Have you ever tried... Myofascial Release?
It's a reasonable question
It’s never been more important to be in good shape. With personal fitness at an all-time low and obesity at an all-time high, one of the easiest ways to improve every part of your life is by following a rigorous workout regime. Sadly, strenuous exercise is often accompanied by serious injuries, pains, and other unexplained ailments that arise from poor form, overuse, or just natural wear and tear.
Fascia is soft tissue that surrounds and connects nearly every part of your body, including your muscles. When you get injured, this soft tissue constricts to support the injured muscles and allow the body to compensate for the sudden change. However, even after the underlying muscle is fully healed, the fascia can still remain taut, causing persistent pain and tension with no obvious cause. If unaddressed, it could last for years or just go on indefinitely.
This problem lasts because releasing the fascia usually involves very unnatural motions. It’s not something you can do accidentally. Further complicating matters is the fact that the network of muscles and soft tissue in your body is impossibly complex. If you feel tension in one place, the actual cause might be far away.
Throughout your body are “trigger points,” normally the intersections of muscles or fascia. Applying consistent pressure to these trigger points over the course of a few minutes causes the fascia (and the muscles beneath it) to involuntarily release, providing immediate relief from this issue. This process has been dubbed “Myofascial Release,” a term that originated in the 1960s even though the techniques associated with it have been around for much longer.
Although some techniques exist to do this with a foam roller over a large area, I’ve gotten the best results from using a pair of tennis balls. There are numerous guides online for how to do this yourself. I’ll post a few good ones below. However, I would strongly recommend seeking out a licensed massage therapist to guide you through the process the first time. Yoga studios also often offer special classes on Myofascial Release that are well worth attending.
Although it’s very difficult to injure yourself while doing this, I can’t overstate how helpful it is to have someone who has already done it offer advice up close. Just moving whatever your source of pressure is on the trigger point by a centimeter or two can make a massive difference.
I’ve been doing this myself for over a year now as part of a long recovery from an injury. Although I still have a lot to learn, here are a few tips that helped me:
Invest in a yoga mat. To release the trigger points, you’re going to need be put your bodyweight on a small round surface. There’s always a chance that the tennis ball or whatever you’re using will slide away. It also gets pretty uncomfortable to just lay on hard surfaces for a while
Set aside an extended period of time. Force releasing the trigger points takes a long time. There’s no way around it. Normally it’s around 3 minutes or so to make a real difference. I prefer to give it 5 minutes just to be sure. This is going to seem like a very long time because it’s painful, at least at first. You’ll feel a burning sensation or other discomfort. That’s how you know it’s working. If you stop early, you won’t get the full benefits. Your body has dozens of trigger points and you’ll want to hit them all once you get started
It might be a good idea to play an audiobook while you’re doing it just to make the time go by faster
Drink lots of water afterwards. Once your muscles are unimpinged, they’re taking up more space and moving around more. They need water right away, because when you’re dehydrated your muscles will start to cramp up. You could undo your progress immediately, or at least cause yourself undue discomfort, by failing to meet this need
I really hope that this helps you like it helped me. The first time I tried it I was walking around with a huge grin for an hour afterwards because it felt incredible. Pains that had been present for so long that I had stopped noticing them were suddenly gone. You can find a few Myofascial Release guide videos below, though again I recommend you see a professional or at least take a class, first. Good luck!
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