Massage: The Best Tool for Myofascial Release

To conclude the series on myofascial release, I’ve decided to save the best for last. Massage is the only myofascial release tool that delivers complete myofascial release. The series started with “Myofascial Release 101.” Previously, I thought foam rollers, tennis balls, and lacrosse balls would all provide myofascial release.

Through research, I discovered that in order to get full myofascial release, among other things, your skin needs to be able to slide over your muscles. Therefore, any tool that would provide myofascial release would have to have enough grip to be able to move your skin. I tried a special grippy ball called The Orb but found that it didn’t have quite enough grip to be able to provide a complete myofascial release.

Not many physical tools can provide grip as good as a human hand. Massage is the best tool for complete myofascial release. However, not all massages provide myofascial release.

Massage therapists can study myofascial release as part of their continuing education, but many do not come out of school already knowing how to do this technique. If you are looking for myofascial release, please talk to your massage therapist.

Types of Massage

There are many styles of massage therapy, and myofascial release is one. Some other kinds of massages are:

  • Deep tissue
  • Hot stone
  • Lymph drainage
  • Neuromuscular
  • Prenatal
  • Sports
  • Thai
  • Therapeutic
  • Trigger point

Whatever type of massage you’re seeking, please be sure that your massage therapist has had the appropriate training in that field. Some types of massage can be taught in a weekend and others are in-depth courses that take quite a while to complete.

Also, make sure to communicate with your masseuse throughout your massage to guarantee that you have the best experience. They are trained to be able to control their pressure, so if something feels too light or too hard, speak up.

 

Find a Masseuse

With so much information on the internet, I suggest that you Google be your first resource. Search the type of massage that you want to have with the city. For example, you would type “Thai massage in Cincinnati” to find someone who could provide this service for you. No matter what you’re looking for and where, Google will have a long list of information for you to browse.

Sometimes, Google’s information can be overwhelming. My next source for referrals is to ask friends who are massage therapists. If they don’t provide the service themselves, they might know someone who does. As with any professional field, massage therapists tend to have an awareness of who offers which services in their area.

Another option is to ask around on Facebook. If you have local friends who are active, Facebook can be a wealth of referrals. Tag people who you think might have suggestions so that they have a better chance of seeing your post.

 

Benefits of Massage

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage may be helpful for:

massage

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Massage can also help you relax and learn to release muscle tension on your own. During the massage, the masseuse will push toxins from your muscles and allow them to rehydrate, so your muscles and soft tissue become healthier. Some massage therapists will also remind you to breathe. Breathing increases oxygenation, relaxation, and circulation.

No matter what your reason is for getting a massage, you will want to drink plenty of water afterward to flush the released toxins from your body.

When to Not Get a Massage

Massages are wonderful and very helpful to maintain wellness. However, there are times where getting a massage is inappropriate. If you’re ever wondering whether you should come in or cancel, call your therapist. Here are some reason why you might want to cancel and reschedule:

  • You have a cold or the flu.
  • There are open sores on your body.
  • You have a virus.
  • Recently, you started taking antibiotics.

Get a Massage!

In addition to being the only tool able to provide a complete myofascial release, massages are wonderful for overall health and wellness. Great massages help us recover from injury, release tight muscles, reduce pain and headaches, and flush toxins from our body. If you have never had a massage before, I would highly recommend that you try it and see if you notice a difference in how your body feels afterwards.

What do you think makes a ‘great’ massage? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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