I was back in class recently, for the first time in awhile. Myofascial Techniques for Plantar Fascitis.
Working with myofascial release is endlessly interesting. It’s simultaneously both simple and complex. The fascia (connective tissue) weaves throughout the body, providing both structure and fluidity; motion and stability. Understanding the fascial system brings insight into a vast array of conditions and ailments, often linking seemingly unrelated body parts through this complex web of connective tissue.
For example, in treating plantar fascitis, (a thickening of the connective tissue on the soles of the feet that causes pain when walking), from a perspective of myofascial release we want to work not only on the plantar fascia itself, but the fascia on the ankles, legs, even the hips.
Lying on the treatment table in class, I breathed deeply as another student worked on my calf muscles. My calves are so sensitive. It’s not an area I enjoy having released. But my class partner was good, very good; and he easily and gently released the connective tissue, stretching the soleis muscle, the thin flat muscle that connects to the achilles tendon.
This was a technique called “deep mobilization”. It’s one of the deeper, more intense techniques of myofascial release (many forms of which are very gentle). This one was not so easy, not so gentle; but it was okay. I breathed. I could breathe through it.
Driving home that night through the Franklin Hills of Los Feliz, admiring the city lights, I felt a strange sense of lightness. Happiness. Ease. And I felt it distinctly connected to the muscles in my calves that had been released.
Emotional release through massage and myofascial work is extremely common. The body holds memories, emotion, stored in it’s cells (reference). When deep, chronic tension patterns are released, emotional holding patterns can be released as well.
Commonly, this comes in the form of painful memories surfacing. And yet that night, I experienced something different. It was as if a sense of the easiness, the lightness, the freedom of life had somehow been locked away. Protected? And releasing old muscle restrictions allowed me to tap in to a feeling I had not felt in some time. A feeling of ease. It’s all going to be okay.
Hiking, the day after class, I hit my usual trails up the steep hills of Griffith Park. I’m conscious of allowing my foot to pronate, rolling gently and easily inward. It feels easy. What’s more, it feels like there is more spring in my step. Like my foot automatically launches me forward.
I can feel the difference all the way up to the connections at my hips. There is less strain on the outer hip; more of a balance all the way across to my adductors & inner thighs.