Tight Muscles? Myofascial Release May Help

Our bodies were made to move. Tightness in our muscles can lead to restricted movement, discomfort and injury. A type of therapy called myofascial release can be beneficial in loosening the band of tissue that wraps around muscle fibers, aiding in healthy mobility.

“Myofascial release is a soft tissue therapy for releasing tension in the fascia that restricts movement in our bodies,” explains Ann Heckler, certified trainer, ProMedica ForeverFit. “Our myofascial release class utilizes techniques like compression and shearing to help muscle and tissue relax and lengthen.”

Words like “compression” and “shearing” may sound painful, but the techniques should not be painful. Participants are in full control of the guided technique throughout the class.

“The self-massage tools we use in class focus on deep pressure points throughout the body,” says Heckler. “Participants are guided to work to a tolerable point and each person is in control of how much pressure they use and the intensity of the release.”

People who practice myofascial release may see the following benefits:

  • Better stretching: Myofascial release stimulates and opens your muscles, making your stretching more effective.
  • Joint alignment: An upright and aligned body is a great home to live in! Plus, it helps your body handle the stresses of gravity. Those with joint issues may see an increase in their range of motion.
  • Reduced soreness: Rolling out your muscles clears out the after-effects of exercise by pumping nutrition into the muscles and moving waste products out. This helps reduce soreness in the muscle.
  • Reduced risk of injury: Just as your tires wear unevenly if your car’s alignment is off, your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders will wear out unevenly if you aren’t properly aligned.
  • Loosened muscles: Myofascial release keeps your muscles loose and improves your body’s adaptability. This makes it easier for your body to respond to the demands of your lifestyle. It’s helpful for overused muscles as a result of exercise and general wear and tear on the body.

The small class size offers a personalized approach so that participants can adjust to their needs.

“Athletes find improvements in pre-performance as well as safe recovery, while participants who sit at a desk all day or are working with a specific area of stiffness can find more mobility and range of motion to relieve stiff joints,” says Heckler.

Overall, myofascial release has preventive benefits to keep the body healthy and mobile. While the techniques may be used at home, Heckler recommends starting with a class until you have some experience practicing it or seeking the guidance of a certified trainer.