Myofascial is a massage technique that focuses on pain believed coming from another area of the body that is restricting motion and therefore causing pain in other parts of your body. Because fibromyalgia is a widespread pain in the body, many people say that they get relief from this type of massage. In a myofascial massage, the trigger points are found and deeply massaged therefore loosening the muscles so they aren’t so tight and cause pain. It is often called Myofascial Release Therapy, since you are releasing the stiffness from the muscles and tendons. The difference between this massage and a regular one is that they are pinpointing specific areas of the body that are triggering pain. Because it is a deep tissue massage, that doesn’t mean it won’t be uncomfortable to have done. A day or so after is when you feel the difference.
Sometimes the therapist will use their hands to manipulate the muscles and other times they use special tools, such as rollers, rubber balls, a Theracane (plastic cane that has knobs sticking out of it), and a thing called the Knobbler (rubber thing used on your finger when it gets tired).
There are other conditions that people have that would benefit from myofascial massage. Patients who have TMJ, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or Migraine headaches would be great candidates for myofascial massage.
There is medical research that proves that myofascial massage really does work and not just a hoax. The Zein-Hammoud and Standley study was a 10 year study based on fibroblasts. Findings show that “fibroblasts respond differently to various strain patterns, secreting various anti-inflammatory chemicals and growth factors, with implications for wound healing and muscle repair, among other physiologic processes.” Standley also experimented with the length of duration and the magnitude of MFR, and how they affect injuries, thus offering future suggestions for therapists on how to treat their patients. Those of us who have utilized or experienced MFR techniques know that they work. But now we have science finally backing us up—lending credibility to the claims.