Many of us manage to live with minor discomforts in the body by taking analgesics until the discomfort becomes pain and can no longer be ignored. What we don’t realize is that pain is simply a message that our bodies sends to alert us that something needs attention.
Fascia is the continuous system of connective tissue which wraps around and provides support for bones, joints, muscles and organs of the body. Fascia “trains” run along the front, back, side and also spiral around our body. Several areas have multiple trains stopping at the same “train station”. This means that the entire body is connected so what you do in one part of the body affects another (especially where multiple trains are involved).
Fascia is 10x more sensitive than muscle and it uses entroception (the ability to recognize internal messages in order to respond to stress in the body). This system is now considered your 6th sense. Fascia becomes tighter with repetitive use, injury, inflammation, dehydration and through the normal aging process. Our body also lays down more fascia where muscles are weaker or where there are no bones for support (again, making the area tighter).
We can develop trigger points as a reaction to pain or injury. Our body reacts to pain by creating a protection response, that initially is a good thing to protect us, but over time can lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the area. Signals are sent to the spinal cord which then trigger the muscles around the injury to contract in order to provide support and protection for the surrounding tissues.
This response, left unchecked, creates a vicious cycle of pain as more blood flow is restricted to the contracted area. More signals are sent, and more muscles tighten to protect the growing epicenter of pain.
Because Fascia it is a continuous system, tightness in one area will have far reaching effects elsewhere in the body. These restrictions can pull the bones out of alignment and create postural changes. When the restrictions are throughout the muscles they can cause tightness, reduced flexibility, and muscle weakness. Blood vessels and nerves run through the fascia and can become entrapped causing decreased circulation, pain, numbness and or tingling.
You can liken an adhesion in the Fascia to a pulled thread on a sweater; one thread can cause bunching throughout the entire sweater. What may have started as something small has now grown—that sweater gets more gnarled and bunchy.
Self-Myofascia Release (SMR) is self-applied pressure using a roller, balls or other tools to release the constriction and melt the adhesion bringing length and hydration to the fascia. It is designed to go in and smooth out those hard knots, returning the fascia to its normal fluid and adaptable self. Hanan Palz teaches you about the most common areas where adhesions reside and how to release them yourself.
So why live with pain?
Benefits to SMR
Muscle relaxation: SMR helps reduce and eliminate stored tension in muscles, which aids in alleviating aches and pains.
Suppression or reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain: SMR promotes the release of endorphins to help reduce pain.
Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery: SMR increases circulation, allowing oxygen and other nutrients to reach the muscles and other soft tissues.
Improved joint range of motion, which helps restore optimal length-tension relationships: SMR helps prepare joints for increased range of motion and loads that accompany stretching, strengthening and other dynamic movement exercises.
Reduced adhesion and scar tissue that improves the elasticity of muscles and other soft tissues.
Regulation of the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a role in decreasing inflammation.
Increased activity in the mitochondria of cells, helping promote repair and growth of muscle tissue.
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Check out these Fabulous Fascia Friday Release Techniques