Self-myofascial release. It sounds much more complicated than it actually is. But let’s start with some definitions just to break it down.
Fascia: Connective tissue that surrounds bone, nerves, and organs of the body
Myofascial Release: Manipulative treatment that attempts to release tension in the fascia due to trauma, posture, or inflammation
Basically, self-myofascial release (SMR) is massaging your body in order to release tension in your muscles. That tension can be caused by injuries, exercise, posture,
or inflammation. Those points of tension in the fascia can place a large amount of pressure on nerves or muscles causing pain.
Now when we first think of massages, we think pleasant relaxation. That is not necessarily the case with SMR. It can be painful to work out knots that have built up in your muscles. But just like working out, though it may not always be fun in the short term, it is good for you in the long run. So here are a few benefits of SMR!
Muscle Relaxation: Massaging your muscles will give them the chance to loosen up, providing some much needed mental and physical relaxation. With exercise and training, we need to be intentional about relaxing our muscles.
Improved Range of Motion (ROM): I covered the benefits of improved range of motion in
my post Staying Bendy: Benefits of Flexibility, and by breaking down knots and tension within your muscles you can achieve that. You will be more comfortable and will be able to move more easily.
Improved Neuromuscular Efficiency: Where the nerves and the muscles connect is called the neuromuscular junction. By breaking down tension within the muscle, the brain can more effectively recruit the muscle fibers.
Reduced Muscle Soreness: Though it may not always feel good at the time, SMR will reduce muscle soreness in the long run. By breaking down the tension in the muscle, there will be less delayed onset muscle soreness.
Optimal length-tension relationship: In order to provide the most powerful movement, your muscles have to be able to fully tighten and relax. If your muscles are not able to adequately relax, they cannot produce the most power. Imagine the change of tension between a loose rubber band and a band stretched a few inches. There is a big difference in the potential energy between a band that isn’t stretched at all and a band that is stretched 2 inches. There is less potential energy difference between a rubber band stretched 2 inches one stretched 3 inches. Your muscles work in the same way.
Next week I will be covering the different kinds of equipment that can be used to implement SMR.
Thanks so much for reading!
Photos provided by Pixabay