What is Deep Myofascial Release Treatment?
Myofascial release treatment is one of the classic treatment options in osteopathic medicine, encompassing a range of different approaches. Deep myofascial release treatment (dMRT) is an intense method of treating soft tissue dysfunction, for sustainable results.
The primary goals of deep myofascial release treatment are to:
- lead muscles out of dysfunction and increase the efficiency of
- stretch restricted fascia and re-establish normal joint range of motion;
- regain normal neuromuscular function.
In other words, the object of dMRT is to restore the muscles and joints to their normal strength, capacity and range of movement.
The dMRT technique involves the use of high pressure and long levers on the extremities to apply tension to the treated tissues. The treatments can be quite intense and are often painful, but such force is necessary to break through chronic tissue dysfunction. Most patients agree that the powerful and lasting results are well worth the temporary discomfort!
One of the characteristics that sets dMRT apart, compared to other osteopathic techniques, is that it combines diagnosis with treatment. Usually, these are carried out as two independent procedures, but in myofascial release the specific treatment can be continuously adapted according to the practitioner’s ongoing examination of the muscles. This makes for a uniquely subtle, specialized and targeted approach.
What is the Fascia?
The fascia is a connective tissue structure that surrounds muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves. It is this three dimensional web that holds all parts of the body in connection, and fascia therefore plays a crucial role in the treatment of complex musculoskeletal problems. The fascial tissues are full of blood vessels, nerves, receptors and even contractile elements (that allow the fascia to contract).
Aside from acting as soft connecting tissue, it is only over the past few years that we have come to understand more about the function of the fascia. Recent research suggests that the fascia plays an important role in muscle coordination on a local basis, as well as the regulation of muscle tension. Treatment of the fascial structures has a long history and can be used to effectively influence joint and muscle function. Indeed, deep myofascial release treatment is one of the most powerful techniques for influencing muscles by manipulating the fascia.
What Does a Deep Myofascial Release Treatment Look Like?
This video shows a deep myofascial release treatment of the left shoulder. A major release can be observed at the end of the video.
Deep myofascial release treatment brings about changes in the myofascial system by stretching and mobilizing adhesive and shortened (i.e. restricted) fascia, and manipulating muscles. Practitioners use their hands and fingers, knuckles and elbows or other tools to precisely stretch the fascia and release muscles. This is a versatile and effective approach for anything from a localized pain to a complex head-to-toe treatment. The way in which a therapist uses dMRT primarily depends on his or her personal skills. Deep myofascial release is an extremely demanding and specialist technique, and outstanding clinical results will only be achieved by therapists with a great deal of experience in the field.
A treatment that aims to achieve both fast and sustainable results is usually very complex, and involves multiple areas of the body. The treatment time can vary between 30 minutes and an hour, or even longer. Every body is different: the number of repeat treatments will depend on the complexity of the problem, as well as other individual factors. Dancers who receive regular dMRT tend to show quicker therapeutic results when they experience acute problems.
Preventive treatments are recommended for all professional dancers. Moreover, dMRT offers the invaluable opportunity to specifically prepare the body for particular tasks, demands or movements, in terms of enhancing the performance of the relevant joints and muscles, and strengthening these areas in order to prevent injury.