myofascial cross handed releaseThe question continuously asked by clients, family, and friends, “what is the difference with deep tissue Massage and myofascial release therapy anyway?”
Usually, I strive to describe myofascial release as a stretching and lengthening of your inner spanx-suite. As quirky as this comparison may be, most of us can relate to it. To really help shed some light on this important question, I will remind you how it feels when you do go in for a wonderful full body spa style deep tissue massage. You are desperately in need of some relief of intense pressure in your shoulders that are glued to your ear lobes. Your skilled licensed massage therapist relentlessly pounds and chisels away at the rocks in your back. And for one sweet moment…ahhhh. You feel the relief. Glorious relief!

You graciously leave the session, thanking your therapist, leaving the studio feeling somewhat altered and better in a way. However, not more than 24 hours post session, your shoulders start creeping upwards to the beloved earlobes that they refuse to leave…and once again…you feel like you need a MASSAGE!!

This is where your LMT trained in Myofascial release can really help you affect more lasting change. Here I will mention the “P” word. Everyone wants more PRESSURE in order to get “more” out of the session. I will address this in the next blog posting:
“The great misunderstanding about Pressure.” For this particular conversation, we will simply mention that myofascial pressure is graduating, subtle, effective, and eventually intense.

The great benefits os Myofascial release targets the connective tissue layer, known as Fascia. This kind of soft tissue responds to a slowly applied graduating level of pressure that allows the therapist to feel layers of the restriction in the connective tissue as they begin releasing or unwinding. When deeper more confrontational pressure is used, as with deep tissue massage techniques, it will actually bypass the fascia and dig happily into the muscle. For most people, this deep pressure equals instant gratification versus, long term relief that Myofascial release offers. Once the fascia begins to soften, and the underlying fibers become less crystallized or hardened. Allowing YOU the client GREATER ease in your movement, balance from head to toe, AND RELIEF of your deep tension patterns.

So…Myofascial release versus deep tissue massage means a slower approach to applying pressure, it feels like a sustained placement of pressure, gradually sinking into touch restricted points; intensity appears over the course of 1-2 minutes at your Myofascial release therapist holds pressure in an area. Deep tissue is more of a confrontation, direct application of immediately deeper pressure. Also, focus is more associated with drawing in blood circulation to areas that are blocked.

My question to you…what are the benefits you are seeking in your body therapy session? You do have a choice so chose wisely.

Written by

Amanda Donis, Licensed Massage Therapist, native New Yorker transplanted throughout the world. After returning from the U.S Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, she began her full time work as a therapeutic massage therapist. Her focus is women's health issues, chronic pain situations, and overall feeling good through a Myofascial release approach. Amanda is half way through nursing school at the Mt.Sinai Beth Israel school of nursing.

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