A lot of the work that I do now involves what is called Myofascial release. This is working with releasing the connective tissue that makes up muscle tissue and separates different muscle bellies. Normally, these separate muscle bellies do different things so it is important that they don’t become adhered to each other. Conditions like immobility, dehydration, trauma or other injury can cause this fascia to adhere these muscle bellies together. When they are stuck to each other, this reduces the ability of the muscle to get rid of CO2, to bring in oxygen, which cycles the immobility of the muscle and increases pain in the area.
Sometimes the adhesion can occur within the muscle tissue (intramuscular adhesion), between muscle bellies (intermuscular adhesion), or surrounding more that one muscle bellies like around the quadraceps (extramuscular adhesions). Muscles can become adhered to other muscles, to bones, to ligaments to surrounding organs in the torso.
An analogy I like to use with Intramuscular muscle adhesions is that it is like pouring glue on a bungy cord. You want muscle to be like a bungy cord. If it is rope like, there is risk of continued trauma/tearing and other conditions like bursitis, tendonitis and inflammation at the point where the muscle attaches to the bone.
The thing with release of connective tissue, is that it is like stretching leather. It’s not about force, but about the amount of time that it is held. Often, when I find restriction in the fascia, often I will hold it for 30 seconds to 1 minute before it starts to release and the muscles separate from each other. My rules of thumb is that the client is comfortable, taking deep breaths and the release is held for at least one minute. This way, the release is bound to be longer lasting and there is less trauma.
Sometimes, there is an expectation that there needs to be pain for it to be effective. This kind of treatment requires that the client isn’t in too much discomfort. Too much discomfort can set off protective spasms (by the nervous system) of muscles that you are trying to release.
Another rule of thumb is that the pressure is half the pressure usually expected for twice as long, so you still get there but with less trauma.
As you can see by the picture, there are also nerves and arteries/veins running through the fascia, so adhesions can also affect the circulation and nerve impulses to the muscles and skin, causing weakness and numbness/tingling.
Any questions you have about Fascia Release, please call me anytime for more information.