Pull a grapefruit off a tree. Try to squeeze the juice out of it. Kind of hard to get much juice.
Place the grapefruit in your sink or on the counter and slowly, steadily, apply a little more pressure as you roll it, feel it become pliable, and Whalla, juice flows like a faucet out of that grapefruit. Myofascial Release!!
Myofascial release, in a sentence, is the undoing of connective tissue binding that occurs naturally when layers of connective tissue are in poor position/contact for extended periods of time. Explaining the process of the binding (adhesion) and release is much more involved. I teach this topic as a CEC.
I attended 4 workshops with Michol Dalcourt yesterday, all with fascia as a key element of the discussion.
He had an interesting comment on foam rolling. Myofascia develops along lines of stress, and to remodel it by changing movement patterns and setting down new fascial lines can take 6 to 12 months. Although rolling will push fluids into and out of tissue (which is good, because fascia relies on fluid to be less ‘sticky’), we have to be careful with our promises of what foam rolling can do. It generally does not separate fascial layers.
Right on Jeremy. It is, in my opinion, one of those terms that has worked its way into fitness jargon that makes physiologic and anatomic process much more complicated than it really is. Static stretching, after a vigorous cardiovascular workout (to elevate the temperature in the mileau of the target area(s)) is by far the most effective way to increase the range of motion about a target joint (hip, shoulder, etc.)