Keeping my body in top shape with myofascial release

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sometimes athletes forget that rest and recovery can be an important part of their training.  I have always been a fan of relaxing massages but since my pain tolerance is low, sports massages are a bit intense for me.  I tend to stiffen up as the therapist works deep into my muscle.  It seems to be a necessary evil as overused muscles can turn into a ball of energy that needs release.


Function 360 Physiotherapy offers many services, so I thought I would give myofascial release a try as an alternative to sports massage.  On their website, it is described as "gentle sustained pressure to the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion." I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  My friend, Marty, has treated me with Bowen Technique in the past but this treatment was not a sustained application of pressure.

Turns out foam rolling is a form of self myofascial release.  There are other tools that can be used too to mobilize your soft tissue.  Personally, I don't have the guts to foam roll once it becomes too painful.  Think about why you foam roll though.  You do it to improve your range of motion, reduce muscle soreness, and increase your mobility.  Why not have a professional help you progress at a faster rate?

For my appointment, I met with Sonia at the clinic.  We started off with a postural and range of motion assessment.  She looked at my alignment while standing still and while performing squats.  This gave Sonia an idea of how my body may or may not need adjustment.  She noticed that my right shoulder was higher then the left, which I thought might be due to wearing my purse strap across my chest and on my right shoulder.


At the time, I was lucky enough not to have any major pains or injuries when I met Sonia.  She did a general toe to head treatment.  She started with my legs and feet and then worked her way up to my back, shoulders, and arms.  From my experience, the treatment is a slow pressure gently moving across the skin with an occasional stretch.  It wasn't so intense that I felt more, er, tense.  It was really relaxing.  I even had an eye pillow to keep the light out of my eyes while I laid on my back.


After my treatment, I felt very relaxed and a bit taller and more flexible.  Sonia suggested a start a maintenance plan and book in once a month.  So far, I have had two treatments and hope to book in a third soon. 

Myofascial release is becoming more popular in scientific literature, as researchers are examining when and how it is most effective (which types of athletes, self myofascial release or as treatment from a qualified therapist, which body parts benefit most, how to quantify an improvement).   Each body is different in terms of nutritional needs, rest requirements, and training methods.  I like to try as many therapies as I can because I might find the one that helps me achieve a new PB.  Hopefully in the next few years, we will know the best way to utilize myofascial release to maximize our athletic performance.

If you want to try out myofascial release yourself, get 15% off your treatment with my code #F360MM15 (you can actually use it for any treatment the Function 360 team offers).  I am also leading a social run with Function 360 for Valentine's Day on Monday 12 February.  Join us at 6:30pm for some informative talks about different therapies, ON Running shoes, and running. We will have prosecco too and discounts on Function 360 vouchers.  Space is limited so please email info@function360.co.uk to reserve your place.

Thanks for Function360 for supporting me as one of their sponsored athletes.  I will routinely be sharing my experiences with the Function360 team as I continue to prepare my body for the next 
challenge.

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