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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Myofascial Release

Here at Be Still Physical Therapy, we practice myofascial-release therapy. Some people may think this is a kind of massage or maybe a chiropractic therapy, but it's a whole new kind of long-term healing. We use Dr. John F. Barnes' approach, which applies low amounts of pressure for long periods of time throughout the fascial system.

1. It is NOT foam rolling. Traditional foam rolling or use of a lacrosse ball actually crushes the tissue rendering it unable to release or relax and is therefore a temporary fix. A myofascial ball (in which inflation/pressure is adjusted for every patient) is quite a bit softer so the tissue and your body can relax and soften in order to achieve deeper release and more permanent results.

2. Over 90% of patients treated for pain or injury have myofascial dysfunction. Myofasical restrictions cannot be seen on any diagnostic tests (MRI, XRay, CT scan) and therefore often go undiagnosed.

3. Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch! That would be the equivalent of a horse standing on a pain sensitive structure (i.e., nerves, blood vessels, spine, muscles). NO wonder you feel pain!

4. It’s not always a big trauma that causes pain. Subtle occurrences like a change of running shoe or an inappropriate increase in weight training can be enough to to cause myofascial-related pain.

5. Fascia is the basic term used to describe the connective tissues of the body. It's the shiny stuff that covers and divides your new grass fed T-bone into those little compartments before you cook it. Human bodies are made up of fascia too. Our fascia helps distribute energy evenly across our bodies, allowing our bodies to move fluidly, with ease and grace.

6. Collagen is the primary structural component of fascia. As light as it is, collagen is proportionally stronger than steel cable. This strength only makes those myofasical restrictions more difficult to release or resolve. Patients cannot overcome force with force and need to allow time combined with softening/lighter pressure to allow the tissue time to relax.

7. Fibroblasts (cells that make collagen) actually exhibit the propensity to remember their function. They have tiny memories! When you add Myofascial Release into your life, these Fibroblasts remember their proper function, keeping you healthy longer.

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