Myofascial Release

A manual therapy technique that applies sustained pressure to release tension in the fascia and muscles.


Myofascial Release is a hands-on manual therapy technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure to myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The technique works by elongating and releasing the restricted fascia, which is the tough, dense connective tissue that surrounds and connects every muscle, bone, nerve, artery, and vein in the body. Myofascial Release aims to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and enhance overall physical function.

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Myofascial Release was developed by physical therapist John F. Barnes in the 1960s. Barnes observed that applying gentle, sustained pressure to the body's connective tissue could help alleviate pain and restore function. He refined the technique over several decades, drawing from his experiences treating patients and studying osteopathic medicine. The term "myofascial" combines "myo" (muscle) and "fascia" (connective tissue), highlighting the interconnectedness of these structures. Today, Myofascial Release is widely practiced by physical therapists, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.


  1. Pain Relief Myofascial Release can effectively reduce chronic pain by releasing tension in the fascia and muscles.
  2. Improved Flexibility By releasing myofascial restrictions, this technique can enhance flexibility and range of motion.
  3. Better Posture Myofascial Release can help correct postural imbalances by releasing tension in the fascia that contributes to poor posture.
  4. Reduced Stress The gentle, sustained pressure used in Myofascial Release can promote relaxation and lower stress levels.
  5. Improved Circulation Releasing myofascial restrictions can improve blood and lymphatic circulation, promoting healing and overall health.
  6. Enhanced Athletic Performance By improving flexibility, reducing pain, and promoting recovery, Myofascial Release can help athletes perform at their best.
  7. Scar Tissue Reduction Myofascial Release can help break down and soften scar tissue, improving mobility and function in the affected area.

How It Works

Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique that targets the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles, bones, and organs. Practitioners apply sustained pressure to specific areas of tension or restriction in the fascia, using their hands, elbows, or specialized tools. The goal is to release adhesions, improve tissue elasticity, and restore normal movement patterns. As the fascia is manipulated, it can create a stretching sensation or a feeling of release. The technique works to alleviate pain, increase range of motion, and promote overall tissue health by addressing restrictions and imbalances in the myofascial system.


While myofascial release is generally safe, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as acute inflammation, open wounds, or blood clots, should avoid this therapy or consult with a healthcare professional before proceeding. Some people may experience temporary discomfort or soreness after a session, which is usually a normal response to the tissue manipulation. It's essential to communicate with the practitioner about any pain or concerns during the treatment. Results may vary, and multiple sessions may be needed to achieve the desired outcomes. Consistency and regular treatments are often recommended for optimal benefits.

How Much It Costs

The cost of myofascial release therapy can vary depending on the provider, location, and length of the session. On average, a single session can range from $60 to $150 or more. Some practitioners may offer package deals or discounted rates for multiple sessions. It's important to check with individual providers for their specific pricing and payment options. Insurance coverage for myofascial release may vary, so it's advisable to consult with your insurance provider to determine if this therapy is covered under your plan.

Virtual & Online Options

While myofascial release is typically performed in-person by a trained practitioner, there are some virtual or online options available. These may include guided self-myofascial release techniques using foam rollers, massage balls, or other tools, as well as instructional videos or live-streamed classes. Online options can be convenient and cost-effective, allowing individuals to practice techniques at home. However, in-person sessions with a qualified practitioner offer the advantage of personalized treatment, targeted pressure, and real-time feedback. A practitioner can assess the individual's specific needs and adapt the technique accordingly, ensuring safety and effectiveness.


Myofascial release is often performed by licensed massage therapists, physical therapists, or occupational therapists who have undergone additional training in this specific technique. While there is no universally recognized certification for myofascial release, practitioners can pursue specialized courses or workshops to enhance their skills. Organizations such as the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Approach and the Myofascial Release Seminars offer training programs for healthcare professionals. It's important to choose a practitioner who has relevant education, experience, and credentials in myofascial release to ensure safe and effective treatment.

Complementary Practices

Other practices that complement myofascial release include stretching, yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. These practices can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and promote overall relaxation, which can enhance the effectiveness of myofascial release treatments.

Practitioner Types

Myofascial release is typically performed by licensed massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors. These healthcare professionals have received specialized training in myofascial release techniques and can assess and treat individuals with various musculoskeletal conditions.

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  • Q: What is myofascial release?

    • A: Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure to the myofascial connective tissue to eliminate pain and restore motion. This technique aims to release restrictions in the fascia, which can cause pain, tension, and limited mobility.
  • Q: What conditions can myofascial release treat?

    • A: Myofascial release can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, muscle tension, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. It can also help improve posture, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Q: Is myofascial release painful?

    • A: Myofascial release should not be painful, although some individuals may experience mild discomfort during the treatment. The practitioner will apply gentle, sustained pressure to the affected areas, and the intensity can be adjusted based on the individual's tolerance and comfort level.
  • Q: How many myofascial release sessions are needed to see results?

    • A: The number of myofascial release sessions needed varies depending on the individual's condition, severity, and response to treatment. Some people may experience relief after a single session, while others may require multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. Your practitioner will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals.
  • Q: Can I perform myofascial release on myself?

    • A: While it is possible to perform some simple myofascial release techniques on yourself using tools like foam rollers or massage balls, it is recommended to seek treatment from a trained professional for the best results. A qualified practitioner can identify specific areas of restriction and apply the appropriate techniques to address your individual needs.


Myofascial release is a valuable manual therapy technique that can help alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and restore function in individuals with various musculoskeletal conditions. By targeting restrictions in the myofascial connective tissue, this gentle and non-invasive approach promotes healing and relaxation. Myofascial release can be performed by trained massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors, and is often used in conjunction with other complementary practices for optimal results. If you are experiencing chronic pain or limited mobility, consult with a qualified practitioner to determine if myofascial release is right for you.