Myofascial Release & sports performance: A Game-Changing tool
Athletes take the human body to its maximum physical ability. Usually motivated by either a personal desire to become a better version of themselves or a desire to be the best in the sport, they’re always looking for ways to improve their performance. On the other side, physically pushing the body to that extent and increasing the demand exerted over it also requires extra maintenance in order to keep the tissues in optimal form.
One tool that has gained popularity in this field is Myofascial Release. This soft tissue release technique addresses the fascia, one of the connective tissues in our body.
Let’s talk a bit about the fascia, it will help clarifying why Myofascial Release is such a powerful tool.
What is the fascia
The fascia is a connective tissue in our body that surrounds and supports our muscles, bones, and organs.
Far from being only found superficially around the muscles the fascial tissue is a complex spider web-like structure that goes down to the cellular level, providing stability and structure to the body.
Fascia organises itself in what we call Myofascial Lines. Tom Myers explored the fascia in the dissection room; instead of cutting through it and separate the individual muscles (like we had been accustomed of doing in anatomical studies of the musculoskeletal system), Myers followed the fascia on its way and came up with 12 myofascial lines or meridians.
Even though the whole fascia is interconnected, each myofascial line joins a series of individual muscles in an even more interconnected way, into functional chains – each with a defined anatomy and role in human posture and movement.
The fascia allows the transmission of forces generated by our muscles through the whole system allowing the muscles to work together as a unit rather than separate individual entities. The myofascial lines follow this principle even harder. This means that keeping this lines free from restrictions is key for optimal performance.
Dysfunction anywhere along the myofascial line will directly affect the balance of the whole line and the balance of the whole body. Imbalances in the fascia can lead to pain, postural imbalances and postural patterns, restricted movement, increased wear and tear and eventually injury. Athletes, like anyone else, are not exempt to experience imbalances on their fascial system.
Myofascial release focuses on releasing these structures and restoring balance, allowing the body to move from a more neutral position and setting a functional foundation for optimal performance.
As we already mentioned Myofascial restrictions can cause pain and can happen as a result of overuse, diet and hydration, stress, injury, scaring… etc Myofascial release is effective in releasing these restrictions.
Due to all of the above Myofascial release can have a significant impact on sports performance and conditioning as well as in injury rehabilitation and the treatment of musculoskeletal pain.
What are the benefits of receiving Myofascial release treatment
Here is a breakdown of the benefits of receiving regular Myofascial Release treatment:
Improved Range of Motion
When the fascia is restricted or shortened it can limit range of motion and therefore performance. Restrictions that build up around the joint can greatly limit the mobility and functionality of that particular joint and also the neighbouring structures in a domino-like effect. Myofascial release helps free up restrictions along the myofascial lines and around the joints allowing freer movement and allowing the athlete to take the joint to the end range. The importance of freer range of motion is usually overlooked by athletes.
Intense training and competition can lead to fatigued tissue, musculoskeletal pain and increased risk of injury. Higher demand means higher maintenance. Myofascial release helps speed up the recovery process by releasing the tissue and reducing inflammation. It provides the athlete with a great tool to avoid time away from training.
Reduced Risk of Injury
When the fascia is tight and restricted, it can increase risk of injury. By releasing this tension, we can help prevent injuries before they occur. This is especially important for athletes who are pushing their bodies to the limit and need to stay healthy in order to perform at their best.
Finally, Myofascial Release can have a direct impact on sports performance. By releasing tension in the fascia, we can improve overall muscle function, leading to better strength, power, and endurance. This can help to performing at a higher level and achieving goals on the field or in the gym.
In conclusion, myofascial release is a game-changing tool for improving sports performance. By improving range of motion, speeding up recovery, reducing the risk of injury, and improving overall performance, it can help athletes to stay ahead of the competition and achieve their goals. If you’re looking for a way to take your training to the next level, consider incorporating Myofascial Release into your routine, you’ll wish you’d done it earlier.
About the author
MA in Nursing, Dip. Soft Tissue Therapy
Ro initially began her career as a nurse. Following this and after a difficult time in her life that resulted in a career change, Ro went on to train at one of the leading soft tissue therapy schools in Europe, completing a 3 year degree level course and specialising in effective soft tissue manipulation for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain.
The treatment method Ro uses consists of a combined approach using different specialised techniques, myofascial release and trigger point work among others, with the intention and focus on providing effective results in the least possible amount of time.
Combining her training, science background and life experience, her treatment method is based in science and built using a whole body approach, where mind and body are addressed as one.
Ro has been seeing clients as a soft tissue therapist for 8 years, successfully treating a wide range of conditions.