giving shape to the musculo-skeletal system, connective tissues (called fascia) envelop every layer of muscle in the body and connect into bones. myofascial release targets these tissues, softening tension and adhesions. generally more targeted and therapeutic than a Swedish or relaxation-oriented massage, this style is also smoother and less harsh than most “deep tissue” work.
at body temperature, fascia is fairly solid, and helps support muscles in maintaining a balanced and upright posture. the more time we spend in a particular shape (or doing specific movements), the more the fascia will mold itself to hold that pattern. this allows our muscles to work less hard at routine tasks, and it also reinforces postural habits – for better or for worse.
by melting the fascia around a chronically tight area, it has a chance to re-set itself into a more open and mobile shape. this can facilitate regaining lost range of motion, reduced aches and pains from maintaining an off-kilter structural pattern, and many other chronic ailments.
in my practice, i often incorporate elements of Thai massage or craniosacral work in with myofascial release. i find that utilizing a fuller spectrum of approaches helps you more thoroughly release stress and tension and find overall grounding and balance.