Myofascial release principles and healing crisis
Myofascial release treats the whole person. Although it is true that fascial restrictions often are a result of bracing against pain, they can also be a result of the unconscious bracing against stress, beliefs, blocked energy and emotions.
Recent scientific evidence supporting the idea that the mind and memory are not only contained within the brain but also within the body, particularly the fascial system, even within the cells themselves, lie memories of past events or trauma. When these memories are called up, whether consciously or not, we don’t just think about them, but rather we experience them, especially if there has been a high emotional charge at the time the memory was created. And if the person is not able to fully feel and process what happened at a later time, he or she may become disconnected or so called dissociated from their body. Dissociation can happen when an injury or trauma occurs and a person pulls their awareness from their body to help cope with the intensity of the situation. As a result, the energy can become stuck in the body, the tissue will tighten around the area of trapped energy and restrictions can form.
During course of myofascial therapy, gentle tractioning forces applied to the fascial restrictions will elicit heat, a vasomotor response that increases blood flow to the affected area, realign fascial planes, and most important, reset the soft tissue proprioceptive sensory mechanism. This last activity reprograms the central nervous system, enabling the normal functioning range of motion. The goal is to remove restrictions and restore the body’s equilibrium.
Therefore it becomes very important for a person being treated, to be tuned into their body, as some of the emotions and sensations experienced at the time of trauma may surface. In order for release to occur one simply allows themselves to feel and respond to whatever they notice in their bodies, knowing that whatever they feel, even if intense, will not injure them and is a completion of a natural process. Sometimes we need to feel the pain rather than run from it, ignore it, medicate it. This can be scary and feels opposite of what we should do at first, but, as John Barnes says, “You have to feel it to heal it”.
There may be times when you feel emotional, fatigued or your symptoms may fully flare up after a treatment session. These are normal responses and not a sign that you were injured in any way. This is called a healing crisis. It simply means restrictions were released. These sensations usually subside in a couple of days.