Myofascial Release – What is it and what is it for? Method, technique, exercises and tips

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial Release (LMF) is a physiotherapeutic massage technique for muscle recovery. The foundation is to relieve the fascial system, a tough connective tissue in the body. All muscles, tendons, organs, and neurovascular systems are covered with a dense fascia membrane that holds tissues together.

In a healthy body, the fascia stretches and moves smoothly; however, with overuse, sports injury, or poor posture, the connective tissue loses its elasticity, and the fasciae are damaged. When this happens, this tissue becomes inflamed, which directly affects muscle performance, and stiffness and pain appear.

The myofascial release technique can be carried out both with the help of a professional sports massage therapist and self-massage with a foam roller. The best-known tools for achieving myofascial release are the Foam Roller and other foam rollers and unique balls similar in size to tennis balls. In addition, it is recommended to combine these techniques with special exercises to increase muscle elasticity.

Benefits of myofascial release

The myofascial release eliminates the sensation of muscle tension and improves fluid circulation in the tissues. Since the fascia is primarily made up of collagen and elastin, it is essential to maintain an optimal level of concentration in the body.

In summary, the benefits of myofascial release are:

  • Improve blood circulation in tissues
  • Relieve pain and tension in inflamed areas
  • Increased elasticity of the fasciae and muscles
  • Warm-up the muscles and prepare them for training

Specialists also advise combining myofascial release with hydrolyzed collagen. Another benefit of myofascial release is that the fibers slide freely as they move, improving the range of motion.

Myofascial release is beneficial for runners, cross-fitters, and strength enthusiasts, as flexible, mobile fasciae are the key to quick post-workout recovery. In addition, the myofascial release technique provides relaxation in the so-called trigger points. At this point, the sources of tension in the muscles are such that they cause pain when moving or performing physical exercise.

Tools to work the fascia

The foam massage roller is the primary tool in myofascial release techniques. This roller is manufactured in a cylindrical shape which is why it is sometimes called a “massage cylinder.” While the English name “Foam Roller” refers to the material used: foam-based plastics with varying degrees of rigidity.

The foam roller surface can be smooth or textured; these rollers are specially designed to massage the trigger points. It is also recommended to use massage balls to influence these points. The foam roller is contraindicated when severe tissue damage, including sprains, fractures, and dislocations.

How to use a massage roller?

The benefits of myofascial release are achieved exclusively by using a massage roller properly. First, the ligament and bone areas should not be put under pressure. Secondly, the degree of force should not be considerable: in no case should you experience sharp pain when pressing the body on the roller.

The steps to use a massage roller are:

  • The roller is placed under the muscle group
  • The body should rest on it and massage for 1-2 minutes with your weight in the same direction as the muscle fibers.
  • In no case should extra pressure being exerted on the roller; the bodyweight performs the pressure.
  • If you want to increase the intensity, you can gradually reduce the supports on the ground.
  • Never use it in areas where tendons, joints, or bones are located.

Myofascial release exercises:

Myofascial Release Exercises for Upper Back Muscles:

Myofascial release exercises for the front leg muscles:

The key in myofascial release exercises is to remove tension at the trigger points. The trigger point or trigger point is a place of inflammation in the tissue that causes pain when pressed. It feels like the muscle has been compacted with the fascia when palpating such a point.

To correctly determine the trigger point, you must have the experience of a physiotherapist in massage. Pain in one area of ​​the body can be confused by a beginner. Excessive stress on the associated fascia can aggravate the problem. It is particularly cautious in neck pain and pain in the lower part of the spine.

How to use a massage ball?

The myofascial release technique with a massage ball is similar to a massage roller. First, the trigger point should be determined, and then the body should be supported and massaged slowly. The ball can be placed on the floor or endorsed by the body with a vertical surface (for example, a wall).

To achieve myofascial release, the total duration of trigger point exposure should be 1-3 minutes. You can lightly press the problem area during the massage or make precise movements with the extremities. Thus exercising the muscles and fascia. Remember that if the pain is acute, it is recommended to interrupt the massage.

Myofascial Release (LMF) is a self-massage technique to get rid of muscle tension and increase the elasticity of the fasciae. The myofascial release serves to accelerate recovery processes after training and extend the range of movement of the limbs. The tools needed for massage are foam rollers (massage cylinders) and massage balls.

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