Myofascial Release in Dorset

Myofascial Release at Freedom Within, Myofascial Therapy for chronic pain conditions.

What is fascia?

3D male medical figure showing shoulder scaption

Fascia is a 3D soft tissue matrix which supports, protects, and infuses all other tissues and the organs of the body.

“It [fascia] spreads throughout the body in a three dimensional web from head to foot without interruption. The fascia surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel and organ of the body, all the way down to the the cellular level.

Therefore, malfunction of the fascial system due to trauma, posture, or inflammation can create a binding down of the fascia, resulting in abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles, bones, or organs.

This can create pain or malfunction throughout the body, sometimes with bizarre side effects and seemingly unrelated symptoms.” [1]
– John F Barnes

Fascia is incredibly strong and resilient and, in a healthy body, it has stretch and bounce. But when things go wrong – anywhere in the body – it can affect the entire fascial network. Fascia binds every muscle fibre, fascia and muscle fibres are functionally interlinked. Therefore, any imbalance or injury to the muscles will result in the fascia tightening and dehydrating and restrictions in the fascia can result in muscle imbalances.

It is these restrictions that can cause pain

Any restriction in the fascia, anywhere in the body, can manifest in various sorts of pain. First, an injury can cause the surrounding fascia to harden. Consequently, the area around the fascia does not move freely, and pain and swelling increase.

Over time the restriction in the fascia can spread to other areas of the body. When myofascial restrictions turn into pain, the pain is sharp, throbbing, deep, and constant, but the exact source or root cause is not always obvious.

Myofascial Release Therapy is beneficial for relieving the pain and fatigue associated with the following conditions:

  • Chronic neck and back and pain
  • Migraines and headaches 
  • TMJ and jaw issues
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • IBS and other GI issues
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • Whiplash and other kinds of trauma
  • Myofascial related medical conditions and chronic pain syndromes
  • Plantar fasciitis 
  • Muscular tension brought on by stress 

As Myofascial Release grows in popularity, science and research are supporting it as the ‘missing link’ in traditional healthcare. You can read more about that here.

How does fascia respond to touch?

Myofascial RElease Dorset
Each part of the body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

Fascia loves slow gentle pressure!

I use a sustained and gentle pressure, allowing the fascia to release. The slow sustained pressure used in MFR takes pressure off dehydrated areas of the body, restores fluidity and allows rehydrated tissues to glide again.

The MFR technique is very different to that of massaging muscles of the body. A muscle knot can be released with a stronger pressure but fascia cannot be forced as it will naturally meet that force in return and harden in response.

Fascia in relation to scar tissue

When fascia is injured…

…it heals and protects itself by laying down scar tissue. Scar tissue formation creates abnormal strain patterns which can result in pain and tightness and decreased range of motion. This can lead to muscular imbalances causing further complications or injuries. Nerves can also become trapped in these fascial restrictions.

I am also trained in Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork techniques and I use specific hands-on Myofascial Release techniques which are light and gentle with the aim to re-integrate scar tissue into the three dimensional fascial web. 

Read more about how I can help you with treatment for scar tissue and adhesions >

Further reading about the treatment of scar tissue and adhesions
Myofascial Release and scar tissue >

Fascia and Emotional Health

Fascia can harden and become dehydrated also as a result of emotional trauma and the body’s response to extreme stress.

The tissue may shorten, thicken, and constrict, putting pressure on adjoining areas. This pressure can compress nerves and capillaries which in turn leads to discomfort, pain, and reduced blood flow in the area, affecting the immune system and reducing your resilience even further.

Myofascial Release techniques rehydrate the fascia, restoring elasticity, improving circulation and helping blood and oxygen flow smoothly around the body again. 

When the source of your pain is emotional trauma, which makes everything tighten up, somatic therapy like Myofascial Release and Embodied Processing, in conjunction with Coaching and other talking therapies (if required), help you move past the trauma by providing a powerful signal to your body that you’re “safe.”

