I recently attended a Myofascial Release workshop which took place at the Sheffield College of Massage Training and was delivered by Linda Currie from Myofascial Release UK. This two day intensive course covered many of the techniques that can be used to restore the correct functioning of the fascia, bringing the body back into its natural balance.
The fascia is a three dimensional sheath of connective tissue that not only underlies the surface of the skin but also supports and separates all the organs, bones, nerves and tissues of the body. Fascia is made up of cells, collagen and elastin, as well as fluid comprising mainly of water and acids. The collagen provides strength and stability to guard against overextension and the elastin provides elasticity to help absorb jolts and facilitate seamless movement. Think about a runner and the movements the body is taken through and imagine how the fascia may support these efforts. Extension of the legs, shoulders and arms are all supported and enabled in a large part by free movement in the fascia, and as the foot strikes the ground the impact is absorbed by fascial tissue, protecting the joints and vital organs.
When the fascia becomes tight, damaged or dehydrated it changes the nature of the tissue and compromises its function. The impact of this can be felt throughout the whole body. The techniques we use to correct imbalances and reorganise the fascial tissue are very gentle yet very powerful. Often I will be working in one area and the client will report feeling sensation in an entirely different part of the body. This reflects the interconnected nature of the fascia and how restriction in one part affects the whole. My clients will often obtain a dramatic reduction or relief from pain and discomfort through the application of these techniques.