Updated: Oct 27
Hands do heal and when it comes to their role in releasing the fascia (the fascinating, intricate, web of wonder) they are the tool facilitating its release. Behind every educated hand, however, there must lie an intention; massage void of intention rarely yields a favorable outcome. In addition to my hands, I often promote the use of a unique wand, as I call it, that has the potential to work wonders on all bodies. It is the tool you have once purchased but never picked up: the foam roller. In this time of CoViD, where my hands are not able to reach you, encouraging you to reach for your foam roller is my sole intention now as it will give you that myofascial massage you have long been craving.
A restriction in our fascia, the connective tissue, is responsible for many of our aches and pains, especially those rooted in poor posture, and physical and emotional trauma. The reason for this is that some memories are stored in our fascia at a subconscious level and this causes the fascia to adhere to, rather than glide over, the muscle beneath it resulting in limited range of motion and pain. What we can't easily put into words, as it relates to pain of unclear origins, often unravels on it's own with the release of the fascia. This process can be extremely cathartic with the help of a skilled myofascial therapist but until then, you can take matters into your own hands by simply rolling out. As a first time roller, it could be extremely painful but the more you use it, the pain will eventually fade and the benefits will soon be felt.
POINTS TO PONDER
Myofascial trigger points are those areas where the fascial web gathers and forms a taut knot which, over time, can become ischemic (deprived of blood flow) presenting as hypersensitivity to the touch. Compression of these points, trigger point release, is the technique that promotes blood to nourish the area and aids in releasing the knot. When on the floor, the roller coupled with the weight of the body, supplies the compression and the hands aid in leverage. Whether on the table or on the roller, the breath plays a critical role in predicting the effectiveness of the myofascial release. When directing clients to take a deep breath during a MFR session, I instinctively sync up my breath with theirs allowing us to flow into it together which enables me to sink into the tissue a bit deeper. With every [deep] breath taken, we are calming our nervous system and promoting nutrient-rich blood to circulate to areas that need it most. By holding your breath you are essentially holding onto your pain and preventing the oxygen from reaching the area you are working on.
So, the next time you drop to roll, set an intention on what you want to achieve and envision the pain flowing out of your body as you roll out your body. Let the wand-erful roller work it's myofascial magic on you until I have the opportunity to lay my hands on you (again).
DON'T ROLL CONTINUOUSLY; static compression and letting your body/extremity/spine fold over/sink into the roller is just as effective and can also be a good time to meditate.
DO LISTEN to your body as there is such thing as too much rolling; good pain equates to pain that fades with the flow of your breath.
DON'T BE AFRAID to feel the burn as it's often a symptom of the fascia effectively releasing.
DO HYDRATE as your soft tissue is like a sponge; to function properly it needs to have water.
DON'T FORGET B- R- E- A- T- H- E
"The soul of man, with all the streams of pure living water, seems to dwell in the fascia of his body."
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still ~ America's Original Fascia Doctor