Fascia is connective tissue, which consists of collagen and elastin fibers that float in a viscous cellular fluid called ground substance. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. Restriction in one part of the fascial system may cause pain and dysfunction elsewhere throughout the body.
Repetitive movement or prolonged positions (such as sitting on a computer), trauma, inflammatory responses, and surgical procedures cause myofascial restrictions. These restrictions can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures. These fascial restrictions do not show up in many of the standard tests including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, and electromyography. Because of this, fascial restrictions often go undiagnosed.
Myofascial release involves gentle sustained pressure over a prolonged period. As fascia releases, rehydration occurs, which allows for an increase in mobility and treatment of pain. As fascia rehydrates, water now becomes available to the body on a cellular level. Self myofascial release may be learned through instruction and practice.