Myofascial Stretching

Fascia has become the new craze in the fitness industry due its major role in preventing and healing injuries.  People are using rollers, lacrosse balls and manual therapy to release their fascia, but are these the safest and most effective ways to treat fascia. First, lets briefly look at what fascia is.” To put it simply, fascia is defined as the physical connection that unites all parts of the body.” You basically have one piece of fascia with many different names. Fascia is a continuous threadlike network that extends from the surface of the skin to the cells ; fascia is the link of all in the body.

Before working on fascia it is important to make sure that the tissue is hydrated. and warmed up. One of the jobs of fascia is to transport water within the tissue, so if you do body work or myofascial stretching and they are not properly hydrated, it would be like trying to stretch a piece of leather and tears can occur. Fascia has  many attachments to organs, muscles, and tissue, so it is crucial for the health of the human body and cannot be overlooked. Having too much tension within the fascia can play a negative role in digestion, heart health  and posture.  Having a complete understanding of what direction the muscle fibers go and where they attach is crucial in the benefits of fascia work.

Fascia has many different layers and needs to be able to slide freely between the layers.  PRM, which stands for primary respiratory movement, is what gives us life.   When that stops; we die. Every time we breathe we have movement within the fascia, so it is important to have everything in the body moving the way it is suppose to. Which brings us to Myofascial stretching. One of the main goals of this type of stretching is to increase the movement within the area you are stretching. Knowing the direction of the fibers, the attachments of the muscles, and creating a force in two opposing directions. This is done not by an extrinsic force, but from an intrinsic force. In other words, you as the patient are creating the force. This is done by certain positions to create tension in order to get movement of water within the fascia, which nourishes the tissue to allow more freedom and bring nutrients to the area.  Knowing the anatomy and realizing that there are many ways to stretch a muscle is crucial. The hamstrings are a good example of this. The hamstrings are made up of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, thus there are 3 different stretches for the muscle. Knowing how to perform myofascial stretching is imperative in creating healthier and better quality tissue, reducing injury and speeding up recovery.

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