What Does It Do and Why Does It Hurt

Susan

Myofascial Release  Work

Part 1

If you were to take away the bones and organs and muscles inside your body, you would be left with a wispy sac. It is made of water and collagen, like all the other soft tissue in there. It is known as fascia. The term connective tissue refers to fascia, ligamental tissue and even muscle and blood.

Novice students to myofascial release on props are puzzled. Their faces contort and they blurt out questions. Why is this so excruciating? Why are we doing it? There might be some resistance. There can even be flashes of anger and emotion.

The mysterious piece of context has to do with fascia and the powerful role it plays inside us.

Fascia is everywhere inside our bodies, actually and poetically. It’s covering the muscles, wrapping around tendons, cradling organs, weaving through bone. It is forming sheaths for neural pathways and blood vessels. The fascial network forms a vast web from the tips of our fingers to the depths of our marrow.

Fascia (or myofascia, or deep fascia) and its network have great significance in musculoskeletal imbalance. Let’s choose a body part. You’re a weekend warrior and you overworked your quad. One of your quads. Your other quad was apparently minding its own business on that bike ride. So the front of your thigh and its major mover, the rectus femoris grew more mass. Not a bad thing, right? But the myofascia around that rectus femoris has to stretch further because of it. It becomes strained. Maybe your water bottle bit the dust on that bike ride and your tissues are dehydrated. An adhesion forms. A kink. The connective tissue sticks to itself. The muscle proper won’t be moving as it’s used to moving. Function decreases. When all is not right in the land of fascia a few less-than-awesome things can happen.

If you’re lucky and you get a massage at this juncture, maybe the situation gets nipped in the bud. Your massage therapist will move your fascia as he or she restructures your soft frame.

What you are going to do with the props in absence of that massage therapist is the same principle. You and your technique with the hard cylinder will iron out adhesions. Muscle spindles elongate. Breath has its role. You may feel like you’re only chipping away at it. You may tell yourself you do not have the patience or fortitude. Times of acuity breed dark voices. Have faith! There’s a better body ahead!

The Stuff of So Much Pain and Gain[1]

props

Here’s an array of clinical props easily found. The long roller is dense and can be used horizontally and lengthwise under the back, under the glutes, and along the lateral sides of the upper leg. These come in different colors which signify softer and stiffer densities.

The EVA foam ball (gym blue) is dense, too. It works wonders in the glutes, around the tops of the hamstrings, thighs, middle and upper back and shoulder area. Don’t put it in the lower back or the belly without a trainer present.

Some of the 6-inch balls are softer (green in photo). It’s soft enough to put in the inner thigh or under the belly. The pectoral group and your neck will thank you.

Some balls made of hard plastic have spikes for skin stimulation. It is otherworldly between the shoulder blades, under the feet, and up the arms, if a bit awkward.

Over a number of years I’ve shared release techniques with almost every client I’ve had. There have been immediate converts and reluctant converts, and sometimes very reluctant converts, but I’ve never not met a convert.

Find out what works for you, get yourself the props and develop a practice of self-management. I think you will be edified, balanced, and grateful.

 

To learn more about fascia medically, click on

http://www.kineduca.cl/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/The-fascia-the-forgotten-structure.pdf

 

[1] This article does not go into the techniques themselves because of space. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series in The Cat’s Meow. I promise to call it A Kinky Business. Also, you can YouTube it.

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