Myofascial Release Therapy
We can divide physical therapy approaches of all kinds into 2 broad categories - Direct or Indirect techniques.
A direct approach simply put is - if something doesn't move then use some force to move it! With an indirect approach it is the opposite - take the tension out of the system and use less force. Both approaches are valid, although I commonly use indirect approaches from experience as I find it works better.
Rather like an argument between people - if we push we meet resistance. If we are able to bring people together we can take the tension out of the situation and things let go - its less traumatic.
Most of the time practitioners use direct techniques through using a foam roller, or stretch and tension based hands-on myofascial release. I am trained in that and use this approach sometimes. Most of the time however, I favour light touch myofascial therapy.
What is light touch myofascial therapy?
As the name implies - very light touch - is incredibly light! Yet you will feel the body tensions release. It will often feel like tingles, heaviness, lengthening or softening within the body.
When might I might use this approach?
When there are multiple issues, it's a great way of working with tensions throughout the whole body or large areas. Patients presenting with shoulder, back or neck pain may also complain of internal organ issues like IBS or thyroid and throat issues. The fascia is physically what is connecting the outside to the inside, so this approach is excellent when working holistically with external and internal health issues.
We are at one level - like a three dimensional web. A matrix. If you imagine lifting your arms up - your shirt or sweater may lift up at the waist. Now imagine holding the lower end of the garment and lifting your arm. There would be tension all the way up the garment and up to the shoulder and in time this may stress the garment at the shoulder. If we just try to treat the problem where it hurts perhaps we are missing the point! A patient may present with tennis elbow but the tension in the body is really around the upper back or shoulder blade - even when there is no pain in that exact area. Treating the local elbow may only afford temporary relief.
My approach in my work is always:
Getting to the roots of the problem - not just putting the fire out.
This is holistic care.