What is Myofascial Release?
First, you must know what the term fascia means: Fascia is like a pillowcase on a pillow. It is a soft connective tissue that surrounds all the organs, joints, muscles, and muscle fibers in your body. “Myo” means “muscle,” so “myofascial” is the specific connective fascia tissue around your muscles. When it becomes inflamed from trauma, overuse, or sickness, the fascia can constrict around your muscle fibers, causing stiffness and pain.
Thus, myofascial release is a physical therapy technique that aids in pain management and pain elimination from inflammation of the fascia. Myofascial release is not a quick-fix option, and is instead known for long-term rehab. While you can use multiple methods to get the same result from myofascial release, they all contain the same elements: slight pressure is applied to the tight muscle, then slowly stretched and held; once the muscle relaxes, the stretch is incrementally increased and held again. When the full area is relaxed, you move on to the next area in need.
How Does Pilates Help Myofascial Release?
It’s important to first go through the myofascial release process with a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, or other trained individual as they can help guide you through it without injuring yourself. In fact, Pilates for myofascial release not only works for pain relief, but also for increased mobility and range of motion.
5 Essential Pilates Props for Myofascial Release:
The props used during Pilates for myofascial release are:
Foam roller: Using a foam roller is ideal in targeting your full body issues, particularly your back, shoulders, and IT band.
KnotOut: A KnotOut is a cross between a foam roller and a ball as it connects two or more ball shapes together in a roller format to use primarily on your thighs, hips, glutes, hip flexers, and feet.
Pinky Ball: Small and portable, a Pinky Ball is well-known for relieving pain from plantar fasciitis since it’s easy to use on the bottom of your feet. However, due to its size, the Pinky Ball is also great to target release in your shoulders and glutes, too.
Playground Ball: The easy-to-use, inflatable Playground Ball is extremely versatile as it’s used to help relax your hip flexors, psoas muscle, and other muscles around your spine.
Golf balls: Simple, yet incredibly effective (especially for those with plantar fasciitis), using golf balls by rolling them under your feet with slight pressure will instantly show you how much Pilates and Pilates props help with myofascial release.