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Myofascial Release Massage

Myofascial release is the stretching and manipulation of fascia, the tissue surrounding muscles and nerves. It's less regimented than Rolfing.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: May 18, 2020

Fascia is the soft connective tissue that surrounds your muscles. When these tissues are irritated, they can become inflamed and cause discomfort. Myofascial release massage is a gentle technique using stretching and light massage work to release any tension that may be in the fascia.

The origins of Myofascial Release Massage: Myofascial release was created by physical therapist John Barnes. He developed the technique during the 1970s and is still active in the field today.

Benefits Of Myofascial Release Massage

A myofascial release can improve the condition of stiff joints and muscle pain while reducing tension and anxiety. It is ideal for migraines, cramps, chronic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, whiplash, and muscle spasms.

What To Expect

During a myofascial release massage, a masseuse uses his or her hands to knead and stretch tense muscles. Pressure is placed on each area of the body for two to five minutes at a time, or until the massage therapist determines that the muscles are released and relaxed.

A myofascial release massage is performed in one of two ways. It can be “passive,” in which you’re completely relaxed, or “active,” in which you’re asked to participate by resisting certain movements.

Specialized equipment: Myofascial release is performed directly on the body without oil or lotions.

Recommended sessions: Unlike Rolfing, which also involves the manipulation of the fascia, there is no set number of myofascial release sessions. Several sessions may be necessary to achieve pain reduction.

Preparation: Inform the therapist of any injuries or chronic conditions.


Myofascial release may cause muscle soreness.

Who wouldn't benefit: Myofascial involves slow-paced stretching and may not be satisfying to people expecting a deeper touch.

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