Have you heard of myofascial therapy or massage? Also known as myofascial release, it is a therapy to recover and activate the musculature. It is developed on the fascial system to eliminate the functional limitations that it may have and to influence the shape of the fascia to act on the locomotor system.
Although it requires the intervention of a physiotherapist to perform correctly, you can learn certain techniques that allow you to self-massage as part of your stretching and recovery routine after exercise. It can also be a great ally when recovering from a muscle injury along with dietary supplementation. In this case, however, always put yourself in the hands of professionals.
So that you can take advantage of all its benefits, in this article we explain what myofascial massage is and how you can apply a self-massage with the help of rollers and balls. Read on!
Before explaining what myofascial massage is, we need to know about the fascial system. Fascia is the tissue that surrounds all body structures and connects them. It is a fibrous connective tissue that lies just beneath the skin and wraps around muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, organs, and cells. It allows our muscles to move freely and reduces the friction of that movement. It provides support and shape and is therefore involved in the proper functioning of the body’s biomechanics.
We can differentiate between several types of fascia:
- Muscular: envelops the muscles, bones, and nerves.
- Visceral: the densest layer of fascia, which envelops the organs.
- Vascular: differs slightly from the others in that it is responsible for surrounding the blood vessels that carry the blood.
- Subcutaneous: this is the most superficial and is called hypodermis. It connects the deepest part of the skin to the muscles.
The myofascial system is a living, active system that plays a major role in movement and metabolism. It supports and shapes the body, but is also necessary for biomechanical functions: it is involved in the pumping of blood and lymph and assists in the production of collagen when wounds heal. As it is all related, any tension in one area can cause tension in another area further away.
Injuries to the fascial system are common and can be caused by poor postural hygiene, repetitive movements, trauma, everyday actions… Myofascial pain originates in trigger points – related to rigid areas anchored within the myofascial tissue.
During myofascial release therapy, the therapist locates stiff areas using light manual pressure. This pressure and stretching loosen restricted movement, which reduces pain.
- Reduces muscle fatigue
- Prevents injuries
- Improves flexibility and joint range
- Aids recovery after intense exercise
- Improves blood circulation and blood pressure
- Undoes knots and eliminates trigger points, thus eradicating the pain they cause.
- Releases toxins
- Promotes correct postural hygiene
To apply the myofascial massage yourself, you will need a little help, such as a foam roller or a ball. It depends on the area to be massaged, but, in general, the ball is suitable for smaller areas, while the foam roller is for larger muscle groups. Do not use it for joints or hollows (such as behind the knees, armpits, neck, and lower back).
The foam roller is made of foam and is shaped like a cylinder. Some rollers have reliefs, the more protrusions it has, the deeper the massage will be (but the more uncomfortable it is), so it is best to start with a smooth roller. This tool exerts pressure similar to that used by a physiotherapist in manual therapy.
To perform myofascial self-massage, follow these guidelines:
- Massage the muscle groups from the lower to the upper body, using firm, slow movements (not too fast, but press against the roller).
- The technique is based on pressing the roller and rotating it on the floor, resting the area to be treated on it.
- Look for comfortable positions and try out movements. These should be slow, you should apply the movements slowly, doing it fast does not imply massage.
- It is important to find the point of pain that you want to relieve with the massage. When massaging firmly, you should feel some discomfort or pain, but it should be bearable.
- Substitute with this massage the intervention of a professional. Although you can do the massage yourself, using a roller foam, for example, it is best to have a professional assess you.
- Apply massage in case of bills, fever, or illness.
- Have a massage if you are pregnant.
You can enhance the effect of this treatment with the help of the right supplementation. For example, for athletes, we recommend the Pack Sport, which includes the liquid silica supplement, magnesium, silica, and vitamin C capsules, and a concentrated silica-based gel for external application.
In addition to taking the supplements formulated with organic silica, you can use the gel to increase the effectiveness of the self-massage:
Since it is recommended to be applied 2 to 4 times a day, one of them can be before the myofascial massage. For this, a thin layer is applied and massaged in gently. The application of the cream can be used to find the trigger points, i.e. those areas where the pain is felt. For better efficacy, the area can be wrapped with plastic film. Once covered, start the self-massage.
The benefits it brings thanks to its decongestant effect are:
- Helps to relax overloaded tendons and joints.
- Improves strength, endurance, and elasticity.
- Stimulates natural collagen production.
As you can see, this type of massage can help you recover after intense exercise or if you are rehabilitating after an injury. Remember that it is always necessary to have a professional instruct and supervise the movements to correct any deviations. Once you have learned the technique, you can reproduce it at home whenever you need to.