Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic is now part of the
Response Physio & Sports Therapy group

Myofascial Release Therapy – What?

We are continuing with our October series on back pain. Talking you through some options of treatments available at Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic to help you and your back pain.

What is Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR)?

Myofascial (pronounced Myo fashal) is derived from the Latin words ‘myo’ for muscle and ‘fascia’ for band. Fascia, an embryological connective tissue, is a 3D continuous web of elastin and collagen fibres surrounded by a viscous fluid called the ground substance. These two fibre types allow it to be very strong yet have a high degree of flexibility.

Fascia surrounds, infuses and protects every other tissue, tendon, muscle, bone, ligament and organ of the body. In healthy conditions the fascial system is relaxed and wavy in configuration. This provides a cushioning and supportive mechanism allowing us to move safely without restriction or pain. Fascia is also dynamic in nature, it responds to internal and external forces applied on it meeting the resistance in order to protect.

Research has proven that fascia, like muscle, has the ability to contract and relax and plays a major role in mobility and stability of joints. Fascia acts as a tensegrity (tension and integrity) model where tension and resistance rely on each other for stability and function.


Myofascial Release Therapy, like many alternative therapies, promotes the philosophy that the mind and body work together to maintain health. Effectively this supports the understanding that the mind and body are one and the same. The body has the ability to remember postural positions, actions and emotions without the brain reminding it to do so. Throughout the body’s fascial system flow microscopic cells containing energy which have the ability to retain memory.

It could also be said that our unconscious mind is not restricted to the brain but flows freely through our body within the fascial system. Simply put, our body remembers how to lift a cup,drive a car and walk without thinking.

If our body can remember positive actions and emotions then it must be true that we can also remember negative ones. Memories, both physical and emotional, can be triggered by a state of mind, context and by body position.


When fascia goes wrong:

Following all physical and emotional trauma and through poor posture, fascia scars and hardens in the affected site and along the tension lines imposed on it. This causes the fascial network to lose its cushioning mechanism and internal structures become pulled out of alignment. This in turn creates an abnormal pressure, up to 2,000 pounds (Katake 1961) per square inch and in turn puts pressure through nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels. This then creates further tension on adjacent pain-sensitive structures and those along the fascial pull.


Fascial restrictions do not show up on CAT scans, MRI’s or X Rays therefore many patients are suffering unresolved physical and emotional pain due to undiagnosed fascial trauma. Conditions are a label for a symptom.

Traditional healthcare treats the symptom, MFR with it’s whole body approach treats the cause at the deepest level. At Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinicwe like to treat the whole person, not just the area of pain/dysfunction. It is after all, all connected!

MFR for back pain

The myo fascial lines or slings (as they are often known) all pass through the spine and pelvis, meaning this area often takes the most strain and where people normally experience the pain.

A lot of MFR therapy is centred around, well the centre! The therapist will often concentrate on your lower back, hips, pelvis and abdomen.

MFR is a specialist treatment and at Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic is offered by one of our Physiotherapy team, Sharon Smith.

She has a special interest in disorders of the spine and pelvis.

To find our more about MFR at Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic, please call us on 0191 5483388 or email info@totallytranquil.co.uk

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