PT Classroom - A Brief Introduction on Myofascial Release  ׀ by Jim Defazio, LMT, NCTMB


Jim De Fazio is the owner/operator of The Feathers Touch Massage, LLC in Kenosha, WI and Hales Corners, WI. He is a nationally certified massage therapist and graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Natural Wellness; a 700-Hour program in Racine, Wisconsin in September 2001. He enjoys helping clients to relax and rehabilitate with a wide range of modalities. His favorite discovery is to utilize myofascial release and trigger-point therapy in every massage. He is also is trained to work with Fibromyalgia, pre-natal/post-natal clients, and many other forms of bodywork.

 A Brief Introduction on Myofascial Release

"Only when I am on the brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so..."---------Edgar Allan Poe. These words were spoken over 600 years ago, spoken so simply but has many layers of meaning. In the same way, our body represents this concept of a simple body, interwoven with many complex layers. This concept is best described with Myofascial Release. To understand Myofascial Release, one must know what Fascia is: A fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue (1) that permeates the human body. A fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding those structures together in much the same manner as plastic wrap can be used to hold the contents of sandwiches together (1). It consists of several layers: a superficial fascia, a deep fascia, and a subserous (or visceral) fascia and extends uninterrupted from the head to the tip of the toes (1). Let's break down the definition: Fibrous tissue and connective tissue, together are known is as the elasto-collagenous complex. This fibrous complex consists of a collagen fiber wrapped around an elastic fiber made up of proteins. Fascia permeates the human body, and consists of several layers. Fascia extends uninterrupted. So fascia is a simple system of many forms of tissue, intertwined throughout many complex layers, uninterrupted within one body.

Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion (2). Myofascial and Craniosacral approaches are best suited to dealing with issues of fascial sheath restriction. Because it is often uncomfortable, the work should not be done unless the client is committed to a series of regular appointments (3).

The connection between Edgar Alan Poe's quote in the beginning of this article is explained during a Myofascial release treatment. Most of us have been programmed to believe healing is achieved through two-dimensional (logical) procedures such as diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, and various modalities. These methods' intentions are correct, but may be lacking another dimension . . . the 3-D dimension of our body! A lot of health care professionals utilize parts of the 2-D method, but sometimes all these methods may still not maximize positive outcomes. The extra dimension we forgot, the wisdom or our own body, should be considered as well. This wisdom of our body, is our subconscious "muscle memory." Thus, the subconscious level "Only when I am on the brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so...".

The subconscious state is referred to as the Hypogogic state. Edgar Alan Poe, Nostradamus, Socrates', and many others, are speaking of the body-brain state of consciousness, called the hypnogogic state. This subconscious state is where the "wisdom of muscle memory" can be explained. True, the one recognized organ that relates to "memory" is the brain but expand this organ, using an open mind. This organ, like every other organ in the human body, consists of many tissues that perform the same or similar functions, which consist of individual cells that perform the same or similar function. These tissues "communicate" with each other, as well as with other organs, through electro-chemical communication, mainly alpha and theta waves. So, it might not be too farfetched of a concept to say that each tissue in our body "communicates" based on its predetermined function. . . "memory" if you will.

Muscle Memory
Also known as tissue memory, we are unconsciously aware of past events that the body remembers and holds on to them until they are released. When an emotional component is involved in the patient's pattern, that component often surfaces while the practitioner is dealing specifically with the connective tissue. The body must release the “holding patterns” to truly heal. When tissue “holding patterns” surface, they appear in forms of “memories,” either through thoughts, emotions, and/or just plain body movements. The emotions build up inside our bodies and we begin letting these emotions spill out. Someone may notice as a sign to get treatment and begin the releasing process. These “memories” may surface and release during or after a treatment.

Healing Process
Trust that your body will never harm itself, so you will never be injured during a release (healing) process. After treatment the patient may feel some discomfort physically or mentally. This is commonly called your “Healing Crisis.” This is your body’s way of resetting itself, a “Reboot.” Myofascial release has been used in many forms of therapies to resolve back pain, muscular pains and injuries, menstrual pains, digestive conditions, dental imperfections, anxiety, and many more. Because Myofascial Release covers a variety of treatments, it is a highly recommended treatment for many auto-immune disorders because they cross many dimensions of chaos. M.S., Lupus, and Fibromyalgia are among these, where these disorders might render a person physically by lack of movement, or molecularly by hyper-generation or hypo-generation of tissues, or a compromised immune system. I invite you to expand your research and possibly become trained, practice, or refer people for treatment using this wonderful awareness that is called Myofascial Release. For more information on myofascial release please visit or

Last revised: December 15, 2011
by Jim Defazio, LMT, NCTMB



1) (last accessed 12/15/11)

2) (last accessed 12/15/11)

3) Frizt, S. Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage second edition. Mosby. 2000;430.

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