Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release (How they are DIFFERENT)


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Are you one of the many people that have heard of the benefits of Myofascial Release? You may have some confusion on what the difference is between Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release. In this article, I will break down for you some key differences between Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release.

In general, the difference between Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release is Massage Therapy uses a collection of different modalities and techniques to address multiple soft tissue conditions but Myofascial Release aims to change the structure of the fascia tissue.

Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release both have amazing benefits for those that use them. Let’s learn when and how each one of these can help you.

What is FASCIA?

The fascia is an intelligent network of connective tissue that spans the entire length of the human body. Fascia envelops all of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, veins, arteries, lymph vessels, and organs. It’s a supportive matrix of tissue that keeps the body’s tissues where they should be. It’s what gives you your human form. It also contains fluid that acts as sort of a FedEx delivery person between the brain and the connective tissues inside your body.

There’s still a lot of research being done on the fascia system of humans and a lot of research NEEDS to be done. The fact is for most modern medicines history the medical “experts” didn’t appreciate or understand that the fascia system was more than just packaging material. We are just now learning about this fascinating and important system. Just in the brief period of research that we do have on fascia we already understand that indeed the entire body IS CONNECTED and the chemicals that come from emotions CAN get trapped in the body via the fascia system. This is something that Eastern Medicine has been declaring for thousands of years.

What is MYOFASCIAL RELEASE?

Myo-(muscle) and fascia-(connective tissue) make up the word MYOFASCIA. So, the thought behind MYOFASCIAL RELEASE is to release the fibers of the muscle’s connective tissue. This is where this modality fits in the world of Massage Therapy.

Myofascial Release can be performed by a Massage Therapist or Physical Therapist. It can even be performed by yourself by means of Self-Myofascial Release. There is no time frame for Myofascial Release because the intent is to release the restricted fascia. When you are able to perceive the fascia has been released then the Myofascial Release was performed successfully.

The aim of Myofascial Release is to identify areas where the fascia has become dehydrated, dense, and stuck and perform various techniques to increase the fascial fluid and create mobility and stretch in that area of the fascia. The outcome of Myofascial Release improves the range of motion and decreases pain and muscle imbalance. Having Myofascial Release done can even prevent future injuries.

Is Myofascial Release a Deep Tissue Massage?

The answer to this question is a little complex. Deep tissue massage is a massage that focuses on the deeper soft tissues of the body. Deep tissue massage does not focus on the superficial (or close to the surface) soft tissues of the body. Deep tissue massage also does not mean “deep or strong pressure”. This does not mean a Massage Therapist won’t use deep or strong pressure to access the deeper tissues of the body but that’s not the meaning of the term Deep Tissue Massage.

The intent of Myofascial Release is to release the restricted connective tissue or fascia of the muscular system. However, as we have learned, it’s all connected. The fascial system is connected to all of the soft tissues of the body. Applying Myofascial Release to the fascia is going to affect change in the whole fascial network and everything it surrounds, all of your soft tissues. The matrix of fascia is everywhere and it goes deep. In this way having Myofascial Release done is technically a “Deep Tissue Massage”. Having Myofascial Release done to the myofascia of your paraspinal muscles (superficial) will have effects on the myofascia of your quadratus lumborum (deep). Since all of the fascia system is connected what you do to one part of the fascia system will cause a change to the system as a whole.

Please note that I said TECHNICALLY it can be a “Deep Tissue Massage” but ESSENTIALLY Myofascial Release is not the same as a Deep Tissue massage. They are different modalities and different approaches. However, if you go for a Deep Tissue massage the massage therapist can use Myofascial Release in the session if they deem it an appropriate modality to get greater access to the deeper muscle fibers they are targeting or are wanting to affect change in the matrix of fascia that may be restricting proper muscle function. This depends on the therapist and if they have training in Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue massage.

Do I need MYOFASCIAL RELEASE or MASSAGE THERAPY?

I personally believe that everyone can benefit from both Myofascial Release and Massage Therapy. Whether you get it done by a Professional Massage Therapist or you employ Self-Myofascial Release and Self-Massage they will both be beneficial. For Self-Treatment using tools and tutorials can be immensely helpful as well as provide guides for safety.

At any time you feel you need to enjoy the benefits of Myofascial Release or Massage Therapy is a good time. Consult your doctor first if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or are using prescription medications.

This article was written by and is the intellectual property of www.galeanomassage.com. If this article appears anywhere else on the internet it was stolen from the copyright owner.


MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

The content in this article is for informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

REFERENCES:

Stecco A, Stern R, Fantoni I, De Caro R, Stecco C. Fascial Disorders: Implications for Treatment. PM R. 2016 Feb;8(2):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.06.006. Epub 2015 Jun 14. PMID: 26079868.

Koren Y, Kalichman L. Deep tissue massage: What are we talking about? J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018 Apr;22(2):247-251. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 May 17. PMID: 29861215.

Ajimsha MS, Al-Mudahka NR, Al-Madzhar JA. Effectiveness of myofascial release: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015 Jan;19(1):102-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID: 25603749.

Sarah

I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

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