The difference between manual therapy techniques that target muscle tissue and your body’s connective tissue.
Both myofascial release, which is self-massage addressing your fascia, and a massage seek to positively effect your mobility by relaxing muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation and stimulating stiff or underactive tissues. Following we break down the difference between myofasical release versus massage.
What it means: A general term for applying pressure, rubbing, or kneading the soft tissue, including the muscles, tendons, connective tissue, and ligaments within the body. Typically delivered by a massage therapist or specialist.
How it feels: A massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure and typically targets the deeper layers of muscular tissue. Therefore, it is common to feel relaxed, tired, or even sore after a massage. Because the massage therapist works, almost even exercises, your muscles. You may experience discomfort, but it should never hurt or be painful. Because it’s like workout, it is very important to consume water after a massage.
Why it matters: Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It plays an important role in overall health. Bbecause of its physical and mental benefits, especially after surgery or an injury. It’s workout-like effect on the body even helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase serotonin. These hormones also have an emotional benefit, lowering anxiety and helping to boost confidence and mental clarity.
What it means: This term specifically refers to your body’s fascia, what is sometimes called connective tissue. It is defined by the use of soft props, trigger point therapy, or manipulation and mobilization techniques one uses in self massage.
It addresses myofascial dysfunction. Myofascial dysfunction is when the body’s fascia, a stretchy, web like connective tissue that surrounds and penetrates all the structures of the body, is inhibited. This dysfunction manifests in postural patterns, chronic inflammation, and under or even overuse of areas which can lead to injury. This dysfunction is commonly due to certain activities that influence how well or poorly that fascia is able to perform.
How it feels: Through self massage, you are always in control of the pressure. Like all massage work, myofascial release techniques may cause discomfort but it should never be painful. After the release, you may initially feel lightheaded or slightly dizzy because it improves blood flow and circulation. Because it improves proprioception, you may feel your limbs or targeted areas buzz or vibrate, stimulated by the movement or touch. Because of its hydrating benefits, consuming water after release work is very important.
Why it matters: Fascia provides structural support for the body, helps transfer forces of movement and gravity, and serves as a pathway for cellular nutrition, immune responses, and healing and recovery!
Myofascial release can stimulate the nervous system to relax chronic tightness and improve muscular length. Think improved flexibility without even stretching.
It can improve your proprioception so you rely less on pain to perceive your body’s movement in space.
Drinking water isn’t enough to hydrate your body. Myofascial release hydrates your connective tissue on a cellular level. Water, one of the larger components of fascia, keeps the integrity of the fascia tissue.
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But why the distinction between a myofascial release and a massage?
Myofascial release during a workout can remodel our body’s movement patterns and posture despite daily or athletic activities. Where as a massage, while important, is more along the lines of recovery.
Part of improving our overall health is improving our mobility and prepping the body for change. Myofascial release, or self-massage techniques is becoming more and more a part of your Pilates class. This is because it speeds up the process of whole-body change.
Wow. With so many benefits between the two, who wouldn’t want a massage? Addressing the health of your body’s muscular and connective tissue is incredibly important, whether you seek the reassuring touch and care a massage therapist delivers or are interested in developing an at-home self-massage practice.
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