Assisted Myofacial Stretching

In my practice as a Kinesiologist I’ve seen a great need for more joint mobility and muscular flexibility. Quite admittedly for most, they don’t feel like they have the 1) time, 2) expertise, or 3) enjoyment to obtain the benefits from regular stretching. Often people report that they are unable to schedule it in, find the right stretch, or are unsure of how tightening and loosening certain areas of their bodies can affect their alignment and posture. To address this, over the years I have developed 20 minute Myofacial Assisted Stretching sessions to help people overcome the barriers listed above, and get people moving their bodies in ways that will provide long term health benefits, increased athletic performance, and enhanced recovery. So, next I’d like to tell you a little about Assisted Myofacial Stretching, as well as offer you a complimentary 20 minute trial session to witness how it works for you.
“Fascia is the fascinating biological fabric and glue that holds us together.” … according to Thomas Myer a brilliant anatomist who in the last decade mapped out a series of myofacial tracts or “Anatomy Trains” in our bodies which collectively enable us to move and stand independently as humans. Myofacia is a term that describes the soft tissue of component of connective tissue (collagen and fibrin) that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, inactivity or activity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue may be affected as well, including other structural connective tissues and organs.
As in most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. In this way, the cycle creates a positive feedback loop and can result in ischemia and somatic dysfunction even in the absence of the original offending agent. Myofascial techniques aim to break this cycle through a variety of methods acting on multiple stages of the cycle.
Myofascial techniques generally fall under the two main categories of passive (client stays completely relaxed) or active (client provides resistance as necessary), with direct and indirect techniques used in each.
The indirect method involves a gentle stretch, with only a few grams of pressure, which allows the fascia to ‘unwind’ itself. The dysfunctional tissues are guided along the path of least resistance until free movement is achieved. The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body’s inherent ability for self correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body.

The benefits of myofacial release can also be obtained in many ways besides from assisted stretching. Yoga, and/or many of the regular passive stretches you might complete on your own will usually suffice if done diligently. However, the difficulty for most is the time investment to stretch, the motivation or commitment to get to class, or the effort involved in actually sitting  down and executing the optimal amount of myofacial release to eliminate body pain, provide maintenance for the future, or increase athletic performance.
In order to help you move forward in your body’s wellness in the realm of joint mobility and muscular flexibility, I invite you to join me at Bliss Wellness and Therapy in Squamish for a 20 minute Assisted Myofacial Stretching Session on Monday or Wednesday evenings for $27.50. Or during business hours Tuesday, Thursday or Friday at The Bentall Centre Athletic Club in downtown Vancouver. Email Cameron  Hunt at to set up an appointment.
Thanks Thomas Myers, Carol Manheim, Massimo De Angelis, and Wikipedia for helping me get my facts straight.


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