Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions or bony lever landmarks to aid the ‘unwinding’ of adhesed areas on the fascial planes of the body to eliminate pain and restore motion.
During a session, you may experience a holding of an area with a blend of various compression and directional force anywhere from 90 seconds to 3 -5 minutes or longer until the area releases. This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow and fascial release.
Recent research shows that a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a fascia to elongate, unravel or unwind. Basically, the therapist applies comfortable sustained pressure with multiple directional force for an extended length of time, which allows the densification or thickening of fascial restrictions to release and ‘unwind’ providing for relaxation of tissues and restoration of freedom of movement and motility.
Myofascial Release refers to the manual massage technique for stretching the fascia and releasing bonds between fascia and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equalizing the energy used within the muscle fibers.
Difference between Direct and Indirect Myofascial Methods courtesy of Wikipedia
The direct myofascial release (or deep tissue work) method works through engaging the myofascial tissue restrictive barrier, the tissue is loaded with a constant force until tissue release occurs. Practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia by applying a few kilograms-force or tens of newtons.
Direct myofascial release seeks for changes in the myofascial structures by stretching, elongation of fascia, or mobilizing adhesive tissues. The practitioner moves slowly through the layers of the fascia until the deep tissues are reached.
The indirect method involves a gentle stretch, with only a few grams of pressure, which allows the fascia to “unwind” itself. The dysfunctional tissues are guided along the path of least resistance until free movement is achieved.
The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body’s inherent ability for self-correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body.
This concept was suggested by Paul Svacina to be analogous to pulling apart a chicken carcass: when it is pulled apart slowly, the layers peel off intact; too fast, and it shreds.