Self-myofascial release tools are emerging a lot and have gained popularity in terms of their effectiveness and ease of usability. These tools are pretty affordable and require no prior experience or knowledge to use, reading the products manual is just enough for you to start giving yourself or someone a release in strain and tension in their muscles or joints via these tools.
The myofascial techniques have been used from medieval times in china which were known as gua-shua, which meant to eliminate bad chi (pain, strain, sprain, etc.) from the body via applying these tools. Later on, this technique was used as a foundation to build these myofascial release tools. Techniques like IASTM are very effective in alleviating your muscle tightness and tension knots in tissue, tendons and ligaments.
Also read: 10 ways how to get rid of muscle pain
What are myofascial release tools
Myofascial release tools are tools with pointed or sharp edges that directly stimulate onto your trigger points or area of pain, tenderness. Which can be anywhere in your body, e.g., back, legs, neck, shoulders, etc. These tools are generally made up of rubber, plastic, metal, ceramics.
These come in different shapes and sizes according to your area of application. Nowadays many automatic or machine-based myofascial release tools have come up in the market, which is super convenient and does not require you to apply force and pressure to your trigger points and making your fascia (tissue) looser and more flexible.
How myofascial release tools work
These tools work on the simple principle of applying pressure to your trigger points and induce local inflammation. This in turn produces many cofactors and agents which help in healing the pain, tightness, or knot in the particular fascia. In short, it is a local area treatment technique. The most advantages are observed when combined with similar techniques like massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and some over-the-counter pain relief drugs like ibuprofen.
You can go to a myofascial release therapist or do it by yourself if you are reachable to your trigger area. You can kickstart your healing process by applying manual pressure with the tools. These tools also help remove knots and tension in your muscles by activating the blood flow to the area. The following video demonstrates how to use myofascial release tools.
How to use myofascial release tool
Who should use these tools
Anyone who faces any of the following issues can use the myofascial release tools. These help themselves in alleviating their degree of pain and to heal the symptoms entirely in a short time and without any medical intervention.
1. Muscle pain and tenderness – This is a common issue in middle-aged and old-aged people, which can aggravate at any point of time in life. Due to active life and a poor diet, these pains can occur; with the help of myofascial release tools we can cope up with these muscle pain and tenderness.
2. Restricted range of motion – If you have a limited range of motion in any joint or tendons, myofascial tools are for you.
3. Strain, sprain in tissue – Common strains and sprains in your tissue can create a problem for you in any physical activity. You can alleviate or even put a stop to those with these tools.
4. Injury-related pain – If you are suffering from any injury-related pain or an old injury, which keeps on aggravating after some time. Then myofascial release tools are what you are looking for.
5. Stiffness – These days rigidity in the body is a common issue. Many young and middle-aged people also face stiffness due to desk jobs and lack of body mobility. Myofascial tools will give you relief from your stiffness and are a tool to correct modern lifestyle common body pain-related problems.
6. Tingling sensation – do you often feel tingling in your arms or legs, this is a sign of restricted blood flow, Myofascial release tools work wonders on these.
7. Bruises – If you have bruises due to injury which are not healing after trying rest, or every available solution, then myofascial tools are for you.
8. General massage alternative – In this era, no one gives time to self-massage, which might create a problem in the future. Self-care is vital, and if you cannot afford or don’t have time for monthly massages then myofascial tools are the best friends of yours
9. High work intensity jobs – Doing a rigorous muscle and energy-consuming job could drain strength and weaken your body. Myofascial tools can help in healing your body and provide you with the energy levels you need.
10. Sportspeople, athletes, and bodybuilders – Sportsmen, athletes, and other fitness-related games require you to put so much of your body and energy into it. Hence you have a fair chance of exhausting your body. Myofascial tools come into play to assist your hard work so that your body does not collapse in the field and to make you stronger.
Effectiveness and benefits of myofascial release tools
Myofascial release tools are super effective when it comes to vanishing your fascia pains many pieces of evidence in the form of real-life experiences and studies have come up to support the fact of their efficacy and performance. The following research shows the effectiveness of myofascial release tools in terms of pain relief in the lower back, neck area in patients compared to those who were not given the therapy. Another study shows the benefits of a foam roller on the range of motion and pain thresholds of subjects in post-physical training.
The following are the benefits of myofascial release tools.
- Preventive measure for injuries – Myofascial tools help by preventing your muscles from injuries. They strengthen up your tissue and make them able to bear small levels of strains and pulls.
