When it comes to building a healthy body, there are benefits to intense sweaty workouts as well as rest, relaxation, and recovery sessions. But where does “release” fit into the balance and what does it mean? At Pure Movement, release work means using a soft prop to gently manipulate and relax the fascial connective tissue to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, whole body alignment, and relieve pain.
So what is “release work”?
Release work is the gentle manipulation of the many, many layers of fascia, or our connective tissue, using self-massage, manipulation, trigger point therapy, and/or soft props like a roller and small balls. This connective tissue creates support and structure within the body! Think of it like a wetsuit around your body, that gently squeezes all your tendons, blood vessels, ligaments, muscle structure, and bones. The coolest part of the fascia is that in addition to providing this structure, it also helps transfer the forces of gravity and impact through the body to keep your joints healthy. It assists with proprioception and actually serves as a pathway for cellular respiration, hydration, healing, and recovery. Cool right!
But have you ever picked up an old wetsuit or swimsuit and it feels dry, brittle, almost powdery in your hands? Like it’s lost its elasticity? The same can happen with your connective tissue!
The shape of this connective tissue wetsuit gets reshaped on a daily basis due to our movements, posture, and activities. In other words, what we do every day creates the physical structure and abilities of our bodies. This is what can dehydrate the wetsuit. Thus when you walk into an exercise class, it’s important to address your connective tissue and how it affects your body prior to strengthening.
But when do I schedule release work?
Because your connective tissue is the wetsuit holding your body structurally, release work affects everything from overall alignment to managing chronic inflammation in the body, and developing better proprioception.
Here is an example: maybe some days you feel like you can touch your toes, but on others reaching down you feel really tight and you don’t get as far. Why is today different? Maybe yesterday you went for a long hike or attended a HIIT class so today’s one of those days you feel tight, stiff and swollen in your hamstrings. You need to address the stiffness that is affecting your whole body prior to stressing your body further.
Get your release work in weekly to daily, even 10 minutes will do. It’s gentle, relaxing, and low-impact!
How is release work different than stretching?
Good question! Both stretching and release work are in pursuit of improving mobility and are more restorative in nature. However, stretching is going to moderate muscle length. While release work restores the elasticity of the wetsuit through the exchange of fluid through the tissues!
That’s why you experience so many benefits from release work, especially when coupled with exercise. How release work works:
Without proprioception (awareness of our body in space), our body actually uses pain receptors to experience how our body moves. The gentle compression of the release work stimulates the facia to build better proprioception.
Stress, infection, overworking your muscles, and injury can cause inflammation. But stimulating the many layers of the connective tissue increases circulation and returns hydration to the tissue leading to tissue repair and healing. It also supports the lymphatic system.
Because it helps with all these, and much more, it is especially beneficial to start an exercise session with release work. Or be sure to incorporate at least 1 session weekly on a recovery day. A good release session however brief, even just 10 mins can help, will set your body up for optimal alignment, decrease pain with movement due to inflammation and build better body awareness!
What release work classes do we offer?
In our Release classes, you will use soft props to self-massage. This self-massage is designed to increase circulation, stimulate proprioception, and rehydrate the connective tissue. If you are new to self-massage with soft props, you will find tender areas within the body from dehydration, perhaps from previous, injury, or from overtraining. The more frequently you release, even 10 mins before a workout, the tissue will soften, and the work with become less painful with longer-lasting flexibility and mobility!
Release and Reform
Tuesdays 10:00 AM
Enjoy a restorative release session during the first half followed by the reformer, which accents the newfound freedom and range of motion. Always fresh and different, each week you’ll discover a deeper connection to your Pilates reformer work with a better understanding of where you hold stress and tension in the body. This gentle class offers both new and experienced movers and whole-body rejuvenation!
VIRTUAL Release + Restore
Fridays 8:00 AM
Wake up your body and discover what feels good with this restorative virtual foam roller class. Focused on releasing tightness and opening up, use the foam roller and simple movements. Expect to connect to your center and practice breathing fully. This is a gentle class that is perfect for tough and stressful weeks.
THE INFORMATION EXPRESSED ON THIS SITE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. WE DRAW ON OUR EXPERTISE AS PILATES AND MOVEMENT SPECIALISTS BY EXPANDING OUR PROFESSIONALISM THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. WE AIM TO PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PILATES, FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT, AND FITNESS. YOU TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL DECISIONS NOW OR IN THE FUTURE CONCERNING YOUR HEALTH, LIFE, AND WELL-BEING. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT TO BE USED AS MEDICAL ADVICE EITHER TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR AILMENTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.