Myofascial release (MFR), which is sometimes referred to as soft tissue release (STR), is a direct technique applied by a physical therapist to improve mobility. Fascia is a connective tissue that forms a web-like structure covering muscles throughout the body. This allows muscles and joints to work in more connected patterns rather than individual joint movements with activities such as walking or reaching overhead.
MFR/STR can be very effective in improving the mobility of a joint that has been immobilized or has decreased movement due to pain or injury. A therapist will apply direct pressure to a certain muscle or area. You may experience different sensations such as burning, tingling, or stretching, and these sensations may occur at the site of pressure or in other regions of the body.
Myofascial release is often directed at a trigger point, which is a tight band or knot that can be palpated by a physical therapist or just an especially painful or tender area to be touched. A physical therapist can direct a MFR technique in the correct direction and with appropriate pressure to release these tender areas and thus allow for improved joint mobility.