Just a massage or something more – here’s a brief introduction to myofascial release therapy.
If you haven’t heard of myofascial release therapy, then you’ve really been missing out!
Many of us have suffered from some form of pain or discomfort in the body, whether it be back pain, headaches or constipation, but in the modern worls we are told to treat the symptoms, rather than the problem itself.
Learning about fascia may be the long-term solution you’ve been looking for, and I’m not writing this because I’m paid to promote it, but because I have felt the incredible changes that my body experienced after doing just a few sessions and I would like to share it with the world!
What is fascia?
If you’ve ever cut a piece of chicken, you would have have noticed that many bits are enveloped in a white, thin layer of tissue that’s very hard to break. Our bodies have pretty much the same thing, it is also known as connective tissue and it surrounds most structures in the body, protecting them. If we didn’t have this layer, our bodies would simply fall apart without anything holding it together.
Why is fascia important?
Fascia should generally be quite soft and stretchy, however when we get stressed, or experience something traumatic, or get an injury, the soft tissue in our bodies can contract and harden. When this happens, it can create abnormal pressures on certain parts of our bodies, crushing nerves, blood and lymphatic systems and can create a lot of pain.
What does a myofascial release therapist actually do?
Fascia restrictions don’t show up on x-rays or CAT scans, so you need a specialist trained to feel it to soften it up. A therapist will use his hands or even elbows to put large amounts of pressure on affected areas of your body to release the tension.
This is not just a simple massage, I can’t even describe what it’s like, you’ll just have to try it! But I’ll tell you this, the therapist will touch you in places where you’ve never been touched before…I mean they will put your hands into your ribs and touch your stomach or go deep inside your armpits…what did you think?! 😉
Also, don’t expect him to touch your head if you have a headache, since everything in our body is connected through this tissue, it may be that fascia hardened in your lower back that then “pulled” something near your head that is causing the pain.
Does myofascial release hurt?
It’s weird and uncomfortable and some bits may be painful, but if the therapist is experienced, he will know exactly where to apply pressure for your benefit. I’ve had much more painful massages that didn’t do much good to me compared to this!
Sometimes your limbs may go numb and that’s perfectly fine, or you could even get “electric shocks” – now those are freaky, I even opened my eyes to make sure he wasn’t shocking me with a tazer, haha!
Do I need to be physically ill to do it?
No! Anyone young and old can benefit from this to keep your body in the best shape possible! Better to prevent things early on than to spend lots of money curing it later.
Who is the best myofascial release therapist in Europe?
I’ve seen several therapists and even took a teacher training about a year ago, but the one person really stood out for me. A friend of mine mentioned she was excited about flying to Spain because one of the world’s best therapists worked here, naturally I got curious and had to find out more! His name is Jelle Schaegen, he lives in Fuengirola, Spain but also does sessions in other parts of Europe, like Holland.
O’ve never experienced anything like it before, all other sessions felt like a light massage compared to this guy! He says that most myofascial release therapists are afraid of going truly DEEP, and he is not, down to the point that he has to bandage his hands in a special way because his fingernails dig back into his fingers, that’s how much pressure he puts into his patients (don’t let that scare you though, it’s fantastic!).
Jelle has been a therapist for over 30 years, has great experience fixing all sorts of problems and I’m sure if you give him a call, he could tell you how he could help you better than I can.
A typical session with Jelle lasts 2 hours, but he never leaves a job half-done, so he will work on you until he has released the part he is working on. He will focus very deeply on one or two parts of your body, instead of “digging shallow holes” all around the body so you will get a great benefit even after just one session.
How about other parts of the world?
I couldn’t tell you about the US as I haven’t personally done any treatments there, but if you happen to be in Bali, do pay a visit to Beta Lisboa. She is the best myofascial release therapist in the area and I even took a teacher training with her there, which I would highly recommend you try!
A typical session lasts 75 minutes and she really connects with you on another level, she aligns her breathing to yours (which is an incredible feeling!) and intuitively really knows exactly where to press to relieve the pressure. She also gives consultations and tells you all sorts of cool facts about your body during a session.
Besides that, she is also an amazing yoga teacher, has over 15 years of experience and is very professional, so please check out her site for information on future trainings.
How do you usually feel after a session?
You’ll need some time to rest, so don’t drive a car straight away! I felt very dizzy after my first session and really felt that something has changed inside of me. I felt light and more free, I wanted to straighten out my back and move my body as much as possible, it just felt so great!
After several sessions, my body felt much more open and even lighter than it was before. I really don’t believe that you have to have something wrong with you to do it, after all, we all have stressful times or accidents that can affect our bodies, and we may not even realise it. It’s like you’ve been carrying a backpack for the last 10 years, and you didn’t realise how heavy it was until you took it off.
Can you do it to yourself?
Yes! But you’ll need specific tools, like a massage ball or muscle roller stick to release pressure in key areas of your body, or foam rollers to get larger areas of your body – this is great for weightloss too!!
Where can I find out more?
There is lots of info online or in books about the type of things myofascial release can cure, but in my opinion, just try one session and see how it feels. Give your body the healing it deserves 🙂