Welcome to our post which will take a look at the best myofascial releaser tools.
Myofascial release is a safe and highly effective massage therapy technique which involves the application of gentle sustained pressure exerted onto myofascial connective body tissue.
By carrying out the myofascial release (MFR) technique the key circulatory systems in our bodies such as the blood and lymphatic systems can be greatly improved as can the elasticity and flexibility in damaged or knotted muscle fibers.
It also plays a major role in providing flexibility and stability to skeletal joints.
Best MFR Tools 2017
There are a wide-array of products available to those how wish to apply the MFR technique as a therapist or as an individual self-applying the techniques themselves.
Self myofascial releaser products come in many forms such as specialist “Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization” (IASTM) Tools and “Gua Sha” instruments or the more well known foam rollers, trigger point balls and massage sticks.
All products come in a range of shapes, materials, sizes and configurations depending on the amount of use and individual intensity required, the method of application and the body location to which it has to be applied.
IATSM, is an evolution of Gua Sha which is a form of specialist myofascial therapy (MST originating within traditional Chinese medicine. IATSM techniques such as the Graston technique provides modern day therapists and those seeking high-quality medical-grade tools with instruments to address myofascial tissue issues.
With appropriate levels of pressure and a trained eye for the correct way to apply the instruments, the ergonomic design of the tools enables the breakdown myofascial scarring, blockages and strains.
Gua Sha Implements
Gua Sha implements are used with oils to literally scrape the skin to induce light bruising and myofascial release of trigger points and strained and stressed areas of muscle. Applying repeated strokes over lubricated skin and muscle with a smooth edged tool can be easily self-administered.
Gua Sha is seen as a form of alternative medicine which can deliver holistic as well as the purely physical myofacial benefits. Similar to Shiatsu massage therapy, Gua Sha aims to apply pressure along the bodies meridians to remove remove bad chi.
You will also be able to find local spas and massage therapists who will specialize in this form of therapy.
High density foam rollers come in many dimension and sizes and there will be one out there to fit all body shapes. They basically use your body weight as a mechanism to apply pressure to the appropriate muscle group. These rollers are great for applying pressure to the larger muscle groups although there are also smaller rollers for areas such as the foot arch.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Rollers
Rollers come in a smooth presentation of with deeper moldings to provide a harder and deeper massage. This tool from Triggerpoint will take your massage to the next level.
Roller Massage Sticks
This is a simple rolling pin style tool that is particularly useful when massaging calves, glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Trigger Point Lacrosse Balls
Although it seems unlikely – lacrosse balls make an ideal myofascial foot releaser tool. A well as being hard and durable they also come in smooth or a spiky presentation to really give that foot arch a hard time.
Trigger Point Hook Massagers
This is an ideal product for those hard to reach areas in the back and between the shoulder blades.
Tips on Carrying Out the Myofascial Release Technique
There are a number of points to remember if you are thinking about applying the technique yourself:
When using tools, the application of force should be gentle and not aggressive in anyway. Applying force in a hard way will put the connective tissue into a defensive and rigid state.
The massage therapy on a particular area should last for at least for 5 to 8 minutes. Anything less than this time-frame will probably provide some instant relief to the muscle are but any tightness or knots will quickly reform. The muscles must be warmed and stretched over a sustained period of 5 minutes so that they can become more elastic and pliable and in a more conducive state that will allow the fascia to stretch back to its normal state.
What is Fascia Connective Tissue?
The term myofascia is derived from “Myo” which means muscle and “fascia” which is latin for band.
Fascia is made up of collagen and elastin which are two types of connective tissue which envelope the muscles and other connective elements of our skeleton such as tendons, ligaments and bone. Visceral fascia also plays a role in supporting and protecting the organs within the deeper body cavities.
Both types of fibre are strong and highly flexible. The fascia provides a supporting function and a protective function for the body parts.
In its normal state fascia can be viewed under a microscope as relaxed and wave-like in alignment. It will contract and relax as different stresses and strains are applied to it. When fascia is in a unnatural state e.g. after injury, the wave form can be seen as misaligned, broken, scarred and hardened in nature.
The myofascial releaser tools play a role in returning the damaged or misaligned tissue to its natural state.
What Are the Benefits of Using Myofascial Releaser Tools?
In summary MFR can deliver a range of benefits which include:
- The reduction in post training aches and pains known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Improved range of joint mobility and motion
- Enhanced levels of muscular and skeletal power and performance
- Improved function of the vascular and nervous system functions
- The ability to address very localized muscular trigger points
- Breaks down unsightly post surgical scar tissue
- Can address foot ailments such as Plantar Fascitis
- Can target tendinitis in areas such as the achilles
- Can resolve painful neck and back ailments
With regard to sport athletic performance is paramount and muscular flexibility, strength and power need to be maximised at all times if an athlete is to perform at his or her best.
Athletes often have to contend with injuries, sprains, strains and general post training tightness. MFR can prove to be of great benefit to athletes when incorporated into their regular training and regime.
Dancers are another group who can greatly benefit from MFR and the use of self applied myofascial releaser tools. With a high demand on body flexibility and overall muscular and skeletal strength, dancers need to ensure their muscles, tendons and ligaments are free from injury, stresses and strains if they are to perform well and on a regular basis.
For the general public at large, we all suffer muscular stresses and strains a part of our everyday lives. Poor posture, muscle injury and bruised or inflamed muscle fibres are commonplace.
Quite often the identification and breakdown of trigger points, which are specific points in the muscle where the muscle fibres are taught, irritable and painful, is a key technique when addressing headaches, sciatica, sinusitis and lower back pain.
If the correct local trigger point can be identified, then the use of myofascial releaser tools can play a key role in alleviating the tightness and pain.