How do you feel after myofascial release? How long to recover?

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Written By Dr. Marcus Yu Bin Pai

MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

Myofascial release technique is a specialized form of massage therapy that focuses on treating the connective tissue in the body, known as fascia.

This gentle yet effective approach is useful in addressing various physical and emotional issues, from pain and discomfort to anxiety and sleep disturbances.

This technique targets the myofascial system, which is the network of connective tissue surrounding and supporting muscles throughout the body. By releasing the myofascial system, myofascial release can facilitate mechanical, neural, and psycho-physiological adaptive potential, leading to improved outcomes in pain relief, flexibility, and overall function.

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of myofascial release, its benefits, and what to expect during a treatment session. We will also provide a detailed explanation of the myofascial release technique, the sensations you may experience after a session, and the typical recovery time.

What to expect after a myofascial release session?

After a myofascial release session, you may experience various sensations, including:

  1. Relief and relaxation: Many individuals report an immediate sense of relief and relaxation following myofascial release. The technique can help reduce muscle tightness and improve range of motion, leading to decreased pain and improved overall function.
  2. Mild soreness or tenderness: It is common to feel mild soreness or tenderness in the treated areas for up to 24-48 hours after the session. This is a normal response as the body adjusts to the changes in the fascial system.
  3. Temporary increase in pain: In some cases, individuals may experience a temporary increase in pain immediately after the session. This is typically short-lived and should resolve within a day or two.
  4. Heightened body awareness: Many clients report increased awareness of their bodies and the areas that were treated during the session. This can be beneficial, as it helps individuals recognize and address any lingering tension or imbalances.

Recovery time after myofascial release varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the severity of the fascial restrictions, the individual’s overall health, and their commitment to any prescribed self-care activities (e.g., stretches, exercises, or postural adjustments).

In general, individuals may experience some improvement in symptoms immediately after treatment, with continued improvement over the next few days to weeks.

How long to recover after a session?

For most people, it is essential to give the body time to adapt to the changes in the fascial system.

Therefore, it is advisable to wait at least 48 hours between myofascial release sessions, with some clients benefiting from a more extended recovery period of 1-2 weeks, depending on their specific needs and response to the treatment.

  • Stretch – Myofascial release involves stretching the muscles to relieve tension and restore range of motion. Stretching helps to restore the balance of the muscle fibers, allowing them to relax and release tension.
  • Manual Pressure – Myofascial release involves applying manual pressure to the affected area. This helps to relax the muscles and break down adhesions in the tissue.
  • Massage – Massage is one of the most effective ways to perform myofascial release. It involves using pressure and movement to restore the balance of the muscle fibers and reduce tension.
  • Fascial Manipulation – Fascial manipulation is a technique used to target the fascia, which is the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles. It involves applying gentle pressure and stretching the fascia to reduce tension and restore balance.
  • Trigger Point Therapy – Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to specific points on the body. This helps to reduce tension and restore balance to the muscles.

The Importance of Fascia

Fascia is the connective tissue that runs throughout the body, from the cellular level to the organs and musculoskeletal system. It plays a vital role in the body’s structure, communication, and overall health.

Fascia is an essential component of the musculoskeletal system, providing protection and facilitating smooth movement. However, when it becomes tightened or loses water content, it can lead to decreased range of motion, altered neuromuscular properties, and reduced strength.

When we experience injury or emotional trauma, the fascia can become tense and develop adhesions, leading to pain and dysfunction. By treating the fascia through myofascial release, therapists can help restore balance, alleviate pain, and promote overall well-being.

Common Therapies

Clinicians and other professionals employ various techniques to address myofascial trigger points and fascial restrictions, including active release, positional release, trigger point release, self-myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, and integrated neuromuscular inhibition techniques.

Understanding Myofascial Release

Myofascial release involves targeting fascial restrictions that occur when muscles and their overlying fascia are subjected to microtrauma.

Fascial restrictions may form and inhibit normal muscular function, while trigger points may develop independently or in conjunction with these restrictions. This results in inhibition of normal muscular functions.

