For many, ongoing physical pain, tension, and a lack of mobility impact life each and every day. Whether it’s discomfort at work or not being able to do the activities you want to do, these physical issues can have wide-reaching effects on all of us.
Often, the source of chronic pain lies in a special kind of tissue known as fascia. It’s a sheet of connective tissue that spans the entire area of your body, supporting your skin, muscles, joints, and internal organs. This complex, self-regulating tissue is actually a single organ, one that is deeply interconnected. However, fascia can become dehydrated and ‘stuck’ with disuse or injury, leading to ongoing pain and stiffness that seems to only get worse as time goes on.
So what’s the answer to this painful and difficult issue with your fascial tissue? The solution is a type of therapy known as fascial release.
Fascial release therapy is focused on moving, sliding, gliding, and releasing fascial tissue. Over time, this treatment can produce profound effects—relieving pain, improving mobility, and providing your body with the relaxation it so desperately needs.
If you have questions about fascial release, you’ve come to the right place! With over 25 years of experience in physiotherapy, I’ve seen firsthand how transformative this treatment can be. With that said, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about fascial release—answered.
What is fascia’s role in the body, and why does it need to be released?
As I mentioned before, fascia is a web of connective tissues that spans the entire body. It’s especially concentrated around internal organs, blood vessels, bones, nerve fibers, and muscles. Fascial tissue moves and stretches to accommodate the motions of your muscular system, supporting the vital parts of your body at the same time.
When it’s moving well, your fascial tissues are smooth and well-hydrated, and easily move with your body. But over time, parts of the fascia that don’t get as much use can lose that important hydration, becoming dry, sticky, and more difficult to move smoothly. This can lead to pain and immobility if left untreated. As it is interconnected, a restriction in one area can lead to dysfunction in another connected area.
Fascia needs to be released frequently in order to keep it in good condition. Whether you’re dealing with an ongoing issue, or simply looking to keep your body in the best possible shape to improve comfort and movement ability, everyone can benefit from fascial release.
What types of fascial release treatments are there?
There are a few different approaches to fascial release that you may encounter. At ProActive Pilates, there are three main modalities that I make use of. They are:
- The Roll Model Method – Recovery
This is the most common type of fascial release work that I do since it’s designed to help people overcome the pain and discomfort associated with fascial tissue injuries. The Roll Model Method is a soft-tissue conditioning and fitness program designed to relax, calm, and rehabilitate your fascial tissues, getting you back to your normal activities sooner.
The Roll Model Method makes use of tools called Tune Up Therapy and Fitness Balls. These rubber, grippy balls come in sets of 4 sizes and densities, each designed to work on the fascia in a different part of your body. They’re purpose-built for this application and are much more precise and effective than alternative tools, such as foam rollers or tennis balls or lacrosse balls.
- The Roll Model Method – Precovery
Similar to the recovery modality of the Roll Model Method, the Precovery version is intended for people looking to take more proactive care of their physical health. Using the same Tune Up Therapy and Fitness Balls, clients will be guided through a series of exercises that will keep their fascia mobile and healthy. This precovery treatment will improve circulation to your tissues, reducing inflammation and improving mobility and flexibility throughout your entire body.
- Self Fascial Release (SFR)
The final type of fascial release work I do in my clinic is educating clients on how to do fascial release at home. Using the same tools as in the Roll Model Method, I provide you with the knowledge you need to keep up with this vital treatment on your own time, ensuring you’re making forward progress with your recovery at all times.
How does a fascial release session work?
In my fascial release sessions at ProActive Pilates, I always begin working with new clients with a full assessment. This is my opportunity to learn about the problems that have brought you in, as well as to get a sense of your lifestyle and unique health needs.
Once the assessment is complete, I put together a comprehensive treatment plan that will act as a flexible and adaptable roadmap for recovery. Then, we get to work on sessions. I most often use the Alpha ball (3.5” diameter) with the Roll Model Method in my clinic, as I’ve found it to be the ideal tool to activate and relax sensitive fascial tissue.
Sessions range from 30-60 minutes. In this time, I’ll guide you through some exercises to help relax your fascial tissue, as well as provide you with resources and tools to keep up with the regimen at home.
Over time, I’ll also check in on your progress to ensure we’re meeting your unique health goals. If we have to make adaptations, I’m always happy to be flexible to ensure you’re still on track to a life free of pain, stiffness, and discomfort.
How does fascial release differ from other physiotherapy modalities?
While all forms of physiotherapy have their place, few are as effective at targeting fascial tissue as fascial release therapy. You can think of the various types of physical therapy as a set of tools, each with a separate job that they’re best suited for. Core rehab is best suited for strengthening your pelvis and surrounding muscle systems. Stretch therapy is best for using stretching techniques to improve the range of motion and mobility. Likewise, fascial therapy is a great way to relax myofascial (muscle and fascial) tissue.
Is fascial release only for treating injuries?
No. Not only is facial release therapy invaluable for rehabilitating injured or underused fascial tissue, but also it can be used proactively and preventatively.
When your fascial tissues are hydrated and moving properly, you’ll have greater flexibility, reduced inflammation, and experience improved athletic performance. This is also a great way to reduce the risk of injury to your fascia later on, since it will move and support your body with ease. Many of my clients make use of regular fascial release treatments to keep their bodies feeling their absolute best.
Does fascial release therapy hurt?
Because fascial release focuses on dry, immobile, or inflamed parts of your fascial network, the release process can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable. However, when done properly, it should never exceed a 6/10 on the pain scale, and you shouldn’t be too sore afterward—in fact, you should feel much better overall than when you first started your session.
Many people also find that fascial release becomes less uncomfortable as they go through multiple sessions, to the point where it becomes very relaxing and even soothing. After all, the goal of fascial release therapy is to reduce the pain you’re dealing with from your regular activities. So don’t be reluctant about giving it a shot due to any discomfort you might feel early on.
Who can benefit most from fascial release?
As stated before, you don’t need to be experiencing pain or lack of mobility to benefit from fascial release, and everyone can benefit from this treatment to some degree. With that said, there are certain cases which can benefit from fascial release even more, such as people who are dealing with:
- Chronic pain in the shoulders, neck, back, and hips
- Lack of mobility in the shoulders and hips
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis (Sharp heel pain)
- Excess scar tissue
- Chronic headaches
- Whiplash injuries
- And any ongoing pain that hasn’t improved either with time or with other treatments
If you’re dealing with any kind of long-term physical pain, stiffness, or other discomforts, fascial release could be the answer. It’s never a bad idea to try this treatment, especially when you consider the amazing effects it can have on your overall well-being in general.
Do you still have questions about fascial release? Let me know
Knowledge around fascial tissue, its role in the body, and the best way to treat issues with it is expanding all the time. I’m proud to offer an outstanding fascial release service, and have seen firsthand the difference it can make in the people who need it most. So don’t be afraid to ask me more questions about it!
Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain that doesn’t seem to be improving, ongoing discomfort and lack of mobility, or if you’re simply looking for another way to keep your body in the utmost physical condition, my fascial release therapy can help.
For answers to all your questions about fascial release that weren’t answered here already, or to book your initial consultation today, don’t hesitate to contact me.