Myofascial release is a specialized massage technique that is used to release tension in myofascial trigger points. These trigger points are often known as muscle “knots” and occur when small regions in the fascia – the connective tissue that covers, supports, and protects muscles and other internal organs – become tight. The presence of trigger points can cause pain or discomfort and lead to compensatory changes in posture and movement that place additional strain on other areas of the body.
During myofascial release, a physical therapist first identifies the location of the knot through manual examination for tightness in the fascia near the painful area. This is necessary because a trigger point can cause radiating or referred pain to a different location. Once identified, the physical therapist manually massages and stretches the fascia to release the trigger point. Foam rollers, roller balls, and other treatment aids may also be used.
Myofascial release treats trigger points or “knots” in the body that may interfere with daily life. When provided by a trained professional, it can have several valuable results. With practice, an individual may also experience benefits from self-myofascial release.
- Reduced tension in fascia and muscles
- Reduced pain, discomfort, and/or stiffness from trigger points
- Improved range of motion
- Improved circulation
Myofascial release is contraindicated for individuals with a wound or bone fracture in the affected area, with fragile bones, or taking blood-thinning medication due to the focused pressure that is applied to the body during treatment. In addition, though the process can be uncomfortable, treatment should be stopped if any intense pain occurs.