After all the day-to-day stresses that are placed on an athlete’s body, whether in their sport or at the gym, myofascial release can be extremely beneficial.
It’s a great way to reduce muscle tension, stiffness, and soreness. It also presents a whole host of other benefits we’ll get into later in this article.
First, what is myofascia?
Myofascia is the connective tissue that surrounds and connects all muscles. Think the white parts of an orange. The myofascial system is thought to be responsible for facilitating the mobility, cellular circulation, and elasticity of muscle tissues.
This structure is extremely important for an athlete’s biomechanics; it’s what allows the body to work in tension and compression.
Without the myofascia, there is no tensegrity. (Tensegrity will be covered in another article, but the gist is that all muscles are in direct relation to each other through movement.)
So, even though the ankle and shoulder aren’t directly connected to each other, they do have a relationship. This is maintained through the fascial slings that connect every part of the body through a complicated web-like structure, or as stated above, the white part beneath the peel of an orange.
So, understanding that the myofascia can contract in response to injury, postural stress, or inactivity, it’s important to keep it in the best shape possible.
The “release,” in simple terms, is a form of massage focusing on the connective tissue between two muscles. Constant but gentle pressure on the soft tissue through manual manipulation can release restricted tension and restore blood flow elevating any stiffness an athlete might have pre- or post-competition.
Myofascial release can benefit an athlete/active person in many ways, including the following:
- Reduced muscle tension, stiffness, and soreness.
- Increased range of motion.
- Improved recovery time and athletic performance.
- Improved muscle tone, flexibility, and elasticity.
- Stabilized cortisol levels.
- Reduced anxiety and stress.
- Lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
- Enhanced blood flow throughout the body.
- Overall connective tissue healing.
Myofascial release is something that top athletes across the world have added to their daily pre- and post-workout routine to help relieve the day-to-day stresses on their body, and it can help relax and soothe the mind as well.