Myofascial Release

Myofascial release in exeter Topsham

What is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial release is a form of manual therapy used to treat the myofascial tissues, which is a type of connective tissue in the body that covers the muscles. It involves applying gentle sustained pressure to the fascia to relieve pain, reduce tension, and improve mobility. This is typically performed by a therapist using their hands or specific tools.

understanding fascia

Fascia is the continuous 3-dimensional web of strong, often membranous connective tissue, that covers and invests the tissues of every system throughout the body, dividing, penetrating and enveloping muscles, bones, nerves, organs and blood vessels. With the development of medical imaging, we have been able to observe this previously overlooked whole-body system in the living body, and are only now beginning to understand its significance.

The sheets, sheaths, and cords of fascial tissue not only provide the body’s structural integrity, distribute and absorb the strains, forces and mechanical stresses of daily existence, but is also ‘hard-wired’ into the central nervous system. The fascial network is the body’s primary proprioceptive organ, giving constant feedback to the brain about how the body moves, feels and is held in space. When healthy, it is pliable and adaptable, facilitating the sliding and gliding between the tissues of the body to allow uninhibited functional movement.

An adaptive tissue, fascia responds to repetitive movement patterns and postural habit, and is affected by trauma (both physical and emotional), illness, inflammation and infection. It can become dehydrated and the layers of tissue tend to adhere together, creating dysfunction and pain which can have an effect anywhere in this continuous, integrated, body-wide system. This means that pain, restriction and discomfort may have its source far from the site of the symptoms.

MyofasciaL Treatment

We now know that what was considered inert ‘packaging’ tissue is richly embedded with many different types of receptor for the nervous system, each responding to differing stimuli which trigger changes in sensation, pain, and tone.   For this reason, treatment combines various techniques according to each client’s needs. Our therapists use a combination of direct and indirect Myofascial techniques, from slow sustained but gentle pressure and stretch, to more direct, firm soft tissue manipulation, which can be applied to both superficial and deeper layers, to facilitate long-lasting structural and neurological change. Thus, allowing the tissue time to respond and adapt.

With this approach to Myofascial work, Isobel has treated many conditions including; post-operative scarring and pain, acute and chronic pain and injury, discomfort from long-term postural imbalance, stiff and restricted movement in both every day and sporting activities, to name but a few. Treatment has profound and far-reaching effects on both a physical and emotional level as mentioned in some of the comments below.

Myofascial release Evidence

More research in the field of MFR needs to be conducted, that said, Some studies have shown that MFR can have positive effects on pain, range of motion, and muscle function, but more high-quality research is needed to establish clear conclusions. Here are a few examples of relevant studies:

  1. A systematic review of 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found that MFR was effective for reducing pain in individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain (Chaitow, 2003).

  2. A randomized controlled trial of 64 patients with chronic neck pain found that MFR was effective in reducing pain and improving cervical range of motion (Brattberg et al., 2009).

  3. Another randomized controlled trial of 40 individuals with knee osteoarthritis found that MFR was effective in reducing pain and improving knee function (Langevin et al., 2011).

It's important to note that these studies have some limitations, including small sample sizes, short follow-up periods, and a lack of standardization in MFR techniques. Further high-quality research is needed to establish clear conclusions about the efficacy of MFR.


  • Chaitow, L. (2003). Clinical application of myofascial trigger point therapy. Churchill Livingstone.
  • Brattberg, G., Selem, S., & Sjölund, B. (2009). Effects of myofascial trigger point manual therapy in patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of rehabilitation medicine, 41(6), 419-428.
  • Langevin, H. M., Sherman, K. J., Wu, G., Taatjes, D. J., & Butler, D. S. (2011). Connective tissue: a body-wide signaling network?. Medical hypotheses, 76(5), 662-669.

