Myofascial release, often referred to as MFR, is a specialized stretching technique used to release tension and realign the body. The word myofascia is derived from the Latin word “myo,” meaning muscle, and “fascia,” meaning band. Fascia is tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three dimensional web, from the head to the toes. Fascia surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve and organ in the body. It helps keep the body connected together and when working properly it creates an environment in which all moving parts of the body use to move smoothly with each other.
Trauma, including deep felt emotions, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures, create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures on pain sensitive structures in the body that may not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, etc.)
A more specific example would be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and/or tendonitis of the wrist, both of which can be exasperated by unusually tight myofascial connective tissue in the forearm. I personally have had direct experience in both of the above areas. I have broken both wrists, currently have a screw in one of them, have had my left hand shredded in a pizza dough machine,(which did more damage than I care to mention here), and have spent over 27 years as a finish carpenter. I currently work 3-7 hours a day on the computer… with NO PAIN what so ever!
How do I do it, you may ask? Ibuprofen, pain medication, deep emotional denial? None of the above. I use Myofascial Release techniques and a professionally calibrated, well-balanced yoga practice, which includes the use of balls, rollers and what is called TAWS (Traction Alignment Wall System), that uses a specially designed wall in conjunction with specific props and sequenced yoga postures to create an accumulative releasing effect on the body.
What you can do now to relieve your self of pain right now?
- Lie on your stomach.
- Place your hand in a karate chop position with your palm perpendicular to the floor to start.
- Place a small ball (a tennis or lacrosse ball will work for now) just below your elbow.
- Slowly roll your arm over the ball, running in along the Unla, which is the forearm bone on the little finger side of the arm.
- Slowly move the palm of your hand parallel to the floor, so that the ball moves into the main part of your forearm muscle “wrist flexors”
- Adjust the amount of pressure according to your needs.
- Stay in the forearm area for now. Working in this area will bring relief to the hand and wrist.
- After anywhere from 2-5 minutes feel free to move gently into the hand and wrist itself.
- When you find yourself working on the hand don’t forget to work on the base of the thumb and the side of hand below the little finger.
- Feel free to explore different areas of your hand, wrist and forearms as needed.
In conclusion, Myofascial Release, a professionally calibrated yoga practice and TAWS (Traction Alignment Wall System) will relieve you of pain and enhance your life regardless of your age.
Dennis Dean has been teaching for over 31 years. He offers a variety of unique classes, including the Fusion Flow Class that emphases myofascial release techniques and TAWS. His studio, Yoga Mandiram, is located in Cardiff by the Sea. YogaMandiram.com 619.917.9642.