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Self-Myofascial release (SMR)

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Self-myofascial release (SMR) also known as self-massage can be utilised to release muscle tightness or trigger points at home. This method can be performed using a foam roller, massage ball or your own hands.
What is myofascial release? Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue fibres under the skin that attach to muscles to stabilize and separate them from other internal organs.  The fascia can become stressed from repetitive movements, inflammation, or injuries causing acute strains and sprains. This poor condition of the fascia can lead to the formation of adhesions, commonly known as trigger points or ‘knots’. Trigger points can be felt as a knot in the muscle, and can refer tightness and or pain throughout connecting areas of the body. This abnormal state of fascia in the form of knots can lead to muscle imbalances, incorrect posture, and can cause reduced blood-flow to the surrounding tissues and muscles; preventing recovery.
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Myofascial release can also aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness. There are a number of conditions and symptoms that Myofascial release therapy addresses. 
How does it benefit my body? The goal of self Myofascial release (or SMR) is to relieve the tension caused by these trigger points.  In return, self Myofascial release benefits include:

  • Improved Range of Motion – SMR works to restore proper range of motion by repairing the weak and tight fascia causing the trigger point.
  • Improved Oxygenation of Surrounding Muscles and Tissues – More blood flow to the adjacent areas means quicker recovery time and more efficient neuromuscular function.
  • Reduced Pain and Tightness – Going through your day, you might notice tight points in your legs, buttocks, and areas of your back and neck. Performing SMR on these points can help to reduce pain and tightness.

Essentially you are using these different shaped devices such as a foam roller to put pressure on and stimulate trigger points and knots. The fascia adhesions can be broken down, restoring mobility and reducing any pain and tightness you may have been experiencing in the area.
General Guidelines for using a foam roller

  • Spend 1-2 minutes per self myofascial release technique and on each each side (when applicable). When a trigger point is found (painful area) hold for 30-45 seconds.
  • Keep the abdominal muscles tight which provides stability to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex during rolling. Remember to breathe slowly as this will help to reduce any tense reflexes caused by discomfort.
  • Complete the self myofascial release exercises 1-2 x daily.