What is Myofascia?
Myofascia, pronounced “my o faashaa”, is the dense tough tissue that surrounds and covers all your muscles and bones. This outer covering, called fascia is very strong and very flexible. In fact is has the tensile strength of over 600kg.
Under a microscope Myofascia resembles a spider web or fish net. Another example of Myofascia would be when you remove the skin from a chicken breast, that white filmy tissue underneath the skin is Myofascia and in a living state is very strong. It is very organized and very flexible in a healthy state. It can best be described as a complete body suit which runs from the top of your head down to the bottom of your toes. It is continuous and has no beginning or end and can be found almost everywhere in your body. Like yarn in a sweater the entire body is connected to every other part of the body by the fascia. It is a continuous weave of material. And like a pull in a sweater, damage to an area of Myofascia can affect other distant areas in your body even years later.
In a normal healthy state the Myofascia is relaxed and soft. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When you experience physical trauma or inflammation the Myofascia loses is pliability. It can become tight, restricted and a source of tension throughout the rest of the body. Trauma’s, such as falls, whiplash, surgery or habitual poor posture has a cumulative effect over time.
In a healthy body Myofascia helps to maintain good posture, range of motion and flexibility. It also gives our bodies tremendous strength and helps us deal with excessive stress and injuries.
To summarize, Myofascia is like a superficial body suit, which allows us to move freely, breath properly and perform our daily tasks pain free. It spans the whole body and is totally connected as one piece of material. “It is called the tissue of movement”.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique that has been embraced throughout the fitness industry. This effective and simple to do technique delivers positive, feel good results. Foam rollers have become easily accessible, either shared at the gym or found in almost any sporting goods aisle to bring home for a minimal investment. Using the foam roller can deliver improvements in flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just minutes of application
SMR can be done with a variety of tools beyond foam rollers, such as medicine balls, handheld rollers. Foam rollers vary in density, surface structure. Whatever the tool or variation selected, SMR focuses on the neural and fascia systems in the body that can be negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, or dysfunctional movements. These mechanically stressful actions are recognized as an injury by the body, initiating a repair process called the Cumulative Injury Cycle . This cycle follows a path of inflammation, muscle spasm, and the development of soft tissue adhesions that can lead to altered neuromuscular control and muscle imbalance. The adhesions reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and can eventually cause a permanent change in the soft tissue structure, referred to as Davis’s Law. SMR focuses on alleviating these adhesions (also known as “trigger points” or “knots”) to restore optimal muscle motion and function some of the benefits are :
- Correction of muscle imbalances
- Muscle relaxation
- Improved joint range of motion
- Improved neuromuscular efficiency
- Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery
- Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
- Decreased neuromuscular hyper tonicity
- Provide optimal length-tension relationships
- Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system
When choosing a foam roller, product density is very important. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur, leading to further restriction, initiation of the inflammatory process, decreased range of motion, pain, and decreased performance.
For many, deep tissue massage is easy to understand. Ideally someone is able to work out the knots in your muscles, and it is commonly known this process may be uncomfortable and at times painful. Self-myofascial release provides the user the ability to control the healing and recovery process by applying pressure in precise locations, because only you can feel exactly what is happening.
It is always recommended to consult with your physician and receive approval before starting self-myofascial release. For most people you will be cleared immediately and your doctor will encourage the practice.
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