment. It is quite easy to assess or evaluate a body to determine if there are fascial contractures or adhesions through a palpation assessment. If I don't find any fascial contractures or adhesions, there is no point in scheduling any further appointments, and I will make a recommendation for PT or other therapy.
What is Fascia?
A fascia is a sheath, a sheet, or any other dissectible aggregations of connective tissue that forms beneath the skin to attach, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs.
The fascial system consists of the the three-dimensional continuum of soft, collagen-containing, loose and dense fibrous connective tissues that permeate the body. The fascial system interpenetrates and surrounds all organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibers, endowing the body with a functional structure, and providing an environment that enables all body systems to operate in an integrated manner. (Adstrum, Hedley, Schliep, Stecco & Yucesoy, 2017)
Fascia is a term used to describe the connective tissue that is the underlying substrate for all the other tissues of the human body. Fascia forms first in the developing embryo, and bones and muscles form and develop as structures within the fascia. Fascia is composed primarily of collagen fibers, with some nerve tissue, and in a few areas of the body, immune system cells called macrophages. It can vary widely in density and tensile strength in different areas of the body.
Fascia serves a number of functions, including supporting the alignment of the skeletal structure, providing a slippery film between all of the various muscle groups. As a whole, the fascial system is a sensory organ providing the brain with proprioceptive intelligence.
Proprioception includes our position in space relative to gravity, our various body parts relative alignment with each other, as well as the sensing of stretch and load bearing. When our proprioceptive intelligence is working properly, we are more graceful, with a greater sense of balance and stability.
There are certain fascial structures that have been named:
Periosteum is the fascial wrapping of the bones, and is the tissue that tendons attach to.
A retinaculum is a lateral band of fascia that wraps around the outside of tendons above and below a joint, and serves to hold tendons in place and to give muscles and tendons much more power in contraction and movement.
The mesentery is a fascial organ in the abdomen that interfaces with the small and large intestine and contains macrophages. This organ is still a mystery as to its exact function.
Myofascial refers to the fascia that surround individual muscle fiber bundles, as well as the fascial membranes that divide muscle groups.
It's also useful to think of fascia as "rigging": bands, straps, sheaths, membranes, wrappings, etc.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous protein, is the strongest tissue (highest tensile strength) in the body, and is also highly adhesive. Hide glue, an adhesive used in most stringed instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, and pianos, etc. is made from the collagen of rendered livestock.
Our body uses collagen where tensile strength is needed, such as tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and connective tissue. Our body also uses collagen as a stop-gap measure where there is mechanical stress or injury, or where more support is needed. Scar tissue is one example of this feature of collagen, where the collagen fibers knit together and bind the area, holding the tissue together while the body heals.
Fibroblasts are the cells that produce collagen. When any soft tissue area of our body is under stress or strain, the fibroblasts may be stimulated into collagen production. The resulting contracture, adhesion, or immobility can trap or impinge nerves, causing pain and other symptoms.
Fibroblast activity in the human body varies widely along a spectrum, and it's causes are not very well studied or understood at this point. At the underactive end, there are syndromes such as Ehlers-Danlose syndrome where the body doesn’t produce enough collagen to maintain joint stability. At the overactive end of the Fibroblast spectrum, the fibroblasts over-react to repetitive use injury, compensation injury, muscle strain injury, impact injury, and everyday postural or occupational stresses. At this end of the spectrum, the symptoms include osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, chronic pain syndromes, neuralgia, inflammation, immobility, herniated or ruptured disks, and other musculoskeletal pain syndromes and dysfunctions.
25 minutes $45
55 minutes $90
85 minutes $135
MAKE AN APOINTMENT
5955 West Main St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Voice or Text:
HOURS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Mon - Thurs: 11am - 5:30pm
Friday - Sunday: Closed
GET IN TOUCH
The first appointment includes an extra half hour for intake, evaluation and consultation.
What to wear:
Since MFR doesn’t use any lubrication, it isn’t necessary to disrobe. What is essential is clothing that is lightweight, stretchy/mobile, and without any dense or rigid seams. I have clients who disrobe down to their underwear, and other clients who wear shorts, or sweat pants, or tights and a t-shirt. If you choose to disrobe down to your underwear, then you will be covered by a top sheet during the treatment.
Postural - a visual assessment of your torso, legs, hips, shoulders, etc.
Functional - testing muscle groups for dysfunction or pain, testing joints for range of motion
Palpation - tone, density and immobility of soft tissue
Consultation & Recommendations:
I may recommend different or additional treatment. If you have any questions or are treating your pain/issue with co-therapy (such as physical therapy, chiropractic, yoga, exercise, etc), please let me know at the beginning of the appointment.
I don’t accept 3rd party billing of any kind. Please note that payment is due at the end of each session unless a prior arrangement has been made in advance.
If you think your health insurance will cover massage therapy, when you pay me I can provide you with a receipt that has a CPT code on it. You can turn it in to your insurance provider for reimbursement. If your insurance requests session notes, I’ll provide them at the rate of $10 per date of service.
All minors must be accompanied by a parent during treatments.
There are a few symptoms that most people wouldn’t think of as a mechanical issue, but they often respond favorably to MFR:
Headache pain syndromes
Gut/GI issues, ie. diverticulitis, constipation, pain
Anxiety (respiratory diaphragm adhesion)
What to expect:
If MFR is going to work for you, the results are typically immediate - usually the first session creates noticeable improvement. One thing I won’t do is string you along - If you’re not getting lasting results within 2-3 sessions, then I will refer to a highly skilled and credentialed PT for their evaluation.
If you get great results, but they don’t last, then I would also refer to PT, and combine the treatments from both disciplines.