You might assume that an all-over body massage will also relieve stiffness in the intricate, densely-woven connective tissue “web,” or fascia, that lays over your muscles. It does, but only to a degree.
Fascia is a specialized system of the body that covers and interpenetrates muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, and many internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. This fascial system is not just a linkage of coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. The fascia, then, connects each part of your body to every other part.
Symptoms of Tight Fascia
The fascia plays an important role in the support and function of the body. Healthy fascia is relaxed and wavy in form. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.
Fascia that is unhealthy, due to inflammation caused by illness, surgery, repetitive action, poor posture, acute injury, trauma, or even emotional stress is indicated by symptoms such as:
- Tightness across an area of the body
- Restricted range of motion
- Tension with or without a precise cause
These changes are due to a loss of pliability. Our bodies feel “uncomfortable” and achy. Over time, this leads to changes in form and function that can lead to all kinds of additional symptoms including headache, pain, fatigue and changes in our daily activity.
Because of its unique nature, the fascia requires a special therapeutic touch known as Myofascial Release (MFR). Myofascial Release is a hands-on therapy that uses gentle, sustained pressure in areas where restrictions/symptoms are present. The aim of MFR is to reduce or eliminate discomfort and pain and to restore motion. MFR is safe and effective for most people.
Not all licensed massage therapists are trained in MFR. Those who are have taken advanced training or certification. Inquire with your holistic practitioner about MFR and where to find a skilled therapist to help you feel your best.