Myofascial Release  Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue may be affected as well, including other connective tissue.[2] As in most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. In this way, the cycle creates a positive feedback loop and can result in ischemia and somatic dysfunction even in the absence of the original offending agent. Myofascial techniques aim to break this cycle through a variety of methods acting on multiple stages of the cycle.[2] In medical literature, the term myofascial was historically used by Janet G. Travell, M.D. in the 1940s referring to musculoskeletal pain syndromes and trigger points. In 1976 Dr. Travell began using the term "Myofascial Trigger Point" and in 1983 published the reference "Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual".[3] There is no evidence she actually used what is now termed "myofascial release". Some practitioners use the term "Myofascial Therapy" or "Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy" referring to the treatment of trigger points, usually in medical-clinical sense. The phrase has also been loosely used for different manual therapy techniques, including soft tissue manipulation work such as connective tissue massage, soft tissue mobilization, foam rolling, structural integration, and strain-counterstrain techniques. However, in current medical terminology, myofascial release refers mainly to the soft tissue manipulation techniques described below. Myofascial techniques generally fall under the two main categories of passive (patient stays completely relaxed) or active (patient provides resistance as necessary), with direct and indirect techniques used in each. -   © John Golden, LMT All rights reserved.