Read our Reviews on myofascial release

“My treatment was so good I could gel my hair again after only one session” Mr. BM (shoulder injury)

“A wonderful treatment that cleared a neck problem that I’d had for 4 months!” Mrs JN

“After a year and a half of being in on and off pain, I had myofascial release treatment. It worked incredibly well for me, after each treatment I could feel my body moving better and combined with your excellent stretches I am now at the point where I am never in pain and if I have a tweak I know that if the stretching alone doesn’t help the treatment will.” Mrs. AS

“I have to be honest, what Isobel does feels odd but is very effective!” Ms. LM

“Isobel Ravden is a very talented therapist with the rare ability to combine both her comprehensive knowledge of anatomy and her intuition to treat the root cause of injuries. She seamlessly combines her bodywork skills including myofascial manipulation to relieve pain, increase mobility and enhance overall well being. In just 3 sessions my chronic shoulder injury which has been causing issues for over 10 years, has improved immeasurably. I cannot recommend her highly enough.” Ms EG

“Isobel seems to have a sixth sense and can find the spot that needs work when even I can’t say precisely. Her myofascial work has helped me tremendously.” Ms PT

“It feels like the knots in my muscles are being gently unravelled.” Mr WH

“As a chiropractor of over 25 years, I can thoroughly endorse the myofascial manipulation techniques Isobel uses. I have been a long term sufferer from gout and osteoarthritis affecting my knees in particular – I believed my days on the slopes were over – I actually gave my skis away. Isobel’s treatment has enabled me to keep skiing, helping to manage persistent pain and swelling. It seems to improve lymphatic drainage as well as free up the movement in my joints, and for my conditions has been more effective than any other treatment.” Mr. DH

“This is unlike any other massage treatment I’ve had – you can feel it work without it being painful. It sometimes feels like you’ve taken a drug – it definitely changes your mental state as well as your body” Ms. T

“The Myofascial work I have with Isobel is amazing – even when she seems to be doing very little, it feels as if the movement and change deep inside is massive. You can really feel the connectedness of everything in the whole body. Everyone should try it!” Mrs. AR

“You can feel things unwinding and changing during a session. Isobel might be working on my calf and I might feel something responding in my hip, or somewhere else in my body – it’s weird but really interesting and definitely effective. She also seems to understand what’s going on in my body which is reassuring, and she explains things very clearly. Over the last couple of years of regular treatment, I’d say that the Myofascial manipulation seems to speed up my recovery from injuries, but it has also really helped me to understand my own body better – where I’m tight or weak, and I’ve been able with Isobel’s help to train and stretch differently which I’m sure has helped prevent more injury. I feel I can look after my body better, and meet the demands of all of the sports I want to do – mostly football, squash and cycling” Mr. TW

“That treatment was truly amazing. I could feel old injuries throughout my body responding” Mrs. MB

“ I’ve had sports massage on and off over the years to fix a recurring tennis elbow condition. The last time it flared up, it wasn’t enough to sort it and someone recommended Isobel’s treatment to me as the last port of call when all else had failed. It was less painful than I was used to, but Isobel finds the knots and gets rid of them without the pummelling! I’ve had none of the same problems since, and we are now working on older issues with posture and overuse. It would save a lot of time, money and pain if this treatment were the first resort not the last!” Mr. MH

“MFR is supporting me through a stressful period of my life, and helping relieve some of the symptoms of stress such as fatigue and digestive problems. It also, in a way that I can’t explain, is helping me emotionally to face difficult feelings, release them and move forward.

It is unlike any massage I have had before. In my experience, when Isobel applies pressure to one area e.g. my back, I feel an internal stretching or pulling in another area e.g. my stomach. It can feel uncomfortable at times but is also deeply relaxing.” Mrs NC

“Gentle yet powerful – amazing relief when my arm was broken and trapped in a cast! I discovered that the treatment worked a lot deeper than the physical level, it helped me to begin to release not only old physical trauma but the emotional aspects of it that had been ‘locked’ away.” Ms GB

“The work Isobel has done with me over the past year on myofascial release has been so powerful. You approached my deep rooted emotional holding so gently and carefully and allowed my muscles to feel safe to release their story. All the pain I experienced in my hip which was so debilitating has completely left me since our last session and I can tell that my body is now regularly releasing more off my old emotional holding and I am living in a much stronger more positive place.” Ms. JH

“I had no idea of how beneficial the effects of MFR treatment would be.MFR is a subtle technique but that does not diminish its power and effect. Several complaints arising from  trauma and other causes have hugely improved during my treatments. Isobel is an extremely skilled practitioner and her precise knowledge of anatomy and physiology makes you feel very confident and safe during the treatment.” Mrs. AM



Isobel Ravden

Myofascial Release