Myofascial release

Specialty of Physical therapy

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial release is a type of manual therapy performed by physiotherapists and massage therapists. It is often used to treat pain, whether chronic pain or acute pain as a result of injury.

Massage therapists who practice myofascial release can be found all over the UK, and it is a treatment that has been practised since the 1940s. Many people report being satisfied with their session with a myofascial release specialist and an improvement in symptoms.

Myofascial release specialists claim that the technique can treat a range of conditions, such as sciatica, tinnitus, scoliosis, and fibromyalgia. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude definitively whether this is the case, which is why myofascial release is classed as an alternative or complementary treatment in the UK.

What does it involve?

Initially the therapist will assess you for any tight or loose spots on in the fascia, a connective tissue found all over the body. The theory behind myofascial release is that parts of the fascia can tighten due to injury or a health condition, and this tightening can result in pain or restricted motion. A skilled myofascial release therapist aims to find these tight spots and apply pressure to them until they “release”.

Most sessions should last about an hour, but for patients with chronic pain a session can last for up to three hours. Many clinics recommend weekly sessions and a minimum of six sessions.

Alternatives to this treatment

Myofascial release is a low-risk treatment in most cases and can usually be combined with existing medical treatment for your condition.

However, massage therapy isn’t generally recommended for people with:

  • Bone fractures
  • Weak bones (due to a condition such as osteoporosis)
  • Deep vein issues such as DVT
  • A heart condition that requires you to take blood-thinning medications
  • Burns or wounds
  • Severe respiratory conditions

Finally, because there is insufficient evidence that myofascial release is directly effective in treating musculoskeletal conditions or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, it is important to continue with the clinical treatment recommended by your doctor.

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