Myofascial Release takes time. The fascial system doesn’t respond to force, ringing phones, or busy schedules. Will power will help you resist chocolate cake, but does not soften fascia.
To release fascia, the human body needs to relax both the mind and the body. Easier said than done. Most of the clients that I see have lost the ability to feel when they are relaxed. They are so accustomed to being tense and tight, that this is perceived as the normal resting state for the body. I usually spend a significant amount of time convincing them that they can drop their shoulders, unclinch their jaw. Once they do it for the first time, they began to understand the amount of tension they have trained themselves to carry around on a daily basis. All this tension pulls on the fascial system, snugging it up tighter and tighter until the symptoms begin to appear.
The fact that myofascial release takes time, sometimes a lot of time, prompted me to open a myofascial clinic outside the physical therapy world. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a myofascial therapist treating both in the physical therapy setting and in my practice in Staunton which is massage therapy based. The difference in the two settings comes down to what can be done in a single visit. In the clinic, I have a solid 45 min. of time with each client. A complete blessing by most standards! But as the patient is giving me feedback and positioning for treatment, the clock is ticking. What started as a 45 min session can easily wither to 35 min of hands on work. And studies have shown that the Eureka! moment of every session, happens approximately 30 min into treatment. (Ok. I made that up. My experience shows me this however!). Frustrated by the constant interruption of the ticking clock, I came up with another alternative.
My private clinic allows me the ability to deliver myofascial release in a manner that offers the patient quality care for a duration of time that will afford greater carryover and lasting change between sessions. The sessions are 2 hours long, affording each client a chance to discuss treatment, relax, unwind, and receive the necessary education to allow for the maximum benefit of each treatment session. And yes, the time does fly.
Patient engagement in bodywork is so critical to achieving the optimal outcomes. Patients need to understand that during bodywork sessions, they are not a passive recipient. They are an active recipient of the work. They can interpret the sensations their body is producing. In short, they are driving the direction of care. But, like all new drivers, there needs to be some time behind the wheel with a skilled instructor. That’s the role of the therapist. We help you to detect and verbalize the feedback your body is giving you that drives the course of your treatment session. It’s a valuable skill worth taking the time to learn.