Massage Therapy and Connective Tissue Release

A big part of my practice has been Fascial Release treatment. Somebody made a joke once that Water invented Fascia so it could walk around. It is everywhere and very much a big reason why we don’t fall to the ground in a mass of bones and tissue. Fascia holds the skin on us, holds and separates the nerves, muscles, bones, organs and many other body tissues. What can often happen (in a Musculoskeletal way), is that if part of the body is immobilized or in a shortened position for an extended period of time, the fascia can adapt to the new position and hold the body in that position without any help from the surrounding musculature. This can be caused by habitual positioning, trauma, or a local or systemic condition/illness. This action by the fascia can affect the posture and movement of the body in a substantial way and needs to be released to bring the body back into alignment. Other issues that can accompany a shortening of a body part or area includes shortening of the muscle, lack of range of motion of the involved joints, pain from applicable muscle including phantom pain from Trigger Points, Compression of nerves or blood vessels and compensations occuring from other muscles kicking in to help out. An analogy of what can happen if you lean over your desk at work for hours and hours each day without a break. Fascia fixations can occur in the front of the spine, in the front of the chest area and abdomen. This would be similar to leaning forward, tucking in your shirt and pouring glue on the front of your shirt. When the glue dries, you find it difficult to sit back up normally. This can be what happens with prolonged positioning. At the same time, in your shoulder area, the nerves travelling down your arm can be compressed bringing numbness and weakness to your arms and hands, your breathing can be shallow with that position and lack of motion in the ribs and the muscles in your back are stretched as they are holding you up as you lean forward causing muscle spasm and pain due to the muscles’ inability to get rid of metabolic waste. This can happen in all areas of the body but this is an example that is quite common. My Registered Massage Therapist practice on Fort Street in Victoria, B.C. applies emphasis on the Fascial Release technique when the client is presenting in this manner. Home exercises include stretching the tissues that area shortened and strengthening of the muscles to support good posture (including Hydrotherapy to speed up healing).

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