by Sheena Taggart, RMT
Did you know that scientists are considering fascia to be the largest system in our body instead of skin? What is Fascia? Wikipedia defines it as “a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs”. It allows free movement of the muscles, carries nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and fills spaces between muscles.
Think about fascia and why it needs to be maintained this way: When you are preparing chicken for supper, and you go to remove the skin, it is the white membrane that holds the skin down. Now these chickens that we eat are only a few months old. Over time our fascia can become stuck, and it may be stuck in a bad position that can cause pain. Fascia can become shortened, adhered, or restricted due to surgery, trauma, sickness, inflammation, or postural imbalances created by tension patterns of the muscles. Myofascial release is the technique that maintains your fascia. It separates the fascia from skin to muscle, muscle to muscle, and muscle to organ fascia.
Here’s my experience with myofascial release technique: I’m not sure why exactly I have issues with my fascia but since releasing it I have been able to maintain the gains I’ve received from massage. I notice when I have a spot missed by myofascial release that within hours my massage gains seem to disappear. I have hyperkyphosis, which is the excessive curvature of the thoracic spine, and after a massage it was feeling great! Unfortunately, as soon as I started driving home the pain was back. I realized that releasing the fascia over my spine was missed. On my next appointment we corrected it and the gains have been maintained for over a year now instead of hours. I am enjoying my new posture which allows me to live a more active, fulfilling life.
Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is not right. By the time you feel pain it means your body is already pulled out of proper alignment. Bones keep the body upright, ligaments hold the bones together, muscles create movement, and holding it all together is your fascia attaching, stabilizing, enclosing, and separating.
Have you been dealing with a problem that has not been remedied no matter what you do or professional you have seen? Myofascial restrictions can be remedied with a combination of massage therapy, heat, and by stretching and strengthening the muscles to obtain your optimal physical health.
To find a massage therapist near you go to one of the four Alberta Massage Associations listed: Massage Therapy Association of Alberta (MTAA), Certified Registered Massage Therapy Association (CRMTA), Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC), and Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Therapist Association (CMMOTA).