Myofascial Release (MFR) Therapy is an alternative physical therapy that helps in the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain. The focus is on the release of muscular shortness and tightness. The fascia is a sheet of connective tissue that encloses muscles, covers underlying tissue, separates layers of tissue. In addition, it provides structural support for the skeletal system and soft tissues. The myofascial tissues are membranes that surround and support the muscles.
What are the benefits of Myofascial Release
The main goal of MFR therapy is to stretch and loosen the fascia. As such, allowing it to move more freely along with other contiguous structures. This will assist in restoring the patient’s range of motion. Patients who usually seek MFR therapy have lost flexibility or function after an injury or pain associated with soft tissue.
Symptoms of patients usually include:
- Tightness of the tissues
- Pain from excessive pressure on joints or muscles
- Pain from any parts of the body such as headache or back pain
MFR therapy is a safe and effective technique that involves manipulating the fascia and myofascial. Consequently, the physical and energetic constrictions can be released and open areas that might feel resistant to change.
The following are some benefits deemed to be gained from a MFR therapy session:
- Increased blood flow
- Reduced muscle soreness
- Maintained normal functional muscular strength
- Encouraged movement of the lymph
Is Myofascial Release Therapy painful?
MFR therapy uses very slow, deliberate techniques. The therapist applies moderate pressure into the area of pain and then waits for the piezoelectric response to kick in. Then, the fascia starts to shift and release. When this happens, several sensations can be felt in the area, which ranges from a tingling feeling to a fairly mild burning sensation. The clients will never feel any shooting or excruciating pain. At any point during the session, you may tell the therapist to lighten the pressure.
The mechanics of MFR will cause soreness as inflammatory response in the system. It should be remembered that soreness is a normal response of the body to change.
Myofascial Release for breast cancer patients
Our massage therapist Jenni O’Neill is uniquely qualified to provide treatment to those who have experienced breast cancer and treatment including mastectomy, lumpectomy, biopsy and reconstruction of the breast. Jenni has found that the combination of myofascial release, relaxation and lymphatic drainage can have a positive effect on a patient’s self-esteem, mobility and pain relief. The effectiveness of myofascial massage specific to the breast, chest and shoulder area with pain or discomfort helps increase mobility among patients who have undergone a mastectomy or other breast surgery.
Research on massage in people with breast cancer and other types of cancer
Studies have shown that massage seems to offer both physical and emotional benefits for women with breast cancer.
A 2003 study at the University of Minnesota compared the effects of massage healing touch (a practice in which the therapist’s hands are above or very lightly touching the body) with the caring presence of a doctor or nurse (without any touch therapies) in 230 people who had cancer. In this study, researchers found that, while both healing touch and massage lowered anxiety and pain, massage also reduced the need for pain medicine.
There is no evidence that massage can cause an existing cancer to spread.
Important things to consider before trying massage therapy
If you have breast cancer, it’s important to let your massage therapist know about your diagnosis, treatment, and any symptoms you may have. Massage can be very helpful. But it has the potential to cause harm. Keep these things in mind:
- If you’ve just had breast surgery, you should lie on your back for a massage until your doctor decides it is safe for you to lie on your stomach.
- Deep massage, or any type of massage that involves strong pressure, should NOT be used if you are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. People undergoing chemotherapy may have a decrease in red and white blood cells, so with deep massage, there is a risk of bruising. Since deep massage can be taxing to a system already vulnerable from chemotherapy and radiation, it is not recommended for people currently in treatment. Light massage can be used instead.
- If you’re currently undergoing radiation, your massage therapist should avoid touching any sensitive skin in the treatment area. Massage and massage oils can make already-irritated skin feel much worse. Your therapist should also avoid touching any temporary markings in the corners of the radiation treatment field. If you don’t have skin irritation in the treatment area, any massage to this area should be done very lightly through a soft towel or cloth.
- The massage therapist should only use very light touch on your affected arm and the area around the underarm if you have had lymph nodes removed.
- If you have arm lymphedema, the massage therapist should avoid the affected arm and underarm areas completely. Traditional massage therapy can worsen lymphedema. A massage therapist who has experience with breast cancer patients may already know this, but it’s important to make sure he or she understands.
For more information about Myofascial Release, please contact us.