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Discover 5 Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release


How Does It Work?

Myofascial release is a manual soft tissue technique used by therapists and clinicians to release tension within the muscle tissue. It specifically targets the fascia, tendons, and muscles, and is achieved by a combination of applying low pressure with a dragging force for a long duration (typically between 30 seconds and a few minutes). Over time, mechanisms in the cellular level of the muscle tissue will “release,” allowing the fibers to glide over each other better, increasing mobility.

Fascia is the netlike connective tissue that runs throughout muscle fibers and envelopes all the muscles in the body. Tendons are the tough, rubber band-like connective tissue that anchor muscles in place at the joints.

Myofascial release is believed to have benefits for the central nervous system by stimulating the brain’s ability to communicate with the muscles by sending signals more effectively to physically move the body.

Better communication between the brain and muscles translates to the body’s ability to have more effective and fluid movement. Self-myofascial release (SMR), allows someone to achieve these benefits in the form of self-massage at their convenience. There are a variety of tools used for SMR, the most common being foam rollers, massage sticks, and trigger point balls.

Here are 5 benefits of Self Myofascial Release:

1. Speeds Up Recovery

The release of tension with SMR loosens tight, achy muscles after workouts. A deep tissue roller has similar benefits to a sports massage, especially with consistency. These include reducing exercise-induced inflammation within muscle tissue, improving flexibility, and reducing joint stress.

SMR also helps eliminate lactic acid, which leads to muscle soreness and reduces scar tissue. Consistent rolling can help break up scars and adhesions (knots) within the muscle tissue and reduce related negative effects like discomfort with movement and muscle imbalances.

Promoting healthy circulation is another SMR benefit that accelerates recovery. Good circulation or blood flow into the muscles enhances recovery by enabling nutrient-filled blood to reach muscles that need attention from the body’s natural healing process.

2. Reduces Risk for Injury

Pre-workout SMR helps muscles prepare for the load of training by increasing blood flow to warm up the muscles. SMR also improves mobility by releasing tension within muscles and the tension that can pull across joints. This release of tension makes more muscle fiber available to be recruited by the body for movement and will help increase mobility and range of motion. Having better moving joints will reduce the risk of muscle strain and joint injury due to lack of range of motion.

3. Increases Athletic Performance & Flexibility

Athletes can experience almost immediate performance gains with SMR. Performing SMR immediately before a workout will loosen muscle tissue and increase its pliability. This allows muscle fibers to stretch and contract more efficiently. Keeping muscles and fascia pliable promotes good mobility in joints, flexibility within muscles, and increases range of motion for movement.

Greater range of motion at a joint while exercising means more available muscle fiber the body can recruit for a given exercise. Better muscle fiber recruitment will lead to more effective and productive muscle actions and explosive power during workouts or athletic movements.

4. Decreases Stress

There’s no doubt that we live in a busy and stressed culture. Stress can manifest in your body in a variety of ways, including tension and soreness within the muscle tissue. Releasing tension within muscle fibers with regular SMR can lead to the reduction in mental stress.

SMR can increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which are important neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters carry chemical “messages” from the brain to the muscles to cue muscle movement and send information throughout the body.

Dopamine encourages wakefulness and is responsible for feelings of pleasure. In the brain, serotonin influences mood by promoting feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin can also help with a more restful sleep.

Because SMR also stimulates the brain’s ability to communicate, the body will be more responsive to an increase in serotonin and dopamine. The result often translates into better sleep, a mood boost, and feelings of reduced stress.

5. Supports Chiropractic

The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to improve mobility in the spine and joints.
Mobility of a joint depends on the available muscle fibers moving across that joint to stretch and contract efficiently.

Because SMR increases the pliability of muscle fibers and loosens overall muscle tension, the length and tension relationships in muscles responsible for moving joints are better balanced. Creating balance within muscle pairs working together to move the body will drastically reduce pain and discomfort that result from muscles pulling tight across a joint. Looser muscles will help maintain the benefits of your chiropractic adjustment longer.

Book an Appointment

Interested in learning SMR and how it can help you? Contact Denton Sports Chiropractic today to book an appointment!

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