Out With The Old, In With The New - Modern MFR
Pain awareness month is coming to an end, and I hope that you have enjoyed our social media posts highlighting how we experience pain.
After I completed my degree and postgraduate certificate in pain science and theory, I thought that I would have the answers to the multitude of questions I had particularly surrounding the perception of pain and somatosensation (the processing of touch, proprioceptive and nociceptive input. However, frustratingly, this was not the case and my university education only highlighted even more questions.
What happens when we touch? This is the perpetual question which has plagued our profession for decades. If we don’t have a full and comprehensive understanding of how myofascial release (MFR), or any manual therapy, works, how do we know that it will help our clients?
On one hand, the anecdotal evidence (the evidence we have as therapists of our clients getting better) offers valuable reassurance that what we do makes a difference. I know that I have helped hundreds if not thousands of clients with a variety of complaints and as a result, I have no hesitation in continuing to both offer MFR as a treatment and as a valuable skill to learn.
However, there are many outdated explanations surrounding the roles and responsibilities of the fascial system and how the fasciae are thought to be affected with MFR that require attention. It is time to let go of the old paradigms and appreciate the new science and theory of the fascia and the power of touch. Key also is understanding how pain manifests as chronic pain is not always because of a tissue issue. As result, this shift towards neurobiological processing, amongst others, can progress our profession to becoming an even more valuable component of healthcare.
This transition of leaving the outdated and incomplete narrative (the story surrounding how we think MFR works) is challenging for many therapists. For the almost 2 decades, fascia has been heralded as the ‘Cinderella of the orthopaedic science’ (Schleip, Fascia: Tensional Network of the Human Body 2022, pp. xvii) and sensationalised as ‘the missing link in traditional therapy’ with other such phrases as the ‘forgotten tissue’ and ‘ignored tissue’. It has been elevated to dizzy heights where it is blessed and blamed for almost everything. Despite many social media posts, it is not all about the fascia. I suggest that air, water, and food are a better fit for that description. However, fascia science is valuable and helps us understanding the human body but learning more about fascia is not the same as understanding how we may be able to ‘treat’ it.
Every day seems to be a ‘schoolie’. There is always more to learn. I am constantly evolving as an MFR therapists and tutor. I regularly update what and how we teach. Recently, someone said that I (MFR UK) only teach the indirect approach to MFR and it was just the lighter style of MFR which they felt was inappropriate. This person could not be more wrong as it is abundantly clear in my book ‘A Hands-On Guide to Myofascial Release’ that MFR is an integration of many different styles of manual therapy. Additionally, I have always taught an integrated approach to myofascial therapy and offered an Advanced Clinical Diploma in Integrated Myofascial Therapy (ADipiMFT) for over 10 years and now also the Certificate in Integrated Myofascial Therapy (CiMFT). I trademarked iMFT 10 years ago as a certificated logo meaning that those who used the logo were promoting that they had been trained and assessed at a specific standard of education. This standard has been maintained and if anything, increased. In my opinion, separating MFR into direct and indirect only perpetuates the myth that one technique is better than another. This is not the case and suggests the therapist directs the treatment when in fact, a skilled MFR therapist remains client centred allowing the client’s body to respond to the right style and pressure of MFR for them.
Our MFR courses offer the current fascia science and theory as well as the current research and evidence of what we think happens when we provide MFR. The value of MFR is in how techniques are applied. When you only learn techniques, you are limited with what you can provide. But when we teach you a concept, techniques are limitless. This is how we have built our reputation as a quality and leading training provider with 2 decades of experience and skill.
Why not join us on our next MFR workshops and learn amazing skills that will provide powerful results. You will love learning MFR!
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