Working on Your Fascia
You might have heard your massage therapist talking about working on your fascia and connective tissues. Ever wondered what they were talking about? What is fascia? What is fascial therapy?
Fascia is another name for the fibrous connective tissues that you have all over your body. There are three main types of fascia; superficial fascia, which is mostly found in the skin. Deep fascia surrounds your muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. And the visceral fascia, which is mostly associated with the internal organs.
We’re dealing with your deep fascia for massage purposes – the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles and muscle groups.
What Does Muscle Fascia Do?
It’s the connective tissue responsible for holding muscles together and keeping them where they should be. Fascia also helps to separate individual muscles within their groups so that they can work independently. It also provides a lubricated surface that allows the muscles to move smoothly against each other.
If you’re inactive for a long time, your muscle fascia can start to stick together. This can happen because of an inactive lifestyle or an illness. This stops your muscles from moving freely and giving you a tight, stiff feeling. In some cases, this can also limit your mobility. In this similar situation, your massage therapist must start working on your fascia to loosen up its stiffness.
Myofascial Release is a specialized massage therapy that can help to free up stiff fascia and reduce tension or restriction.
In this type of massage, therapists feel and stretch slowly down into the tissues. All the time feeling for a glue-like texture, which means there’s a ‘sticky’ fascia. It’s not the same technique as you’ll get in an everyday relaxing massage. So, you might feel a little unusual with this massage technique. It’s an exact massage technique that involves a gentle yet direct pressure for five to eight minutes. Carrying out the fascial massage for too long can make the fascia start to resist the pressure. The therapist must be cautious feeling for any signs of resistance.
The massage should give your fascia a chance to return to its normal length, which will feel a lot better. It will ease any pain or stiffness and boost muscle health.
Who Benefits from Fascial Therapy?
If you have issues with your posture, this type of therapy could be useful. If the fascial tissue is holding your body in the wrong position, your muscles will struggle to keep you in the correct alignment. Your connective tissue then starts to work harder, and this can lead to other problems. A combination of bad posture and gravity can leads to extra stress on your body. A relaxing fascial therapy can relieve the stress on your body.
If you have scar tissue from previous injuries, some fascial massage might relieve some of the discomforts. In scar tissue, the tissue is laid down in a random pattern, which can cause it to pull on the surrounding tissue. Using fascial therapy can help to release some of the pain and stiffness caused by scar tissue dysfunction.
Athletes dealing with muscle strain, lack of flexibility, or pain could also use this type of therapy. Fascial therapy can help to increase athletes’ range of motion and decrease pain, making training a whole lot easier.
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