Myofascial Release Techniques

Active Release Technique SF

Dr. Smith uses Active Release Technique in San Francisco along with other myofascial release techniques to address old and accumulated damage in the fascia.  Chronic pain is often due to these fascial adhesions.

“This is the gospel of Rolfing: when the body gets working appropriately, the forces of gravity can flow through.  Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.”

–Ida P. Rolf, Ph D.

What Tangled Webs We Weave

What is the Myofascial System?

Fascia is defined as a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.  What an uninspired string of words!

The fascial system is really the glue that holds the body together.  It is an all-encompassing system that surrounds and invests all of our tissues.  That means that a single system ties our muscles, bones, blood vessels, organs and nerves together. 

Stress produces tension in the fascia.  Stress can be physical, psychological, environmental, chemical, etc.  Tension in one area of the body can an often does influence other structures. Sometimes the relationship is indirect, far from obvious, and at a distance.

For centuries Eastern medicine has treated innumerable ailments by inserting needles into distant points.  The general idea is to open the flow of energy through channels connecting the body or “meridians.”  Western Medicine has recently “discovered” a system of connective tissue that binds and connects disparate parts of the body, aka fascia. 

It seem that we are finally all starting to be on the same page in terms of describing distant physical factors that affect our health.  

Types of Myofascial Release and their Benefits

People love to innovate and stick their names on things.  Numerous types of myofascial release techniques have emerged since the 1970’s.  They include Rolfing, Active Release Technique, Passive Release Techniques, Direct techniques, Indirect techniques, foam rolling, skin rolling etc. etc.  They all basically do the same thing.  They relieve stress and tension in the fascia.

The benefits of such work are wide and varying depending on the source.  Decreased pain and increased flexibility are the most named benefits.  Others include improved immune function, decreased anxiety, decreased fatigue, and improved circulation.

Research in this area, as in most soft tissue methods, is sparse but beginning to accumulate.  Anecdotal claims abound, but we all know what that is worth.  

Myofascial Release techniques are safe, and many who suffer from either acute or chronic pain find them effective.  Dr. Smith uses such techniques in almost every treatment and is a big proponent.