- Faster recovery of muscle or tissue injury – If you are indulged into a workout regime or any sports or athletics, your muscles and tissues might get injured at any point. Myofascial release tools are easy to apply to yourself and can help you with faster recovery.
- Reduced soreness in muscles – While working out or after a rigorous sports game, your flesh and body will get sore and hinder your body to fully function in the next game/session. These tools will help you in alleviating your soreness.
- Relieving muscle pain and tension – Any sort of muscle pain and stress from your past injury or an unknown event can decrease the quality of life. It creates a problem for you to focus on. Using NSAIDs is not enough in buckling up to tackle it; myofascial release therapy and tools are your best companion in assisting you in vanishing this pain.
- ROM and mobility improvement – Your body might not be able to fully extend in some parts and have a lower range of motion as we age this is a common issue, our overall mobility also decreases, Myofascial tools are proven in increasing your range of motion and flexibility at particular areas where you feel a restriction.
- Increase blood flow and circulation – myofascial release tools, when applied, create an positive environment in your body. In turn, this increases the vesicles in size at that particular application area and leads to increased blood flow and circulation. Which is very effective in removing knots and healing that specific region.
- Improvement in orthopedic disorders – If you are suffering from an orthopedic disorder and heavily rely on medicines or therapies, then adding myofascial release tools might help a lot. Studies suggest its effect in lowering the pain and severity of the disorder.
Types of myofascial tools and which one is best for you?
1. Home tools – These are tools that are present in your home and can be used as myofascial release tools set these include a tennis ball, Foam roller, Self-massage stick.
2. Trigger point massagers – These tools can be purchased online at affordable prices. These are super effective in relieving pain and strains in your muscles following are some of the best trigger point massagers.
3. Balls – These are specialized inflatable balls or hardened balls which when gently applied onto your trigger area works very effectively, and even this study shows its efficacy on deep tissue tension release with its application.
4. IASTM tools – These are the most effective of all and fall under myofascial scraping tools, but also require some level of expertise. These have the fastest recovery rate and are based on the Graston technique and Graston tools which is a trademark therapeutic method for treating all sorts of skeletal and tissue-related problems, To know more about this technique in detail click here.
5. Machine-based tools – These are the most recent and come with many benefits like automatic force application, easy application, little to no human intervention need, and more effective than manual therapy. The market is flooded with so many of these tools hence do proper research before making your move.
6. Creams/oils – Last but not least is not a tool but a cream or oil which acts as a lubricant onto your skin before applying a myofascial release tool to avoid any hard marks from the tools or reduce the severity of bruises. These creams and oils also induce thermic effects to enhance the therapeutic effects and soothe your muscles internally. You can use pure oil like coconut oil or some specialized oil.
1. Pregnant women – Pregnant women should avoid using these tools, especially near the abdomen or back area.
2. Implants pacemakers, internal defibrillator – Anyone having an electronic implant like pacemakers, defibrillators must avoid these tools and consult their doctors before using these tools.
3. Blood clot issues – Anyone facing a blood clot must consult their doctors before using these tools, especially if you have a blood clot in your veins.
4. Carotoid sinus – This is a problem related to low shear stress in your internal carotid artery. When tools are applied near to (neck area) can cause issues like dropping your blood pressure.
5. Blood pressure issues – If you face hypertension or face low blood pressure, then these tools might interrupt your blood pressure levels. Proper medication and doctor consultancy before using these tools is a must.
6. Muscle atrophy/dystrophy – Any form of disease related to muscle loss or weakening of muscle tissue like AIDS, ALS, Muscle dystrophy, should consult a doctor before using these tools.
Long story short if you face any tissue, joint, muscle-related pain, or stiffness in your body then myofascial release tools are your first line of defense. The early you start, the easier and faster would be the healing. Not only for pain but individuals requiring general body massage or for muscle injury prevention one can also use these tools. The myofascial release tools are super effective for old-age people; you can use them along with other massage techniques. These include but are not limited to chiropractic, cupping, acupuncture, cryotherapy, and IASTM to get the most benefits out of these newly emerging techniques. Cupping therapy is also known to be effective. Still, there is a lack of substantial evidence for their effectiveness. All the tools mentioned above are checked and reviewed by many professionals, and regular application of these tools will provide the most benefits.
Also read: IASTM tools – Complete guide and benefits