The myofascial release approach is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat muscle dysfunction and resulting pain and restriction of motion. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow.
As in most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. In this way, the cycle creates a positive feedback loop and can result in decreased blood flow, decreased oxygen supply and somatic dysfunction even in the absence of the original offending agent. Myofascial techniques aim to break this cycle through a variety of methods acting on multiple stages of the cycle.