Reduces Muscle PainMyofascial release is a soft tissue therapy technique that can help reduce muscle pain by restoring proper muscle function. It works by gently stretching and loosening the muscles, allowing them to relax and reduce tension.
Improves MobilityMyofascial release can help improve mobility by restoring normal movement of the muscles and joints. This can help reduce pain, improve range of motion, and improve overall flexibility.
Improves PostureMyofascial release can improve posture by helping to restore the body’s natural alignment. This can help reduce pain and improve overall balance and stability.
Reduces StressMyofascial release can help reduce stress levels by releasing tension in the body. This can help reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body, allowing the body to relax and reduce pain.
Improves CirculationMyofascial release can improve circulation by increasing blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce pain, improve healing, and reduce inflammation.

The Unique Approach to Myofascial Release Therapy

Each individual is unique, and their experiences, traumas, and symptoms vary. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to myofascial release therapy. During the initial consultation, your therapist will discuss your history, concerns, and goals to better understand the root causes of your symptoms.

This information helps them create a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

The Myofascial Release Technique


The myofascial release technique is a gentle, non-invasive method that involves holding and supporting the body while encouraging deep breathing and connection. Your therapist will work with your body’s natural movements, addressing the fascia, organs, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system as needed.

The primary focus is often on the central nervous system, as this helps shift the body from the sympathetic (fight or flight) state to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state, where healing can truly begin.

Positional Release Therapy

Positional release therapy is a manual therapy technique that places the muscle in a shortened position to promote relaxation. This technique may involve applying light pressure to the myofascial trigger point or simply maintaining the shortened position.

This approach has its roots in the strain-counterstrain technique.

The Goal of Myofascial Release Techniques

The primary objective of myofascial release techniques is to stimulate mechanoreceptors through applied pressure, which in turn promotes the secretion of chemicals, such as hyaluronic acid, responsible for the hydration of the fascia.

By restoring hydration and creating a gap between the muscle and fascia, these techniques reduce muscle tension, increase range of motion, and decrease pain scores.

Trigger Points and Tender Points

Myofascial trigger points are hyperirritable spots within taut bands of skeletal muscle or fascia that can further decrease the range of motion and inhibit the strength of the affected muscle.

The primary difference between trigger points and tender points is that trigger points cause referred pain, while tender points do not.

Trigger Points vs Tender PointsTrigger PointsTender Points
DefinitionTight bands of muscle which produce pain in other parts of the body.Tender points are localized areas of tenderness or pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
LocationFound in areas of high tension in the muscles such as the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.Found in any area of the body, but most commonly in the neck and shoulders.
PainPain is often referred to other parts of the body.Pain is localized to the area.
TreatmentManual pressure is often used to release the trigger point.Gentle massage is usually used to ease the pain.

Positional Release Therapy vs. Active Release Technique

Positional Release Therapy (PRT) is a technique that involves placing a muscle in a shortened position and holding it there for 60 to 90 seconds. This allows the muscle to relax and release tension.

In contrast, the Active Release Technique (ART) involves treating areas of tension or adhesions found in muscles or surrounding soft tissues by taking the muscle from a shortened position to a lengthened position. The clinician maintains contact with the problematic areas, applying 10 to 15 strokes to create a constant tension on the fibers of the tissue.

The Ripple Effect of Myofascial Release

Although the treatment may seem subtle, the effects of myofascial release therapy can be profound. The technique’s gentle nature allows for a deep, lasting impact on the body’s fascia, promoting relaxation, pain relief, and overall well-being. Over time, you may notice improvements in your physical and emotional health, as well as a stronger connection to your body’s innate wisdom.


Myofascial release technique is a powerful and gentle approach to addressing various physical and emotional concerns. By targeting the fascia, therapists can help restore balance, alleviate pain, and promote overall well-being.

In conclusion, myofascial release can provide numerous benefits, including pain relief, relaxation, and improved range of motion. It is crucial to listen to your body and follow your therapist’s recommendations for self-care and recovery time to optimize the effects of this treatment.

If you’re interested in exploring myofascial release therapy and feel that it may benefit you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified therapist to discuss your needs and concerns.

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MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

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