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Frequently Asked Questions

What does “myofascial” mean? “Myo” is Greek for muscle while “fascia” is a Latin term referring to connective tissue. The terms fascia and connective tissue are often used interchangeably. Back to Top

What is fascia and where’s it located? Fascia is a versatile body tissue. Its consistency can be very tough and fibrous like our tendons and ligaments, scars, and our muscle tissue. It also can be gelatinous in nature forming all of the “glue” that holds our body together. Because connective tissue covers each and every cell in our body it’s a critical part of our anatomy. However, because the role of connective tissue hasn’t been understood well until recently, it has generally been overlooked and not considered an important body tissue. This is very unfortunate as it can be the source of a great deal of pain. Back to Top

What is Myofascial Release? John Barnes PT describes myofascial release as a “whole-body, hands-on approach used for the evaluation and treatment of the human structure.”He notes that connective tissue forms and reorganizes along the lines of tension imposed on the body. In an effort to stabilize our structure, connective tissue adds support to misaligned or contracted areas which can create a vicious cycle setting the body up for more trauma, pain and limitation of movement. Back to Top

What causes myofascial restrictions? Fascial strain or restrictions “can be created by trauma(physical or emotional), surgery, inflammatory or infectious processes, or structural imbalances. This causes connective tissue to slowly tighten down and solidify like cement. Over time,the tightness spreads like a pulled yarn in a sweater. This has the potential to alter our three dimensional body alignment, often causing pain in areas distant from the site of the original injury. In these situations, localized treatment (to the area of pain) tends to produce poor results because the actual cause of the myofascial tightness remains untreated.” In addition to pain, myofascial restrictions can also cause fatigue and other odd symptoms that are seemingly unrelated to their cause. Back to Top

What are the consequences of fascial restrictions? There is evidence that connective tissue can potentially have the approximate pulling strength of 2000 lbs. per square inch! That’s a ton! When connective tissue tightens down it pulls on sensitive tissue structures like nerves. That’s why a person with connective tissue restrictions is bound to hurt. Back to Top

How can the therapist find the location of the connective tissue restrictions? The therapist is taught to find the cause of symptoms by evaluating the fascial system. This is done by visually analyzing the human frame, palpating the tissue for restrictions and assessing the cranial sacral rhythm. Back to Top

How does the therapist release the myofascial restrictions? The therapist applies gentle pressure or light traction to the restricted connective tissue area over a period of several minutes. The combination of the gentle and sustained touch allows the restricted tissue to release. To the therapist, when the tissue releases it gives feeling like taffy stretching or butter melting. Sometimes the client can feel this too. Back to Top

Where can I learn more about the Myofascial Release Approach? There is a lot of information available on the internet. One excellent site is:

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Light Mountain Healthworks       4593 Countryside Road SW, Bemidji, MN 56601

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