Championed by John F. Barnes, PT, Myofascial Release is a very gentle technique that works primarily on the fascia.
Fascia is a densely woven connective tissue that is similar to a spiders web in appearance. It covers and encases every single muscle, organ, bone and internal structure in the body. It is not a system of separate webs but rather one giant interwoven web that connects all the different parts of our bodies. Fascia is not contractile like our muscle tissue but healthy fascia has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.
Trauma, injury and inflammation can cause the fascia to lose its pliability and restrict the movement of the structures it encases. This can strangle the muscles inside and keep them from achieving their full range of motion. The muscle can be released repeatedly but if the fascia does not allow it to elongate then pain will not go away and ROM will not improve.
Myofascial Release is a gentle sustained pressure to the fascia connective tissue that allows fascia to elongate without working on the muscles below. It is lighter work and generally done without lotion or oil. After the fascial restrictions are addressed the muscles will be able to release.