What is Myofascial Release?
If you have taken any of my classes, you have probably used tennis balls either at the start or somewhere within the class. You might love it right away and wonder why it’s so amazing. You might not love it during, and wonder why you are doing it in the first place, but potentially notice a positive difference afterward.
what is fascia?
Fascia is connective tissue. You could compare it to plastic wrap that both separates muscles into groups AND unites the body as a whole. The health of our fascia can determine our functional movement and our experience of being in our bodies.
Healthy fascia is meant to lay itself down in a wavy, organized pattern, to be hydrated with water and blood, to have good nerve communication, and to allow for easy sliding and gliding between muscles to keep a healthy, comfortable range of motion.
Unhealthy fascia can become bunchy and dehydrated, contributing to stiffness, discomfort, and potentially pain in the body.
unhealthy fascia? how does that happen?
The fascia is most affected by the things we do most often. It can be our habitual posture. It can be from our sport (and even yoga!). It can be from the way we carry our children or heavy bags. It can even be affected by stress and emotion. If you have had injuries or surgeries, scar tissue can play a big role in the health of the fascia as well.
what can I do?
You can notice how you carry yourself and other items. You can get massages and go to a good chiropractor. You can stay hydrated and eat well. You can also practice self-myofascial release.
If you have two tennis balls, you can do myofascial release. Even without anatomical knowledge, you can place your tennis balls where or close to where you feel discomfort and breathe into the sensations. You might be lying down on the tennis balls, sitting down, or leaning against the wall. With a little bit of more specific know-how, you can be more specific with your healing process. How empowering is it to play a part in your body’s state of health?
why does this work?
When the fascia experiences stress, the body automatically begins the process of inflammation, and scar tissue lays down on the area like stitches in an attempt to keep the area protected. It’s amazing that the body can do this on its own, but those stitches can cause a bunching and dehydration to the area. It can even lead to less range of motion, weakness, and less sensation.
By placing pressure on the area, we are encouraging the fascia to change its bunching pattern back to its organized wavy pattern by breaking up scar tissue and inviting fresh blood flow and nerve communication to the area.
will my body be in perfect condition after a myofascial release session?
No. I don’t think our bodies will ever be in PERFECT condition. They can feel better, though. Depending on how long the tension has been held in any given area, it can take a long time to find complete release. Your body WILL feel the difference. In my personal experience it feels like my muscles are refreshed after myofascial release.
Another thing to think about is the way you carry yourself following the session. If you revert back to your habitual patterns, even though you did all this great work with the tennis balls, your body will not necessarily heal. In order to find true healing, we initiate the healing response with yoga, massage, tennis balls, chiropractic care, etc., and carry what we have learned and established with us in the real world.
who benefits from myofascial release?
people experiencing chronic pain
people recovering from surgery or injury (once cleared by a doctor)
people who are looking for self-care to support and improve performance in their sport/ physical activity
people who are chronically stressed
people who want some preventative maintenance to decrease chance of injury or pain
people who are are looking for greater mobility
take your wellness into your own hands! Get some tennis balls and get some know-how at Lotus Town Yoga!