What to do after myofascial release?

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Written By Diene Oliveira Cruz

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

Myofascial release is a therapeutic technique that focuses on releasing tension in the fascia to relieve pain and improve mobility. The fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. When this tissue becomes tight or restricted, it can cause pain and limit movement.

Myofascial release is typically performed by a physical therapist or massage therapist, who will use various techniques to stretch and release the fascia. These techniques can include manual manipulation with the hands, the use of massage guns or foam rollers, and the application of gentle pressure to specific points on the body.

Myofascial Release comes from a tightness model, meaning that tightness within the body creates pain and pressure. Thus, traditional exercises may not be the focus of the therapy. Instead, the therapist empowers the patient to take control of their own care and may teach them stretches and exercises that can be done at home. These home stretches should be comfortable and not aggressive or painful.

What is Myofascial Release?

lower back myofascial release

Before delving further into Myofascial Release, it is vital to understand a portion of our body that few people are familiar with: the fascia.

In layman’s words, the fascia is a connective tissue membrane that primarily serves to surround the muscles. The fascia is also found in our bones, neurons, and blood vessels.

This membrane is pliable and durable. Its primary role is to reduce friction and protect the muscles, allowing them to move more freely.

Consider how our muscles move throughout an exercise to better grasp how the fascia works. Some of them may come into contact with each other or other areas of the body, resulting in injury and the well-known post-workout soreness.

These actions stiffen the fascia, making it less adherent to the body and limiting muscular strength and movement. In this sense, we can already comprehend what Myofascial Release is and what it can accomplish for us.

It is important to understand that Myofascial Release is widely recommended and commonly utilized by athletes. But, as long as the manipulation is performed by a qualified professional, everyone can benefit from it.

In the case of people who are taking anticoagulant medications, pregnant women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy, and people with vascular problems, wounds, and infections, a medical evaluation should be carried out before undergoing Myofascial Release.

Since the fascia is present in various muscles of the body, Myofascial Release can be performed on any muscle in the human body. So, it is not strange to need Myofascial Release on the calf, neck, glutes, thighs, chest, etc.

How is Myofascial Release performed?


Myofascial Release can be performed in various ways. One of them is manual, where the manipulation is done with the physiotherapist’s own hands.

Another very effective method for performing this treatment is the Massage Gun, a device that helps the specialist to perform muscle release. This device is highly recommended by professionals and clients for the comfort and ease it offers during manipulation.

The treatment can also be done with the help of foam rollers, perhaps the most well-known equipment for manipulation. Balls and spatulas are also used, depending on the condition of the person undergoing the treatment and the situation of the fascia and muscles.

In addition, Myofascial Release is a practice that brings benefits and can be performed by people of all ages. If you still have questions about the subject or if you are interested in our manipulation, please contact us.

During the treatment, the therapist will use a gentle cross-handed approach where they will put pressure on the table and spread their hands on the patient’s skin, feeling for tightness or tension in the fascia. The therapist will remain stationary for 5-10 minutes at a time, allowing multiple layers of the connective tissue of the fascia to release or stretch. This differs from traditional stretching, which typically only addresses the elastic part of the connective tissue and muscle.

What benefits can proper work with the fascia provide? And how does myofascial release act on the body?

Each session of myofascial release may look different, and there is no pre-planned set of order that the therapist will follow. There will be a small amount of reevaluation at the beginning of the session, and then the therapist will go right into treatment. The goal is to provide the patient with reinforcement of existing home exercises or new techniques to take them even further.

The need to study fascia lies in the fact that the greatest proprioceptive debit falls on the free nerve endings and Ruffini endings, which exist in large quantities in the myofascial tissue, and whose proper stimulation promotes the reduction of facilitated (contracted) muscle tone. In the presence of pain, motor control becomes dysfunctional because the afferent signaling provided by the “contracted” fascia prevents the correction of these dysfunctional motor patterns.

Therefore, to correct a dysfunctional motor pattern, it is necessary to evaluate the state of the myofascial tissue. In summary, myofascial release acts on certain nerve endings, producing a reflex response from the central nervous system (CNS) that reduces muscle tone. It also helps improve pain, joint mobility, and posture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Myofascial Release

Does Myofascial Release hurt?

Honestly, yes! However, when it ends, it causes a feeling of great relief, as there has been stimulation of local circulation and oxygen supply to the tissue.
Overuse of the muscles, poor postural habits, incorrect movement patterns, and even emotional wear and stress can lead to harmful changes in the fascia.

Are there any contraindications for Myofascial Release?

Yes. Myofascial Release should not be performed on patients who are taking anticoagulants, diabetics, with rheumatism or autoimmune diseases, or in inflamed or infected regions.

Is it normal to bruise after myofascial release?

Yes, it can be normal to experience bruising after myofascial release. When pressure is applied to an area using one’s own body weight on a foam roller, the pressure can be great enough to cause injury, such as the rupture of blood vessels and cells. These bruises indicate that there has been a rupture of blood vessels and cells, which is necessary for adhesion.

Should myofascial release be done before or after exercise?

It is recommended to do myofascial release both before and after exercise. If the person does not have any pain or dysfunction, ten slow passes on a foam roller will be sufficient to provide a smooth gliding between the fascia, resulting in a different motor experience during exercise. After a particularly intense workout, performing a few more self-myofascial release passes on the foam roller will facilitate blood perfusion in the area, more easily removing metabolic waste produced during the exercise.


In summary, myofascial release is a therapeutic technique that focuses on releasing tension in the fascia to relieve pain and improve mobility. It can be performed using various techniques, including manual manipulation, massage guns, and foam rollers.

While it can be uncomfortable at times, the benefits of myofascial release can be significant, including improved mobility, reduced pain, and improved athletic performance.

Myofascial Release is a type of bodywork that takes a holistic approach and looks at the whole body. During a session, the therapist will use a gentle cross-handed approach to feel for tightness or tension in the fascia and remain stationary for 5-10 minutes at a time. The therapist will empower the patient to take control of their own care and may teach them stretches and exercises that can be done at home.

Each session may look different, but the goal is to provide lasting changes in tissue length and pain relief.

diene oliveira cruz
Diene Oliveira Cruz
Physical Therapist | + posts

Physiotherapist, with specialization in Orthopedics and Traumatology by Santa Casa de São Paulo. Pain and Rehabilitation Specialist.

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