What is Myofascial Release and How Does it Work?

What is Myofascial Release and How Does it Work?

The History of Myofascial Release

Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique. It releases tension and tightness in the fascia. When fascia becomes tight, it can cause various symptoms including pain, limited range of motion and stiffness. Myofascial release is designed to alleviate these symptoms by stretching and manipulating the fascia.

The concept of myofascial release dates back to the early 20th century. In the 1920s, osteopath Dr. William Sutherland proposed the idea that the bones of the skull were movable and could be manipulated to improve health. He believed that this system of movement, called craniosacral therapy, could release tension and improve circulation in the body. Sutherland also believed that fascia played an important role in the body’s movement and health.

In the 1960s, Dr. Ida Rolf developed structural integration, a system of bodywork that focused on the myofascial system. Rolf believed that fascia not only supported the body but was also a highway for vital energy and emotions. She developed a system of deep tissue massage and movement therapy designed to release the fascia and restore balance to the body.

Over the years, many other therapists and practitioners have added to the body of knowledge surrounding myofascial release. Techniques such as trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, and foam rolling all work to release tension in the fascia.

Today, myofascial release is used by physical therapists, massage therapists, and other bodywork practitioners. It is often used to relieve chronic pain, improve range of motion, and alleviate the symptoms of various health conditions.

What is Used During a Myofascial Release Session?

During an MFR session, a therapist applies gentle pressure to certain points on the body to release tension in the fascia. This can be done manually or with the use of tools like Gua Sha tools, foam rollers, tennis balls, or massage balls. The therapist may also use stretching techniques to help elongate the fascia.

Does Myofascial Release Hurt?

The pressure applied during MFR can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful, more bittersweet! Many people find MFR to be a relaxing and effective way to relieve chronic pain and improve mobility. It is often used to treat conditions like back pain, neck pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia.

How does Myofascial Release Work?

One theory behind the effectiveness of MFR is that it helps improve the flow of fluids in the fascial system. This can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. It may also help improve the health of the fascia itself, which can become less elastic over time.

What are the Benefits of Myofascial Release?

In addition to its physical benefits, MFR can also have a positive effect on mental and emotional health. Many people find it to be a calming and meditative experience, and it can help reduce stress and anxiety.

How do I try MFR?

If you are interested in trying myofascial release therapy, it is important to seek out a trained and licensed therapist. They can help assess your individual needs and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to you.


Myofascial release has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. From the ideas of Dr. William Sutherland and Dr. Ida Rolf to the modern techniques used today, this approach to healing has helped many people find relief from pain and improve their overall health and well-being.

Myofascial release therapy can be a helpful tool for relieving pain and improving mobility. With its hands-on approach and potential for both physical and emotional benefits, MFR is a popular treatment option for many people.

About the Author

Nathan Carter has been a highly qualified health and fitness professional for the past twenty years. Educated at the University of Bath, Nathan has been on a path of professional and personal development ever since, helping thousands of clients to achieve their health and wellness goals. He has hundreds of published articles in both printed and online media.


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