Myofascial Release Can Help You Recover From Emotional Trauma

When you have been affected by emotional trauma, the wounds are deep. For the mind and body to truly heal and recover – and turn off the stress response, we need to follow a highly individualized approach.

In trauma cases due to prolonged stress, physiological changes can include constant hyper alertness, sleep disturbances, heart palpitations, fatigue, anxiety and many other uncomfortable symptoms. Myofascial release can be used to facilitate nervous system regulation, to remove stress from your body and restore balance as you finally feel at home in your body again.

All treatment sessions are unique to you and your specific set of symptoms but will likely include:

Indirect Myofascial Release techniques: Many think Trigger Point Therapy and foam rolling is the entirety of good myofascial release. But they are missing a much deeper and more effective resolution if that’s all they do. Indirect myofascial release techniques address the entirety of the fascial system by gently engaging with restrictions in such a way that your body does not have to protect itself. We then “nudge into” or “lengthen at” the barrier of resistance surrounding a restriction in the fascial “web.” Over time, as we maintain a steady, aware pressure, the restriction will begin to melt, rehydrate, and become mobile again. This is very different from the typical bodywork approach and experience of rubbing, stretching, and pinning. We are able to reach deeply into your body through the fascial web, even where fingers and tools will never reach on their own.

Myofascial unwinding:

Unwinding is the name given to a treatment response often associated with myofascial release and other similar therapeutic approaches.

The term ‘unwinding’ is thought to have originated from the teachings of Viola Frymann, an English Osteopath. She was renowned for her approaches to body memory, trauma and spontaneous movement as a treatment response.

Unwinding is a normal and natural response as you begin to allow yourself to really feel the gentle and subtle work. First your stomach might gurgle, your breathing might slow and deepen and sometimes you might sigh. This is thought to be a change to a more parasympathetic state from sympathetic state. Then, you may slowly start to spontaneously move, just as if your brakes have been taken off.

The process of unwinding is not a technique; it can’t be done to someone, it is a spontaneous experience. It is not a prerequisite and some clients never need to, or will, unwind.

A Somatic Approach

Somatic therapy guides you to focus on your underlying physical sensations. A session may include breath work, meditation, visualisation, massage, grounding and sensation awareness work.

Fascia plays a critical role in the central nervous system through the dural tube that encases the brain and spinal cord – these membrane layers of fascia contain and protect your entire central nervous system.

Myofascial Release provides a gateway via the body (the soma) for emotional factors to be addressed and resolved. Coaching and Embodied Processing can be used to dive deeper and to help you explore and address the emotional factors involved in your chronic pain.

Rehabilitation for chronic pain

Rehabilitation for chronic pain sufferers is a field of therapy and treatment which is sadly overlooked.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, myofascial rehabilitation can increase function and also increase your confidence and motivation.

Rehabilitation incorporates stretching, movement and therapy tools, such as therapy balls and foam rolls to enhance fascial tone and glide.

The Mind-Body Connection

Myofascial Release promotes the philosophy that the mind and body work together to maintain health and well being.

Effectively, this supports the understanding that the mind and body are one and the same. The body ‘remembers’ postural positions, actions and emotions without the conscious mind telling it to do so.

Your body is a repository of information which provides access to your emotions and belief systems. Supplying the central nervous system with new information (awareness) allows for biomechanical change as well as improved potential and consciousness.

With the help of MFR the physical and emotional content of any injury, literal or symbolic, can be addressed in a safe and gentle way. MFR treats the injury at source allowing you to heal at the deepest level.

[1] John F Barnes, “physical therapist, lecturer, author, and the leading authority on Myofascial Release, has trained over 100,000 physicians and therapists and is considered to be an ‘icon’ and a teacher/therapist of the highest caliber” has this to say about why MFR could be the missing link in treatments; read John’s “Missing Link” article here >

Curious to know more about fascia? Dip into the publications on the Fascia Research website >

Booking and Questions

Please contact me if you would like to book an appointment or have any questions.

Anatomy picture: Created by kjpargeter –

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