Have you been experiencing ongoing pain and tension throughout your body? Does it feel like, no matter what you try, you can’t get true, long-lasting relief? Or perhaps physical limitations are holding you back from your best possible performance in sports and other activities?
When we feel this tension, it can be completely overwhelming at times, especially when you consider that it tends to only build up as time goes on. Thankfully, I’m here to tell you that there is a solution for pain, tension, and limited range of motion: fascial release work.
What is fascia, and why does it need to be released?
Before fascial release can be explained, it’s important to understand what fascia’s role in the body is and why releasing it is so important.
Fascia is a term for the multiple layers of connective tissue that span your entire body; it’s the link that supports and attaches your skin, muscles, and internal organs together, ensuring everything is kept in place. Fascia can be found throughout the entire body, including around:
- All internal vital organs
- Blood vessels
- Nerve fibres
- And muscles
However, fascia isn’t only there to hold things in position. It’s a highly sensitive nerve network that, when working properly, moves and stretches to accommodate the motions of your muscle. Over time, however, areas of your fascial network that aren’t used as often can become dry, sticky, or even immobile, which leads to pain, mobility issues, tension, and more.
Because fascial tissue is so interconnected, a problem spot in one part of the body (which is called a ‘trigger point’) may create pain in a different place entirely. This is a symptom known as ‘referred pain,’ meaning the place you feel pain, discomfort, or stiffness may not be the source of the problem.
By releasing tension from the fascia in your body, I gently unlock and mobilize areas that may not be functioning correctly, from the trigger point all the way to the most painful areas. And even if you’re not experiencing pain, but rather are trying to improve flexibility and athletic performance, fascial release therapy can help.
Who can benefit from fascial release?
People normally try fascial release therapy for one of two reasons: either they’re experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of an injury or long-term inactivity, or they’re looking for proactive care to ensure their bodies are in peak condition. These are both completely valid scenarios to seek fascial release, and both cases can be helped immensely by this treatment.
There are a few physical symptoms and conditions that fascial release can help you resolve, such as:
- Chronic pain in your neck, shoulders, and/or back
- Poor flexibility in your hips and/or shoulders
- Plantar fasciitis (sharp heel pain)
- Frequent, ongoing headaches or migraines
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Scar-tissue build-up
- And more
I often treat people who complain of aching pain, deep in their muscles. Oftentimes, this pain never seems to go away without intervention. Instead, it usually only becomes worse, spreading throughout the body as the fascia attempts to protect itself by laying down scar tissue and adhering to other tissue.
In addition to recovering from injuries and other physical conditions, fascial release therapy can be a great tool for proactive care. For athletes, physical labourers, and anyone else who values being in top physical shape, this is a fantastic way to ensure your body is running smoothly.
Fascial release improves blood flow, reduces inflammation, prevents injuries and improves performance along the way. Whether you’re a dedicated athlete, more of a weekend warrior, or even if your job is taking a physical toll, everyone has something to gain from fascial release.
Some of the people who can benefit most from fascial release work are:
- New or competitive sports players (e.g. volleyball, pickleball, hockey, soccer, rugby, tennis, baseball, softball, etc.)
- High-level athletes (e.g. post-secondary or professional athletes)
- Runners, marathoners, and triathletes
- People with intensive strength-building routines (e.g. CrossFit)
- People on their feet all day for work (e.g. nurses, trades, kitchen work, waitstaff)
- People who sit all day for work (e.g. office jobs, secretaries, people working from home)
- People who have recently spent lots of time sitting (e.g. long flights or road trips)
Whether you’ve been experiencing long-term pain or are dealing with a new issue, whether you’re looking to boost athletic performance or simply trying to get your body feeling relaxed and tension-free again, fascial release can help. So what kinds of fascial release treatments do I offer at ProActive Pilates? Let’s go through them.
What types of fascial release work are there?
The Roll Model Method – Recovery
At ProActive Pilates, I frequently make use of the Roll Model Method—a soft-tissue conditioning and fitness program that helps patients recover from injuries and other physical conditions. Not only does the Roll Model Method help within sessions, but it also provides the tools you need to keep up with your regimen on your own time.
The Roll Model Method relies on tools called Tune Up Therapy and Fitness Balls. These massage therapy balls have been specially designed to gently (but effectively) heat, calm, and relax your fascial tissues. The ball’s grippy texture perfectly locks into the various layers of tissue, allowing us to decrease stress, tension, and pain.
The Roll Model Method – Precovery
For anyone looking to get a headstart on physical wellness, the Roll Model Method of fascial release therapy is an excellent option. When fascial tissues are regularly stimulated and massaged with this method, it increases the flow of blood through the body, reduces swelling, and improves flexibility and mobility across the board.
Fascial release therapy can also find and soothe knots and trigger points in the muscles before they become more serious issues. Being proactive about treating these areas will not only save you a lot of pain later on, but will also decrease your risk of injury—and can even improve athletic performance!
Help with Self-fascial Release (SFR)
We all wish it weren’t the case, but it’s true: 1 hour of treatment a week doesn’t fix the other 167 hours you spend at home and elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important for me to provide clients with the tools and knowledge they need to do self-fascial release, also known as SFR.
Myofascial tissue is tissue made up of both muscle and fascia and is often the culprit of ongoing muscle pain. When you work with me at ProActive Pilates, I always make sure you’re equipped with the things you need to continue your regimen at home, speeding up the process and keeping your body in tip-top shape.
Fascial Release FAQ (h2)
Do you still have questions about fascial tissue, fascial release, or anything else? Here are some frequently asked questions on the subject:
Q: Are these balls better than a foam roller?
A: Yes! For many, the foam roller is the preferred way to relax muscles and fascial tissue. However, the Tune Up Fitness and Therapy balls used in the Roll Model Method are even better! This is because they come in multiple different sizes, each of which is used for certain areas of the body. This lets you be more precise to try to separate tissues than with a foam roller as you work on releasing tension from certain areas.
Q: Why are Tune Up balls better than, say, a tennis or lacrosse ball?
A: Unlike tennis, golf, or lacrosse balls, which are of course designed for sports, the balls used in the Roll Model Method are specifically designed for use on myofascial tissue. They’re high-density, meaning the ball won’t compress under your weight and render the treatment useless. They also have a grippy, rubber surface texture, which is designed to lock into your tissues and precisely relax certain areas.
Q: I’ve been trying to do self-fascial release (SFR) by myself at home. Is it meant to hurt this much?
A: Short answer: probably not! Fascial release can be a bit painful at times, but it should never exceed a 6/10 on the pain scale. Not only does limiting the pain level keep you comfortable through the process, but it also prevents inflammation, which can be a setback for treatment. If you work with me, I’ll make sure you know exactly how to do SFR without it being too painful.
As you can see, there are countless reasons to give fascial release therapy a try. Whether you’re suffering from physical pain, lack of mobility, or tension, or if you’re looking for a precovery option that protects you from injury and improves your performance, the solution you’re looking for might be in your fascial tissue.
Perhaps you have physical issues stemming from casual sports or your job. Or perhaps you’re looking to beat muscle tension and pain before it pops up as a more serious issue. In either case, fascial release work can help you get back to a long-term state of relaxation, free from tension and pain, and get back to doing whatever it is you like to do.
Do you have more questions about fascial release therapy? Ready to sit down for a consultation and get started today? Don’t hesitate to contact me today.