Myofascial Release Therapy

A manual therapy that involves applying sustained pressure to myofascial connective tissue to relieve pain and restore motion.


Myofascial Release Therapy is a type of manual therapy that focuses on releasing tension and tightness in the myofascial connective tissues. These tissues surround and support the muscles throughout the body. Practitioners use sustained pressure and stretching techniques to gently manipulate the restricted fascia, aiming to eliminate pain, improve flexibility, and restore range of motion. This holistic approach addresses the source of chronic pain and tension, promoting healing and balanced alignment in the body's connective tissue network.

Did you know?

Well Me Right offers thousands of virtual and online health and wellness sessions from wellness experts, health coaches, and other holistic health and fitness professionals.

Browse and book a FREE discovery session with the world’s leading wellness experts & get advice over a video call.


Myofascial Release Therapy traces its origins to the 1940s when osteopathic physician Janet G. Travell began exploring the role of fascial restrictions in musculoskeletal pain. In the 1960s, physical therapist John F. Barnes further developed and popularized the technique. Barnes recognized that traditional massage and stretching often failed to address the root cause of chronic pain and postural imbalances. He refined the manual therapy approach to target the myofascial connective tissue system directly. Throughout the following decades, Myofascial Release Therapy gained recognition as an effective treatment for various conditions, attracting practitioners and patients seeking alternative solutions to persistent pain and dysfunction.


  1. Pain Relief Myofascial Release Therapy can effectively alleviate chronic pain by targeting the root cause of tension in the connective tissues.
  2. Improved Flexibility By releasing restrictions in the fascia, this therapy can enhance flexibility and range of motion in the affected areas.
  3. Better Posture Addressing myofascial imbalances can lead to improved posture, reducing strain on the muscles and joints.
  4. Reduced Stress The gentle, sustained pressure used in Myofascial Release Therapy can promote relaxation and lower stress levels.
  5. Enhanced Circulation Releasing fascial restrictions can improve blood and lymphatic circulation, promoting healing and overall well-being.
  6. Scar Tissue Healing Myofascial Release Therapy can help break down scar tissue and adhesions, restoring normal tissue function.
  7. Complementary Treatment This therapy can effectively complement other treatments, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, for a comprehensive approach to healing.

How It Works

Myofascial release therapy is a manual technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure to the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The fascia, a thin tissue covering the muscles, can become restricted due to overuse, trauma, inactivity, or inflammation, putting pressure on nerves and muscles, leading to pain and limited mobility. A therapist locates myofascial 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 to reduced pain and increased flexibility.


While generally considered safe, there are some cautions and considerations with myofascial release therapy. Some people may experience temporary increases in pain or discomfort during or just after treatment, often described as a "healing crisis" that resolves quickly. Mild bruising can occur from the manual techniques, but should dissipate. Those with very sensitive skin or a history of physical trauma may be more susceptible to bruising or discomfort. For some chronic conditions involving pain or dysfunction, multiple sessions may be needed to achieve optimal results. As with any manual therapy, it's crucial to communicate with your therapist about your experience during the treatment, especially if anything is painful. Myofascial release is not recommended for those with certain conditions like open wounds, burns, fractures, or deep vein thrombosis.

How Much It Costs

Costs for myofascial release therapy can vary depending on your location, the provider's experience level, and length of session. In general, a 30 to 90 minute session can range from approximately $50 to $200 or more. Some insurance plans may cover it if deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. Packages of multiple sessions may be offered at a discount. Checking with your insurance provider and the specific practitioner can give you the most accurate cost information for your situation.

Virtual & Online Options

As a manual, hands-on therapy, myofascial release is most effectively performed in person. However, some practitioners may offer virtual sessions to guide you through self-myofascial release techniques using props like foam rollers or massage balls. While this can be helpful for maintenance between sessions or for those without access to a local practitioner, it may not be as effective as in-person treatment, especially for more complex issues. Virtually, the therapist cannot feel the nuances in your tissues or adjust pressure and technique in real-time. For optimal results, especially for chronic pain or limited mobility, in-person sessions with a skilled practitioner are recommended when possible.


While specific licensure for practicing myofascial release therapy varies by location and profession, practitioners will generally have a license or certification in a field such as massage therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Additional specialized training in myofascial release techniques is available through various professional organizations and schools, such as the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Approach®, Myofascial Release Seminars, or the Upledger Institute. While not always required, such specialized training can indicate a practitioner's level of expertise in this specific modality. When seeking a provider, it's advisable to inquire about their relevant training and experience in myofascial release therapy techniques.

Complementary Practices

Complementary practices that pair well with myofascial release therapy include: stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion, massage therapy to further relax tight muscles, acupuncture to stimulate healing and reduce pain, yoga to enhance body awareness and alignment, and heat therapy (such as using a heating pad) to boost circulation and relax tissues before treatment sessions.

Practitioner Types

Myofascial release therapy is typically provided by licensed massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and osteopathic physicians. These practitioners have specialized training in manipulating soft tissues and understanding the interconnectedness of the musculoskeletal system. Some athletic trainers, sports medicine doctors, and bodyworkers also incorporate myofascial release techniques into their treatment approaches.

Are you an expert?

Turn your knowledge into impact & income and share your expertise, grow, and improve lives. Become a Wellness Expert on Well Me Right.

Offer paid wellness sessions for 1:1 virtual coaching and support and connect with wellness-seeking individuals on Well Me Right.


  • Q: What is myofascial release therapy?

    • A: Myofascial release therapy is a manual therapy technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure to myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The 'myo' refers to muscle, while 'fascia' is the connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs.
  • Q: What are the benefits of myofascial release therapy?

    • A: Myofascial release therapy can help alleviate pain, improve range of motion, reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, enhance flexibility, and promote relaxation. It is particularly beneficial for treating chronic pain conditions, muscle imbalances, and restrictive scar tissue.
  • Q: Is myofascial release therapy painful?

    • A: While some individuals may experience mild discomfort during myofascial release therapy, the technique itself should not be painful. The practitioner applies gentle, sustained pressure to the affected areas, and the intensity can be adjusted based on the client's tolerance and feedback. Most people find the treatment to be deeply relaxing.
  • Q: How many sessions of myofascial release therapy do I need?

    • A: The number of sessions required varies depending on the individual's condition, severity of symptoms, and response to treatment. Some people experience significant relief after just one session, while others may need several sessions to achieve optimal results. Your practitioner will assess your progress and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
  • Q: Can I perform myofascial release on myself at home?

    • A: While it is best to receive myofascial release therapy from a trained practitioner, there are some self-myofascial release techniques you can do at home to supplement your treatment. These include using a foam roller, massage balls, or other tools to apply pressure to tight or painful areas. However, for best results and to avoid potential injury, it is recommended to consult with a qualified practitioner first.


Myofascial release therapy is a valuable manual therapy technique that can provide significant relief for individuals suffering from chronic pain, muscle tension, and restricted range of motion. By targeting the complex network of fascia that surrounds and supports our muscles and organs, skilled practitioners can help release restrictions, promote healing, and improve overall physical function. Combining myofascial release with complementary practices such as stretching, massage, and yoga can further enhance its benefits. If you are considering myofascial release therapy, be sure to consult with a qualified practitioner to determine if it is right for you and to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals.