Do you ever get a lasting pain or tension in your muscles that doesn’t seem to heal on its own? Have you ever tweaked one part of your body, only to find the pain showing up in a different area? More importantly, are you looking for a way to reduce or eliminate pain, increase flexibility, and feel better than ever?
All these cases have the same underlying factor: fascial release.
What is Fascia?
Before we can get into the methods of fascial release as a form of physical therapy, we need to talk about what fascia is and understand its important role in the body.
Fascial tissue is a sleeve of connective tissue that forms beneath the skin to attach, enclose, and separate muscles and organs. You can visualize it as a web-like network of connective tissue that runs throughout our bodies, surrounding and supporting our muscles, bones, organs, and other tissues.
Put another way, fascia is the system our body uses to transmit energy and force to distinct body parts. It’s the scaffolding upon which everything in the body grows, helping to keep a dynamic but stable tension—essentially keeping the body’s various parts held in place. It covers organs, ligaments, tendons, and muscles at several levels.
What are Myofascial Slings?
When the fascia is healthy, it is hydrated and able to easily slide and move through the layers of tissue in the body. Healthy fascia sits over nearly every internal part of us, meaning our bodies are deeply interconnected by this dynamic tensioning system. But when the fascial network—which is the most sensory-dense tissue in the body with more than 250 million sensory nerves—becomes tense, injured, or disused, it can become drier and less mobile, leading to pain in the surrounding areas of the body, or in a different part of the body, but along the same fascial sling.
Fascia is a bit like a spiderweb, providing structure and support while also allowing for movement and flexibility since it needs to move along with the rest of the body. Fascia is incredibly strong, resilient, and able to withstand a great deal of stress and strain. However, like any tissue in our bodies, fascia can become tight, stiff, or restricted. This can happen due to injury, poor posture, repetitive stress, or a sedentary lifestyle.
However, fascia isn’t isolated from these effects. Because it is so interconnected with major muscle groups and other key parts of the body, we lump these groups together when performing certain treatments. These groups are known as myofascial slings (sometimes called anatomy trains), which are comprised of muscle, ligaments, and of course, fascial tissue. Together, these slings allow your body to move well, transferring energy from the core of your body to your extremities.
When the fascia becomes tight, it can cause pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. It can also put pressure on nerves and other tissues, leading to further discomfort and dysfunction thanks to the interconnected nature of fascia and myofascial slings that we mentioned before. So how do you go about releasing the painful points of these complex fascial slings? That’s where fascial release rolling comes in.
What is Fascial Release Rolling?
In my fascial release practice, I make use of specially designed rubber fascial release balls. Under my direction, you’ll learn how to properly use these fascial release balls to gently but accurately roll to apply pressure to areas of the fascia that have become stiff and sticky. Over time, this method helps to release the tightness and restrictions which limit mobility and function.
The fascial release balls work on your tissues by creating a shearing force that separates the layers of fascia and encourages blood flow and lymphatic drainage throughout them. This can help reduce inflammation, flush out toxins, and promote tissue healing.
In addition, fascial release balls can help stimulate the body’s proprioceptors, the sensory receptors that give us information about our body’s position and movement. By stimulating these receptors, we can improve our body awareness and motor control, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve our overall movement patterns. This means that treating an existing fascial issue can also help reduce issues in the future.
So, why do people feel better after fascial release rolling? Let’s have a look.
How Does Fascial Release Help You Feel Better?
There are several reasons for fascial release therapy’s amazing ability to provide pain relief and restored mobility. Here are the 3 main reasons:
- Fascial release manually alleviates pain and stiffness
By reducing pressure on nerves and other tissues, and by promoting blood flow and tissue healing, fascial release rolling and the use of rubber fascia balls can help reduce inflammation and pain. This can be especially helpful for people with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis.
- Fascial release improves mobility and flexibility
By releasing tight fascia, we can restore the full range of motion to our joints and muscles. This can be helpful for people who depend on their bodies, such as athletes and dancers, but it can be just as useful for people who spend their workday seated at a desk. In general, fascial release can help anyone who wants to improve their physical performance or reduce their risk of injury.
- Fascial release can be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience
By taking time to focus on our bodies and release tension and tightness, we can reduce stress and promote relaxation. This can be especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time sitting or standing, or who have high-stress jobs.
Fascia is deeply interconnected with the sensory nervous system, which can be influenced by all kinds of stimuli. By stimulating and influencing the fascia directly, we can essentially influence our nervous system as well. This helps not only physically, since a relaxed nervous system will help decrease pain and improve mobility, but it can also have a profound effect on the mind as well.
It’s true that the initial sessions of fascial release can be more challenging, since this is when your fascial tissue is at its most tense and sensitive. Stick with it however, and you’ll soon find each session getting easier and more relaxing—plus, the immediate physical benefits will be well worth it.
Getting Started With Fascial Release Rolling
Fascial release with the help of rubber therapy balls is an extremely effective way to address ongoing pain and limited mobility caused by tension and dysfunction of the fascia. And since it’s a highly accessible, non-invasive treatment, it makes sense as an avenue of treatment for many different cases.
By helping to release tight fascia and promote tissue healing and mobility, fascial release therapy balls can help reduce pain and improve overall function. And by promoting relaxation and reducing stress, they can help improve our overall quality of life at the same time.
With proper instruction and equipment, you can learn to do fascial release rolling therapy by yourself at home. However, it’s absolutely vital that you start this process under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist. This ensures you don’t perform the exercise incorrectly, helping you to avoid injury or unnecessary discomfort. So, how do you get started with fascial release rolling?
With over 25+ years of experience in several modalities of physiotherapy, I’m here to guide and support you through your journey with fascial release rolling. I’ve developed a treatment framework that I always take the time to adapt to each and every patient, ensuring your process works for you at every step of the way.
If you have more questions about fascial tissue, fascial release rolling, why this treatment is so effective, or if you’d simply like to sit down for your initial consultation as soon as possible, don’t hesitate to get in touch.