Myofascial release (MFR) is a gentle but powerful form of physical therapy. Myo means ‘muscle’ and ‘fascia’ is the connective tissue network. There are many soft tissue modalities in the MFR family, however the version referred to here treats the entire fascial network, promotes the body-mind connection and treats the cause and not the symptom.

Fascia surrounds, supports, protects and separates all other living tissues and cells of the body. It has the ability to contract and relax just like muscle, yet unlike muscle, fascial distortions creep insidiously throughout the entire network of the body, putting pressure on pain-sensitive structures; crushing nerves, vessels, and organs; and creating tension on bony structures.

The benefits of myofascial release

Often a restriction in one area will cause restrictions elsewhere in the body, creating pain and dysfunction. MFR therapists are taught to feel for restrictions in the fascia network (tightness, scar tissue and injuries) and then use their hands to create heat and pressure to allow fluidity and form to return to the fascial matrix, alleviating strain and restoring function and balance.

This descriptor was kindly provided by Ruth Duncan ( and was first published in International Therapist magazine, Issue 91, January 2010.