Brynwood Myofascial Therapy understands that when you’re in pain, waiting isn’t an option. We provide immediate appointments based around your busy schedule.
Ongoing stretching exercises that you can do at home will be provided as part of your treatment program. Clients will be expected to perform the assigned exercises to help facilitate their ongoing therapy.
What is Myofascial Stretching?
Myofascial stretching is a form of stretching that addresses the shortening of the elasto-collagenous complex in order to release a fascial restriction. Myofascial stretching is different from traditional stretching in that it affects all parts of the elasto-collagenous complex, not just the elastin or muscular component. This allows for a more permanent release and also helps rehydrate the ground substance.
Below are the main principles of myofascial stretching and should be followed when performing any of the stretches.
- The stretches are held for a minimum of 90-120 seconds and often for 3-5 minutes. This gives the time needed for the restriction to release.
- Rather than forcing into the area of tightness, the stretch is brought to the barrier (or end of available motion) and then the person elongates. This engages the fascia but does not elicit the body’s natural defense mechanism which would resist the stretch and potentially cause injury. In other words don’t force it!
- The person remains aware of their body and present in their body during the stretch and often uses their breathing to soften into the area of tightness. This allows the person to feel and respond to the subtle changes in the tissue and makes the stretch more effective.
- Be aware of any sensations, thoughts or emotions that come up while stretching. Allow yourself to express any emotions or to bring up any sounds if it feels appropriate.
- As you stretch an area of your body, imagine that the area being worked on is a piece of cold cheese placed on a hot hamburger patty or a piece of cold butter placed in a hot frying pan. Allow the area to soften more and more, just as the cheese or butter would melt as it becomes warmer and warmer.
- As you work on an area of your body, imagine either the sensation of the stretch slowly reaching deeper and deeper into your body, like water slowly soaking into a sponge.
- Being able to soften is necessary in order to achieve a release of the fascia. If you are having difficulty softening due to pain, direct your focus underneath the pain. There, you will often find some tightness. If you then focus on softening the tightness, you will notice that the pain subsides as the fascial restriction releases. With practice you can learn to soften and achieve deeper and more permanent releases of your fascial restrictions.
Myofascial stretching can be done at any time of the day. So pick a time that agrees with your schedule and your body. If you are very achy later in the day, do some stretching in the morning. If you are not an early riser and work during the day, perhaps an evening routine would work best for you.
With myofascial stretching, quality is more important than quantity. You will achieve greater results doing 3 or 4 stretches and holding them for a longer time in order to get several releases than you will by doing ten stretches and only getting partial releases.
It is recommended that you stretch on a regular basis. Daily is ideal, but several times per week is effective, too. Plan on integrating these stretches into your normal health care routine. We need to do myofascial stretching regularly to keep our bodies healthy, just like we need to brush our teeth every day and on an on-going basis.
Some Myofascial Stretching techniques may not be appropriate for people with the following conditions:
- Acute Disc Problem
- Acute Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Advanced Diabetes
- Anticoagulant Therapy Treatment
- Healing Fracture
- Joint Instability
- Open Wound
- Spondylolisthesis and Spinal Stenosis
- Systemic or Localized Infection
Some of the most common conditions for which Myofascial Stretching is appropriate are:
- Auto Injuries
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Elbow, Wrist and Hand Pain
- Hip Pain
- Jaw Pain, TMJ Dysfunction
- Knee, Ankle and Foot Pain
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Neck Pain
- Plantar Fascitis
- Restriction in Motion
- Scarring and Adhesions
- Shoulder Pain
- Sports Injuries
- Stress and Tension Related Problems
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Women’s Health Issues