Myofascia- What it is, Why it is Important for Your Health and How to Treat it with Self Massage

The Myofascia

 1. What is It

Fascia or myofascia is the dense, tough tissue which surrounds and covers all of your muscles and bones. This outer fascial covering is very strong and very flexible. In fact, it has a tensile strength of over 2000 pounds.

Under a microscope, myofascia resembles a spider web or fish net. It is very organized and very flexible in a healthy state.

Myofascia can best be described as a complete body suit which runs from the top of your head down to the bottom of your toes. It is continuous, has no beginning or end and can be found almost everywhere in your body. Like yarn in a sweater the entire body is connected to every other part of the body by the fascia. It is a continuous weave of material. And, like a pull in a sweater, damage to an area of fascia can affect other distant areas in your body even years later.

 2. Why the Myofascia Is Important for your Health

In the normal healthy state the fascia is relaxed and soft. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When you experience physical trauma or inflammation the fascia loses its pliability. It can become tight, restricted and a source of tension throughout the rest of the body and a number of health related problems can result;

  • Headaches
  • Generalized Muscle pain and spasms
  • Chronic back and neck pain
  • Re-aggravation of  previous  injuries
  • Sciatica and the sensations such as numbness and pins and needles
  • Restrictive Breathing
  • Poor posture and reduced flexibility


Things that can cause this once flexible tissue to become too tight are:

  • Inflammation
  • Traumas, such as a falls, sport or work injuries  or car accident
  • Poor posture
  • Lack of stretching
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Emotional/psychological stress
  • Repetitive motions, such as factory work or keyboarding


3. Treating the Myofascia

Myofascial Release ( Self-Massage)

Myofascial Release is an effective therapy that can effectively treat tough, tight myofascial tissue and improve its health by making it more relaxed, pliable and soft.

Myofascial Release is applied directly on the body and uses slow deep pressure to restore the proper health of the fascia. The pressure should never be beyond your tolerance and you may experience a slight tingling or burning sensation in the skin, which is perfectly normal and safe.

The purpose of Myofascial Release techniques is to help to relax and lengthen tight myofascial tissue.  Since the myofasica is interconnected throughout the body treating or relaxing one area of the body may have positive affects in another area. For example, relaxing the myofascia in the hips and low back may help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders which in turn may have been causing shoulder and neck restriction and headaches.

SMRT-Core Self-Myofascial Release

This is the process of using the SMRT-Core Grid to massage targeted muscles and fascia to improve soft tissue elasticity.  Other benefits of self-myofascial release include;

  • Removal of waste by-products (via blood) to facilitate tissue recovery and repair.
  • Increase neural stimulation
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve proper contraction of muscle tissue


SMRT-Core Grid



Guidelines  for Safe Effective Use of the Grid

1. Discomfort – Mild to moderate discomfort is common when beginning self-myofascial release. Discomfort will decrease over time as normal length-tension relationship is restored.

2. Control of Grid – It is important to maintain an adequate amount of pressure on the grid so the grid will not shift during the massage movement.

3. Grid Placement – AVOID grid placement on;

– bony structures

-the neck

– joints

– inside the upper arm

-any bruised areas of the body

4. Breathing – Connect the breath to each movement and focus on complete inhales and exhales

5. Proper body positioning and technique – for maximum effectiveness the grid must be positioned as illustrated and movement must occur as described.


Contraindications for use of the Grid

  • Large bruises
  • Phlebitis
  • Severe varicose veins
  • Open wounds
  • Undiagnosed lumps
  • Skin infections
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer of the bones
  • Pregnancy – lower back and adductor regions

General rule – never us the grid over joints or bony prominences or inside of the upper arms


SMRT-Core Self Myofascial Release Positions


Supine (face up);

1. Calf

2. Hamstring

3. High Hamstring

4. Glutes

5. Piriformis

6. Mid to upper back

Side Lying;

7. Side plank – Peroneals

8. Angled Side Plank – IT band and Vastus Lateralis

9. Tensor Fascia Lata (lateral Hip)

10. Latissimus Dorsi

Prone (face down);

11. Anterior/Lateral Shin – Anterior Tibialis

12. Quadriceps

13. Adductors- Groins and Vastus Medialis

14. Pectorials


Key points:

1. Never us the grid over joints or bony prominences or inside of the upper arms.

2. All movements (rolling) are done slowly with gentle to deep pressure for a count of 10.

3. Focus on deep controlled breathing which is in rhythm with your rolling.

3. If you find a sensitive spot you may apply pressure with the grid over this spot for 10 to 30 sec.

4. Correct posture and positioning of the grid is necessary for effective results.

5. It will take practice to learn how to perform each movement correctly.


Supine (face up) Position

1. CalfBody position:Basic:

-seated with one leg straight on the grid in front of you & other bent at knee and foot planted on the floor.

