Take Care of Your Body
I have been a therapist now for more than 60 years and have had the privilege of working with clients from all over the world. One of the most common questions I receive involves the real—but temporary—benefits most clients see with massage therapy and how clients may be able extend those benefits beyond the massage session.
Incorporating myofascial release techniques into a massage session, when appropriate, is one way I’ve found to make the benefits of massage last longer.
Longer-Lasting Massage Benefits: Slowing Down Your Massage
Every form of therapy that we have been taught is too quick. What do I mean by that?
Fascial restrictions are unique to every human being, and following the proper principles that apply to both the collagenous aspect and the fluid aspect—what I call the ground substance of fascia—requires very specific principles.
First, massage therapists using myofascial release need to develop tactile and proprioceptive senses to be able to feel the client’s unique fascial strain patterns. Fascial restrictions are generated by trauma, thwarted inflammatory responses or surgical procedures, which can cause crushing pressure on pain sensitive structures. This work takes time, and massage therapists need to slow down.
Along with slowing down the actual massage technique, being cognizant of the amount of pressure placed on the client is very important. Some massage techniques use too much pressure, which can cause the client to tighten their muscles and go into protective or defensive mindset.
Alternatively, some techniques are too light and only engage the muscular and elastic component, not the collagenous component of the fascial system. In both of these cases—whether too much pressure or not enough—and benefits the client notices may only last for a short period of time.
Myofascial Release in Action: Pace, Pressure and Timing
Once the restrictive barriers are found and the proper pressures applied, fascial restrictions must be engaged for a sustained period of time for consistent effectiveness and longevity of results.
Getting the pace, pressure and timing of myofascial release right can have multiple benefits for your clients. Following are phenomena that involve the principles that I have been teaching for over 40 years to create the positive changes you want for your clients:
Piezoelectricity is a Greek word meaning pressure and electricity. Our cells have a crystalline nature. In the human body, the pressure we utilize with myofascial release generates a bioelectrical flow that then turns into what is called mechanotransduction.
The pressure utilized with myofascial release allows for mechanotransduction to allow for a biochemical and hormonal effect at the cellular level. Recent research has shown that through mechanotransduction, interleukin-8 is produced in the body, which is the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response.
Resonance is another word for release. Resonance allows for anything solidified to rehydrate. In myofascial release, resonance allows the fascial system to glide and “release” crushing pressure from the pain sensitive structures, which in turn helps clients better manage pain.