Myofascial Release – a Multitude of Benefits!
Improve Your Clients’ Flexibility
Improving or maintaining a client’s flexibility is one of the key goals for personal trainers. However, stretching can be time consuming and require patience to perform. In this fast-paced society, many people do not stretch simply because it takes time to do. But, now there is a way to maximize your client’s stretching efforts in a lot less time. It’s called Myofascial Release and has been shown, through research, to have a multitude of benefits such as:
- increasing flexibility more so than stretching alone
- decreasing pain
- improving circulation to the targeted area
- saving time
With a 5 minute Myofascial release treatment, and a few stretches, you’ll be able to improve your clients’ flexibility and increase their overall workout experience, in a very short period of time!
The Big Picture, and a Bit of Anatomy (What is Fascia)
Connective tissue consists of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, as well as fascia and serves as a critical link between bones and muscles – it “connects” the two. There are 2 types of fascia: superficial and deep. Superficial fascia is found under the skin and its main function is to reduce heat loss, store fat and water, provide framework for blood vessels and protect the body against trauma. Deep fascia (from now on referred to as fascia) is made up of irregular connective tissue that lines the body wall cavity, organs and holds the muscles together (like saran wrap). It allows muscles to glide over one another, while at the same time supporting a vast network of nerves and vesicles within it. There 3 layers of muscle fascia: epimysium, which encircles the whole muscle, the perimysium, which wraps around individual fascicles (10-150 muscle fibres grouped together), and Endomysium, which surrounds individual muscle fibres. Myofascial release treatments help improve the gliding mechanism of muscles, improve circulation, nerve conductivity, and especially, improve flexibility.
What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release is a treatment technique that exerts pressure on muscle during movement to create a stretch or lengthening. To increase its effectiveness, the pressure point is relocated during the stretch to impart the force throughout different sections of the same muscle. This can be done either through relocating the pressure point or gliding (massaging) along the muscle while it is lengthening (stretching).
Why do it?
Myofascial release is a way to increase the length of a muscle quickly, improve its circulation and neural conductivity, as well as decrease pain. It also increases the effectiveness of stretching and makes you (and your hands) invaluable to your clients’ progress. The real question is: why wouldn’t you do it?!
Who can do it?
Anyone really; however, training is essential! As a fitness professional, you need to know the contraindications that make myofascial release unsafe to perform. Furthermore, knowledge of how to perform myofascial release techniques on specific muscle groups is mandatory. The principle behind this technique is simple, but can be a little challenging to learn initially. However, once understood, and with practice, it becomes second nature. The more you use it, the better your hands will get, where hopefully you will reach a point at which you will incorporate this technique into your clients’ stretching program with full confidence. When I said anyone can perform it, I also meant your clients. Yes, you can teach your clients to perform it on themselves. They can use tools such as foam rollers, balls, or their own hands. This opens up an opportunity to not only be a great personal trainer, but also an educator who goes above and beyond to help your clients’ achieve their fitness goals.
By: Ranko Vukovic MPT, BHK, Physiotherapist
Want more information on how to perform Myofascial Release techniques? Listen to this informative lecture.