Myofascial release therapy is an extremely gentle form of massage therapy that many people with fibromyalgia have found to be effective for easing muscle pain and improving flexibility.
Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds, supports and stabilizes every muscle, bone, organ, nerve, blood vessel and cell in the body. It forms a continuous web from head to toe. To get a mental picture of fascia, think of a piece of raw chicken. Between the skin and the meat you'll find a layer of thin white tissue – that is the fascia.
The fascia is normally fluid and moves easily, but when there is an injury, the fascia constricts to protect the injured area. Usually when the injury heals, the fascia relaxes and goes back to its normal state. However, sometimes it can get bound up and create a three-dimensional pull or drag throughout the whole body. Therefore, a fascial strain in one area of the body can cause pain in multiple other areas. This often happens with a chronic pain disorder like fibromyalgia. Although the original restriction may have begun in one part of the body, the pull from that one restriction can cause connected tissues to become constricted, eventually spreading throughout the body, often resulting in muscle spasms and pain.
Myofascial Release Therapy applies very gentle sustained pressure to various parts of the body in order to release the constricted fascia so it can once again move fluidly.
This video provides a brief demonstration and discussion of how myofascial release therapy is performed.