Massage Therapy 101: The Mysterious “Myofascial Adhesion”

Myofascial adhesion (MFA) is a term rarely used outside of the massage therapy industry. They are a major contributor of pain to most of the world’s population yet the average person is not aware of the term.

The longer chronic pain exists, the longer the rehabilitation period. As a rule of thumb, for every year of chronic pain, it takes at least a month of rehabilitation to restore balance to the body. For this reason, chronic pain is often never relieved. The body adapts and we accept living with the pain.

Fascia is a connective tissue within the body. Think of your entire body wrapped in fishnet hose both internally and externally including each individual bone, nerve, and muscle. Over time, fishnet hose get entangled and need adjustment. If not, you develop an impingement. Fascia works in the same way. Knots develop over time known as Trigger Points. The greatest MFA is scar tissue. MFAs occur for many reasons: injury, illness, inactivity, lifestyle, job type, nutrition, dehydration, and the aging process all play a contributing role in their development.

The natural emotional response to a MFA is to develop a guarded nature from the pain. However, this only encourages further development of the adhesions. Movement is essential to breakdown the adhesions.

Massage therapy relieves adhesions by warming and relaxing the body to create an environment for most manipulation with least pain. This is particularly effective in addressing the guarded cause. Adhesions begin breaking down, there is a restoration in flexibility, reduction in nerve impingement and nourished blood flow throughout the body further facilitating the healing process.

There is no quick fix to breaking down MFAs. However, a regular regimen is the likely solution for permanent relief once they develop. Drink lots of water, stretch and exercise regularly, be conscious of your eating habits, enjoy life but weigh the consequences and be aware that moderation may avoid injury.

A body that receives massage therapy on a regularly basis feels entirely different from a body that doesn’t. The primary difference is the level of myofascial adhesions present.

See you on the table!

Reference:, November 19 , 2010, Braxton Dutton