-hands on floor beside or slightly behind the hips

– body leans slightly back

Grid Position:

– at lower end of calf where it attaches to Achilles tendon


– Flex and extend the knee of the leg on the grid


Body Position:

– both legs are straight and on the grid


– Lift hips off the floor and move hips back and forth





2. HamstringBody Position:-seated with both legs on grid

Grid Position:

-Half way between lower buttocks and knee


– Lift hips off the floor and move hips back and forth so grid moves over hamstrings

3. High HamstringBody position:


-seated with one leg straight and other leg knee bent and foot on ground






–  Other leg in hurdler position


Grid Position:

– Beneath lengthened leg at base of glute



-small rolling of grid through high hamstring



4. GlutesBody Position:-seated with one buttocks on grid with knee bent and other  legs knee bent in figure 4 position over other knee


Both Buttocks on grid

-lean slightly back with hands supporting you on the floor

Grid Position:

-in middle of one or both buttocks


-roll back and forth between iliac crest(top bony rim of the pelvis) and “sit bone” in lower buttocks





5. PiriformisBody Position:Basic:

–  One hip is seated on grid with lower leg on or off floor & other legs knee bent and foot on the floor

–  Laterally shift slightly

–  Body leans back slightly with hands behind and supporting you.


-no supporting leg. Legs are on top of each other, off the floor and bent at the knees

Grid position:

–  lateral over the area of the buttocks that your back pocket would be at


–  push hips back and forth through the lateral region of the glutes




6. Mid to Upper BackBody Position:– lying on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor hips off ground

Grid Position:

– under the body midway between top of lumbar spine and lower shoulder blades


– using your feet move back and forth with grid moving from top of lumbar spine to mid shoulder blade area



Side Lying Position

7. PeronealsBody Position:-side plank position with elbow directly underneath the shoulder


-top leg foot in front of body on the ground


1. Top leg on top of bottom leg

2. Lift top leg up from bottom leg

Grid Position:

-between ankle and knee on lateral portion of lower leg


– push body away from supporting elbow 2-3 inches so grid rolls along the peroneals

Note– hip can stay on ground if side plank position is too difficult.



8. Angled Side Plank- IT band and Vastus LateralisBody Position:IT Band:

side plank position and elbow underneath shoulder

Vastus Lateralis:

side plank position with body rotated 10- 20° towards floor and elbow underneath shoulder

Grid Position:

– between hip and knee on lateral portion of thigh


-push body away from elbow 2-3 inches and grid moves along the IT band or Vastus Lateralis

9. Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL)Body Position:-side plank position with elbow underneath the shoulder

Grid Position:

– on lateral side of hip between upper rim of iliac crest and hip bone


-push body away from elbow 1-2 inches (very small movement) so grid moves along TFL.


10. Latissimus DorsiBody Position:– lying laterally on hip and outstretched on floor, top foot planted in front of body

– bottom arm extended beyond the top of the head

Grid Position:

-beneath the latissimus region just below arm pit


– draw lower shoulder toward lower hip


raise upper shoulder toward upper hip

Both movements will  allow the  grid to roll through latissimus region

Prone (Face Down) Position

11. Tibialis AnteriorBody Position:–  front plank with elbows or elbows underneath the shoulder

-toes are rotated in


Grid Position:

– grid on one leg or both legs

–  just below the knees and just lateral to the shins



– bend the knees toward chest (reverse crunch movement


– push body away from elbow 2-3 inches so grid moves along the Tibialis Anterior


12. QuadricepsBody Position:– Prone plank position, elbows planted directly beneath shoulders

Grid Position:


-on quads 2-3 inches above the knees


–  push body away from elbows, 2-3 inches which allows grid to roll through quads region with knees extended


Advanced Position:

1. Both knees bent

2. One knee bent and off the grid and resting on ground in fig. 4 position

Basic and Advanced





13. Adductors and Vastus MedialisBody Position:– Prone position lying on forearms

– one hip externally rotated with knee drawn towards hip


Grid Position:

– grid perpendicular to thigh beneath inner portion of bent leg between hip and knee



– move bent leg away and toward the body so grid moves through adductor and Vastus Medialis (near the knee) region

14. Pectoralis Major/MinorBody Position:-lying prone with one arm extended out halfway between straight laterally and directly over your head.

Grid Position:

– lying beneath the pectoralis (chest) muscle perpendicular to the angle of the extended arm


– move body 1-2 inches so grid rolls toward shoulder and back (small movement)


If you’d like more info please contact Mike.

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