Myofascial Release therapy is a new treatment I’ve discovered, and the title is my little tribute to the Brady Bunch and Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!
Fascia’s been in the news recently; I’m not sure why, except that it can get us in trouble.
I forget now where I first found out we’ve got these layers and layers of stuff under our first layers of stuff, but it holds our insides together, sort of like when your coach brought out a net bag of volley balls, or tennis balls.
Hopefully, our organs aren’t all jumbled up like that, but the net metaphor is kind of apt.
Fascia is the material that keeps everything hydrated, or something. A more scientific definition is that it’s a ‘tough, connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three dimensional web from head to toe without interruption.
It surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve vessel, and organ of the body, so restrictions in the fascia due to trauma, injury, inflammation, can create a binding down of fascia resulting in crushing pressure on nerves, muscles, bones, or organs. This can create pain or malfunction throughout the body.’
No one knew about fascia until relatively recently (I think. If you’re a doctor, and are snorting coffee out your nose while you read this, you’re quite welcome to leave a comment, instead; no need to ruin your electronics), because it doesn’t show up on MRIs, or Xrays, or even when you go through an airport scanner.
‘Fascia? Fascia? May I see your fascia, please? Are you declaring any fascia today, Madame?’
Fascia is fun to say. Fascist, not so much.
Anyhoo, I learned a little about it through YouTube videos when I was searching for exercise routines. I saw people rolling around on something that looked like they worked as loggers, Styrofoam rollers.
Turns out, as we grow older (is there ANY benefit to growing older, other than the obvious?) or sustain injuries, our fascia tightens up, making us walk funny, or feel stressed, or take pain meds.
I learned just enough about fascia to know it really, really hurt when I rolled around on that Styrofoam log. In fact, I quit rolling around on that Styrofoam log.
It also really, really hurt when I got a ‘therapeutic’ sports massage. The benefits of a massage only last for a few hours, anyway.
One day my hubby brought home one of those touchy feely health magazines, the kind that are always exhorting you to get in touch with your inner spirit animal. (I’ve seen my inner spirit animal, and she just wants to poop, tear things up, and eat all the chicken in the fridge, raw. Raw. Ecchh.)
I looked through the magazine and saw an ad for Myofascial Release. I called and talked to Rowena, owner of Body Resonance in Las Vegas, and learned enough to want to give it a try.
It’s a little pricey -not economical as treatments go – making me feel it was a little dicey, but since my back surgery, chronic pain in my legs, and difficulty getting around (I’m still using a cane and rollator), I wanted to give it a try.
I’ve tried many things: Osteopathy, ART (something chiropractors do, which feels good, but doesn’t last), spinal decompression( a wonderful technique for back pain, and very gentle), chiropractor, sports massage, thai yoga massage, pain meds, Miracle Balls, Styrofoam roller, and probably a few I’ve forgotten.
My surgeon wanted me to get that pain device implant; a device with buttons you can push to stimulate nerves and bypass pain, but I balked at that. Did not like the idea of it. Other than the spinal decompression machine for immediate back pain relief, nothing relieved my stiffness and soreness for very long.
My first treatment was a surprise. Rowena is half my size, with small hands. After talking to me to find out about old injuries and sites of pain, she had me lie on a massage table. She doesn’t use oils or creams.
She’s a licensed massage therapist and a former nurse. She placed her hand in different spots, pressed and held. It’s so gentle, I thought it couldn’t possibly do anything. She pressed harder into different spots on my stomach.
My legs began to ache. She hadn’t started pressing on my right leg, but pressing into the hip and stomach of my left side was making my right leg ache. Not as much as the sports massage, but enough to make me want to bend it and move it for relief.
When she moved to my ankle, the one I’d broken twenty years ago, she just wrapped both hands around it, and held it for several minutes.
The ache in my leg started dissipating. After an hour of this, I was done, but thank goodness she didn’t stick a fork in me.
I got dressed, went home, and by the time I got there, I was noticing a difference. For three or four days afterward, I was noticing a difference in the level of stiffness, pain, and difficulty moving, bending over. I was standing better, walking without assistance, and I wasn’t feeling the stiffness.
I intend to go for at least five more treatments, and expect big results. While she worked, she told me the story of her dad. He’d poohed-poohed her study of this at first, which she’d become certified in after it did so much for her own back pain, but he came in to her business one day to see if it would help with shoulder pain he was having.
She pressed deep into his abdomen, and felt a mass. She took him to a hospital and requested a CAT scan and a gastroenterologist examination.
Turns out, he had an aortic aneurysm and had to have an immediate operation to implant a stent. He could have died at any time, had it ruptured.
She also told me her dad worked for Pan Am in New York, and that was very interesting, too. I felt an immediate kinship with him.
The stomach also has sheets of fascia, and is connected to a lot of pain throughout the body.
Yesterday, I had a second treatment, and she told me how she could feel different spots above my knees and in my calves that were tight fascia spots.
Here I was thinking how buff I was getting from my workouts, and it was just tight fascia.
At least something is tight.