Newsletter excerpts: Fascia and Trigger Points April 2017

Michelle Burns
May 2, 2017


Studies & Articles

  1. Fascial Plasticity - A New Neurobiological Explanation by Robert Schleip from 2003. Abstract:
    1. Part 1: In myofascial manipulation an immediate tissue release is often felt under the working hand. This amazing feature has traditionally been attributed to mechanical properties of the connective tissue. Yet studies have shown that either much stronger forces or longer durations would be required for a permanent viscoelastic deformation of fascia. fascia nevertheless is densely innervated by mechanoreceptors which are responsive to manual pressure. Stimulation of these sensory receptors has been shown o lead to a lowering of sympathetic bonus as well as a change in local tissue viscosity. Fascia and the autonomic nervous system appear to be intimately connected.
    2. Part 2: Stimulation of fascial mechanoreceptors can trigger viscosity changes in the ground substance. The discovery and implications of the existence of fascial smooth muscle cells are of special interest in relation to fibromyalgia, amongst other conditions. An attitudinal shift is suggested, from a mechanical body concept towards a cybernetic model, in which the practitioner’s intervention are seen as stimulation for self-regulatory processes within the client’s organism.
  1. Article: "Effects of myofascial release leg pull and sagittal plane isometric contract-relax techniques on passive straight-leg raise angle", by Hante WP & chandler SD. Published in J Orthop Sport Phys Ther in 1994

  2. An abstract, "Myofascial release provides symptomatic relief from chest wall tenderness occasionally seen following lumpectomy and radiation in breast cancer patients" by JS Crawford, J Simpson and P Crawford published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 1996.

  3. Judith O’Connel, published an article in Technique in Orthopedics, March 2003 titled "Bioelectric Responsiveness of Fascia: A Model for Understanding the Effects of Manipulation" summarizes: Fascia, the largest component of white fibrous tissue, contains linear sheets of collagen found in superficial, deep, and subserous layers. Collagen is piezoelectric, functioning as a transducer of mechanical and electrical energy. Electrical impulses are generated int eh collagen by compressive and distraction forces within the musculoskeletal system. These impulses trigger a cascade of cellular, biomechanical, natural, and extracellular events as the body adapts to external stress.

  4. Article, "Effectiveness of Myofascial release in Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis: A RCT" by Suman Kuhar, Khatri Subhash, Jeba Chitra published in 2007 in the Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupation Therapy.

  5. An article in the J Manipulative Physiol Ther in 2008, "Effects of myofascial release after high-intensity exercise: a randomized clinical trial", by M Arroyo-Morales, N Olea, M Martinez, C Moreno-Lorenzo, L Diaz-Rodriguez, & A Hidalgo-Lozano

  6. The full-text article, "Psychophysiological effects of massage-myofascial release after exercise: a randomized sham-controlled study", by Manuel Arroyo-Morales, et. al and published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2008

  7. "Fascial Manipulation for chronic specific low back pain; a single-blinded randomized controlled trial" from 2015

  8. An article by Benjamin Asher, Complementary and Integrative Treatments: The Voice, published in 2013 concluded: “Myofascial release and laryngeal massage are effective in improving vocal function and helping minimize throat pain.”

  9. An article in Musculoskelet Sci Pract 2017, titled "Mechanical deformation of posterior thoracolumbar fascia after myofascial release in healthy men: A study of dynamic ultrasound imaging"

Tidbits, Updates and Resources


  1. Donna Bagels presents a 27-minute video showing myofascial length test of the superficial front fascia (extensor halluces longus/brevis)

  2. How to relieve foot pain using myofascial release by ACEFitness, 6:31 minutes.


  1. A brief animated review of the body by GetBodySmart for the tensor fascia lata is a helpful review of origin, insertion and action.

  2. An excellent description of fascia of the abdomen and pelvis, by G. G. Gallaudet can be found at

  3. An article in Cancer Res 2016, Connecting (T)issues: How Research in Fascia Biology Can Impact Integrative Oncology, states “Recent advances in cancer biology are underscoring the importance of connective tissue in the local tumor environment. Inflammation and fibrosis are well-recognized contributors to cancer, and connective tissue stiffness is emerging as a driving factor in tumor growth. Physical-based therapies have been shown to reduce connective tissue inflammation and fibrosis and thus may have direct beneficial effects on cancer spreading and metastasis. Meanwhile, there is currently little knowledge on potential risks of applying mechanical forces in the vicinity of tumors.”

  4. An article in J Craniofac Surg 2017 titled Anatomy of the Platysma Muscle is an excellent quick review.


Below is a listing of some thesis/dissertations that may be accessed through professional libraries

  • Effects of myofascial release on strength of the quadriceps femurs muscle group by Stephanie J. Montgomery (1990) 
  • The theory and evidence for myofascial release: a review of literature by Heather Collegian (1999) 
  • The effect of myofascial release on cervical range of motion and perceived exertion by Suan K Weaver (1990) 
  • A comparison of myofascial release and ultrasound in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain by Dianna Lynn Bishop (1987) 
  • The effects of myofascial release one forward head posture by Caroline M. Chell (1991) 
  • The efficacy of myofascial release intervention on anterior pelvic tilt posture by Donna J Latoy (1992) 


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