Fascia is a dense woven and very strong tissue that surrounds all our muscles, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and organs. A very effective and gentle sustained pressure is applied to the soft tissue to eliminate pain and restore mobility by stretching of the fascia.
What is fascia?
Fascia is a tissue of the body that surrounds our muscles and organs. Superficial fascia lies just under our skin. Deep fascia is that tissue that is found around the organs and around the deeper fibers of our muscles.
Fascia is designed somewhat like a spider web and has our arteries, nerves and veins that pass through it to reach other parts of our body.
Fascia is a strong tissue that does not lend itself to great amounts of elasticity or flexibility.
Some fascia is located in places of our body that require very strong support. For example, your IT (iliotibial band) is fascia. The outside of your leg does not have a huge abundance of muscle but requires a large amount of support. When an individual plays tennis or a sport that requires a quick stop with an outside lunging step, there is a large force placed on the outside of the leg. If we did not have the strong support of the fascia in this area, we would not be able to perform such moves without injury.
When we have constant strain in an area, which could be anywhere, such as the IT band or the extensor muscles of the forearm, the fascia can become stuck (adhered) to the surrounding structures. If you have a repetitive strain to your forearm muscles, the body will try to fix this by producing tissue to strengthen the area, but if this strain continues the tissue keeps building and gets stuck to the tissue around it. So if you have repetitive strain of your forearm the fascia will be stuck to the muscles. When this happens there is usually pain involved, a lack of circulation, and lack of flexibility and/or weakness of the muscles.
If there is fascial restrictions in one part of the body it will affect other parts of the body much like a pull on a shirt that you would be wearing.
Treatment of this tissue is addressed with what is called Myofascial Release (MFR) techniques. There is no oil used when performing this technique and the area is warmed with either hydrotherapy or another massage technique.
The techniques are applied with the fingers, thumbs, palms or forearms. A stretch is applied to the tissue either with a glide or by torqueing the tissue with a technique referred to as skin rolling. The fascia is slowly stretched and held until a release in the tissue is felt by the therapist. The length of time for this release will vary depending on the severity of the condition being treated. This technique will often elicit a burning or pinching sensation to the client. It is important to communicate your level of comfort or discomfort to your therapist so that he/she can work within your tolerable and acceptable level of pain.
Fascia release is not used on those clients that are pregnant because we want to ensure that their stability is maintained through the fascia strength as the increase in relaxin will decrease the stability of the joints.