Apr 1, 2021
Myofascial release is a hands-on soft tissue technique that facilitates a stretch into the restricted fascia. A sustained pressure is applied into the tissue barrier; after 90 to 120 seconds the tissue will undergo histological length changes allowing the first release to be felt. The therapist follows the release into a new tissue barrier and holds. After a few releases the tissues will become softer and more pliable. (Barnes 1997)
Mock (1997) describes a hierarchy of MFR stages or ‘levels’:
Level 1 involves treatment of tissues without introducing tension. The practitioner's contact (which could involve thumb, finger, knuckle or elbow) moves longitudinally along muscle fibers, distal to proximal, with the patient passive.
Level 2 is precisely the same as the previous description but, in this instance, the glide is applied to muscle which is in tension (at stretch).
Level 3 involves the introduction to the process of passively induced motion, as an area of restriction is compressed while the tissues being compressed are taken passively through their fullest possible range of motion.
Level 4 is the same as the previous description but the patient actively moves the tissues through the fullest possible range of motion, from shortest to longest, while the practitioner/therapist offers resistance.
For example, the practitioner might apply moderate digital pressure to the involved tissue in a direction proximal to distal while the patient actively moves the muscle through its range of motion in both eccentric and concentric contraction phases. This modification of basic MFR has been called active release technique (ART) (Leahy 1999).
It can be seen from the descriptions offered that there are different models of myofascial release, some taking tissue to the elastic barrier and waiting for a release mechanism to operate and others in which active or passive force is applied to induce change.
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Ref. Leon Chaitow ND DO, ... Nick Buratovich ND, in Naturopathic Physical Medicine, 2008
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