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Myofascial training and taping

B2B Magazine
Fascial Movement Training and Taping (FMT) stimulates fascial structures and connections in relation to one another taking into account all the currently known properties of fasciae…

There are continuous connections between the individual fasciae and different layers of connective tissue. Naturally, the levels that have to be differentiated have different properties, features and physiological compositions. But the fascia always remains a unit.

One important consideration is that there is the superficial fascia just below the skin, which is a loose connective tissue, among other things with many fat cells, (subcutaneous) and is like a natural suit around the whole body.

Underneath this is another fascia layer, the deep fascia, which is much stronger and stiffer than the superficial system due to its composition. This layer is not all over the body, but can only be found where the body needs this additional tension.

Even further down there are the muscle fasciae, the epimysium, perimysium and endomysium, which also structurally communicate with the periosteum down to the bone. There are also the meningeal fasciae that surround and guide the proximal nerves in the central nervous system.

The muscle fasciae of individual muscles are also connected underneath each other in dominant meridians which run throughout the whole human body in various courses.

The fascial connective tissue sections have to always be able to slide and move against each other. Otherwise they may thicken in structure, tear and/or send the wrong signals to our central nervous system, which are perceived as pain and restricted movement.

Healthy fasciae

The fascia has to constantly renew and replace bound and unbound water in its aqueous (hydrophilic) state. The network made of elastic connective tissue changes due to trauma, immobilisation or over-exertion. This doesn’t only happen to athletes though but to almost everyone.

Unfortunately, our body is all too familiar with unilateral strain, the immobilisation of portions of tissue and over-exertion. Once this one-sidedness and resulting compensation mechanisms exceed our personal limit, we become aware of it. But the body doesn’t always correct itself to its balanced functionality.

This is precisely where FMT and myofascial taping come into their own. The aim is myofascial balance. With both methods utmost attention is paid to focusing on the fascia and muscle’s physiological properties.

Myofascial taping is now an integral part of competitive sports treatment and pain therapy. Many top athletes and more than 30 national teams in various sports reap the benefits of myofascial taping every day. The taping method clearly distinguishes itself from normal kinesio taping.

Taping techniques

Markus Erhard, inventor of myofascial taping, developed this fascia-based taping method in 2006. The taping material is also different. What is crucial for this is that the myofascial tape (Flexotape) does not work using the recoil effect but by actively allowing the fasciae to shift direction in the same direction as the tape is pulled during application (active fascial shift effect).

In doing so he has laid another cornerstone in the specific treatment of fasciae. Flexotape also has a slightly modified adhesive, which at the same time makes it easier to work with the connective tissue. With myofascial taping you differentiate between different techniques based on the objective and the nature of the fascial structure.

The differentiation here is basically between activating and relaxing techniques, whereby the myofascial release technique (MRT) is used most frequently and produces the most important effects. Depending on the localised property of the fascia and composition of the muscle fibres it is then decided which technique is used.

One example is a slack fascia on a phasic muscle, for example, the vastus medialis muscle that is prone to atrophy and should be increasingly activated. By contrast, the vastus lateralis muscle tends towards hypertension at the same time. Therefore, this area is treated using a relaxing pulling technique.

sports nutrition magazine

WHAT IS FASCIA?

Fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue that permeates the human body. It inter-penetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures. It is an uninterrupted, three-dimensional web of tissue that extends from head to toe, from front to back, from interior to exterior.
Fasciae (plural) are similar to ligaments and tendons as they are all made of collagen, except that ligaments join one bone to another, tendons join muscle to bone, and fasciae surround muscles or other structures.
Fasciae are normally thought of as passive structures that transmit mechanical tension generated by muscular activities or external forces throughout the body.
The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force. In doing so, fasciae:

  • reduce friction between muscles, allowing sliding
  • suspend organs in their cavities
  • transmit movement from muscles to bones
  • provide supportive, movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels.

As part of the superficial front line, both of them are dominantly interrelated in their transmission line and yet may have different tissue conditions and produce a localised myofascial imbalance. The structural, mechanical and neuro-reflective stimulation of tissue is achieved using myofascial taping, relaxing localised strained areas and producing positive global reactions, such as relieving an over-exerted Achilles tendon.

Instant results

As a result instant success can be achieved: for example, improved gait and greater mobility of the ankle. The neuro-reflective level makes it possible to immediately reduce pain after application, as the receptors in the fascia responsible for tension and pain are stimulated. Positive results are noticed immediately after application.
The tape also works over the next few days and supports the fascial network in several processes. While doing so, it may promote more supple flexibility, improve blood circulation and relieve joints. Wound healing as well as more minor muscle or connective tissue injuries can also be helped.

For users of myofascial taping it translates into an immediate expanded range of movement and pain reduction, which assists manual therapy and training to a great degree. This immediate effect is restored to the neuro-reflective action mechanisms.

This means that the pain receptors reduce myofascial tension to a more physiological level by relieving the structural tissue and simultaneously activating the golgi and interstitial receptors.

One unique advantage of myofascial taping is that the shifting of fascial layers is maintained during each movement. The fascial tissues and receptors are continuously worked on and, thanks to this, they permanently maintain the restored normalised tension.

Sustainable treatment

Taping provides perfect preparation and follow-up for manual therapy treatment, rehabilitation training and also an FMT unit where you do not battle against the previously high myofascial tension and reduce the risk of injury at the same time. The tape maintains this constant, essential stimulus on the structures thus treating the strained areas every minute until the next treatment or training session.

This enables any therapist to achieve faster, more long-term success with their interventions. The goal is, of course, to return the tissue to a balanced state of tension as quickly as possible and completely eradicate any pain or restrictions.

A few treatment sessions may be enough for long-term success. The length of treatment depends on the clinical history and pathology. Myofascial taping, according to Erhard, not only improves mobility and stability and reduces pain it can also increase maximum strength. As a result there is the possibility of optimally combining its application areas.

Excessive tension, compensatory postures, loss of strength and other restrictions can be resolved quickly using myofascial taping and again prevented in the long-term using simultaneous FMT.

– Berengar Buschmann

Gym chains

The writer is one of the CEOs and founders of Transform Your Movements and inventor of the FMT methodology. He is also instructor at Perform Better Europe. (www.perform-better.de).


 


 

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