Fascial Manipulation (FM) release treatment is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue to eliminate pain, designed to rehabilitate soft tissue and restore motion. This is the 2nd (and final) article on this subject. Read Article 1 here.

We described what fascia is in Article 1 so now let’s have a look at what treatment can be applied to the fascial network which has been damaged and which needs to be released. We’ll also indicate which conditions fascial manipulation can treat.

How does the treatment work?

During fascial (FASH-al) manipulation, the therapist locates myofascial (MY-o-FASH-al) areas that feel stiff and fixed, instead of elastic and movable, under light manual pressure. These areas, though not always near what feels like the source of pain, are thought to restrict muscle and joint movements, contributing to widespread muscle pain. The focused manual pressure and stretching used in myofascial release therapy loosen up restricted movement, leading indirectly to a reduction in pain.

Pain sufferers should be aware that fascial restrictions do not show up on CAT scans, MRI’s or X-Rays, so many people end up with unresolved physical pain due to undiagnosed fascial trauma. FM, with its whole-body approach, treats the cause at the deepest level.  Therapists are taught to feel and stretch slowly into the fascial network.

As fascia is partly made up of collagen (means ‘glue producer’), therapists are taught to feel for this glue-like texture which, when dense, thick or hard, is defined as a ‘fascial densification’.  This ‘densification’ is due to the enzymes (which normally allow the fascia to “glide”) having bonded together and becoming larger.

How does fascial manipulation differ from a normal therapeutic massage or release of pain?

This technique is very different to that of massaging muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body. To restore fascia to its normal state the ‘densifications’ need to be heated up. This is done by rubbing the tissue in a specific way. As the fascia heats up, it allows the bonded enzymes within the tissue to break down the chemical bonds holding them together and for the enzymes to return to their normal state. This reduction of densifications will restore health and provide results that are both measurable and functional.

Who should consider Fascial Manipulation (FM) as a treatment for pain?

Basically, almost anyone who has been suffering from long-term pain, (often in the same place) and which is only being temporarily alleviated by traditional physiotherapy, can investigate using this specialised treatment.

If you have any of the following conditions, which don’t seem to be easing up from prolonged physiotherapy sessions (or other related therapies), FM could be a solution for you.

Note that FM treatment can be used on infants and children. Speak to your physiotherapist and enquire about whether or not they offer this treatment, particularly if you have had recurring and constant pain.

Special note on Fascial Manipulation

FM is becoming a more widely used therapy in South Africa, after having been accepted and used with great enthusiasm overseas for many years. Therapists have to be specially trained in order to recognise the indications, as well as on how to evaluate what treatment needs to be applied for each patient. 

Fiona Lamberti and Shelagh Green at the Woodmead Practice of Lamberti Physiotherapy have both participated in two specialist courses with international instructors and have experienced successes in using this methodology with long term sufferers. If this course of action interests you, use our quick and easy appointment form to book a consultation at your nearest Lamberti Physiotherapy Practice.