Awesome busy week and hence my weekly post is presented to you Thursday rather than last Sunday… with love… with loads to share…
As you are aware from the “Body Shot & Personal Trainer Feedback” post of last Sunday – I am experiencing healthy lean muscle growth and all is on track being now at the end of Week 2/4 of Phase 3 – LEAN MUSCLE GROWTH of the “Power Foods Diet” Lifestyle!
We have covered so many topics and shared new concepts and another core component of the “Power Foods Diet” is Myofascial Release.
Myofascial Release for me is what drew me to this career in Rehabilitation and Functional Training and recently creating our nutrition framework “Power Foods Diet.” Having severely torn my ITB, 5 years ago, I underwent an intensive rehabilitation program of acupuncture, Myofascial Release, aqua exercise therapy, pilates and yoga to learn to walk again… “The rest is history” as they say – I am now doing all that I was prior to the injury and learnt to surf 15 months ago and now embarking on athletics style training preparing for a fitness competition in early 2014…
Myofascial Release is a very effective hands-on therapy that has been used successfully for over a hundred years to treat difficult and recurring injuries and pain and is integral to optimum cellular and fitness health
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.
Under a microscope Myofascia resembles a spider web or fish net. It is very organized and very flexible in a healthy state. For me to best understand Myofascia is to visualise 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. Then feel the body suit – 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 effect other distant areas in your body even years later – I say to my clients this is your “backlog” of release that we need to move into and heal to free then strengthen.
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.
In the normal healthy state the Myofascia is relaxed, soft and has the ability to stretch and move without restriction! When you experience physical trauma or inflammation the Myofascia loses is pliability and stiffens! It can become tight*, restricted and a source of tension throughout the rest of the body. Trauma – such as a fall, whiplash, surgery or habitual poor posture has a cumulative effect over time.
To summarise: Myofascia is like a superficial body suit, which allows us to move freely, breath properly and perform our daily tasks pain free and with ease. It spans the whole body and is totally connected as one piece of material and referred to as “the tissue of movement”.
*When Myofascia is damaged or traumatised it can become too tight and cause a number of problems such as:
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Chronic back, hip, knee and neck pain
- Recurring injuries
- Breathing difficulties
- Sensations such as numbness, pins and needles and loss of movement
- Poor posture and reduced flexibility
Typical causes for this once flexible tissue – Myofascia – to become too tight are:
- Over-used muscles** from repetitive motions, such as sports, factory work or keyboarding
Over-used and other soft tissues change in three important ways:
1. Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
2. Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
3. Not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
- Traumas, such as a fall, car accident or recreational
- Work injuries
- Poor posture
- Lack of stretching such as prolonged sitting or standing
- Emotional/psychological stress
Treatment that can effectively treat this tough, tight fascial tissue making it more relaxed, pliable and soft is an art and involves a deep understanding of the anatomy. For me it is a passion knowing personally its healing properties when applied to severe tears, intense rehabilitation and necessity in progressing functional training.
Myofascial Release is an effective hands-on therapy as well as making use of what my clients call “torture tools” which can directly change and improve health of the fascia. The purpose of Myofascial Release is to break down scar tissue, relax the muscle and myofascia and restore good posture.
Myofascial Release techniques focus on relaxing the deep tissue of the body providing lasting and effective relief to the client. The pressure can range from very gentle touch to deeper pressure and this will vary from client to client as the pressure from Myofascial Release therapy should never be beyond the client’s tolerance. As a client it is important to give feedback to your practitioner during the treatment.
Some clients may experience a slight skin burning sensation in the skin, which is perfectly normal and safe. Others may feel a gentle to deep stretch on the area being treated or a pull in a related muscle group.
At our studio – “Be Fit Hub” – Myofascial Release treatments can last from 15 minutes as part of a Functional Training session or up to 45 minutes when booked as an intensive treatment plan. Note: this is advanced work and needs to be completed by a qualified professional educated in this area.
To ensure we offer our clients a balanced approach to cellular and fitness health we ensure all our clients experience Myofascial Release in the final stages of each of their Functional Training sessions.
Particularly for our sports and competition level clientage, Myofascial Release supports their athlete training regime in a number of ways:
- It helps maintain suppleness in soft tissues to minimize tears and strains during training.
- It helps tissues rebound after intense events by encouraging good circulation and resolving muscle cramps and spasms.
- It helps clients manage the emotional and psychological strain of intensive training.
And for our athlete level clients – Myofascial Release incorporates kneading techniques, percussive techniques, compression, and active and passive stretching to ready tissues for use or help them recover from strain.
As I described earlier this work can sometimes feel intense, but it should never be painful and is a very beneficial part of an athlete level training and maintenance routine – as I will also embody for the next 12 months leading up to my fitness competition to be announced very soon.
At Be Fit Hub we run “Foam Roller” classes that are a prerequisite for our “Power Foods Diet” clients to ensure recovery from their essential personal Functional Training sessions x 2 as well as Tabata Class x 1 each week.
In summary, Myofascial Release technique is applied directly on the body and uses slow and sometimes deep pressure to restore the proper health of the fascia.
The benefits of using Myofascial Release therapy includes:
- Minimising Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
- Reduction in muscle spasms
- Improved joint movement
- Decreased muscle and fascial tension
- Improved breathing
- Reduction in chronic recurring injuries
Myofascial Release is used to improve the health of the muscles and fascia, improve circulation and restore good posture.
Myofascial Realease specifically addresses problems associated with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly with Myofascial Release. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.
What I do want to leave you with is my latest HIIT session from last Saturday night – a brilliant way to detox the stress from the week and give yourself some “ME”, “I AM WORTH IT” time… That is a topic for another post…
I so need to refine my counting skills as did 100 x Mountain Climbers in my 3rd of the 5 sets – wondering why my arms felt a tad weak and 5 sets of Rows rather than 4 sets…
Then at the end of George’s program “JUST BECAUSE I CAN” I added my abdominal sequence: Ab Curls x 16, Reverse Curls x 16 and Ab Touches legs long x 16 x 5 sets.
Stay Beautiful, Stay Real! xx