Myofascial release has been used for many years to successfully treat musculoskeletal dysfunction in humans. It has proven to be extremely effective in elongating foreshortened connective tissue and restoring
functional movement. In my human practice that involves treating professional and elite athletes myofascial release has been an important tool in my armament for facilitating strength, power and coordination
for these high level athletes.
Over the last eight years I have been utilizing this technique for the treatment of racehorses and getting amazing results. Just like the professional athlete, the performance horse sustains injuries that have
resultant soft tissue tightening and compensatory neuromuscular activity.
The Anatomy and Physiology of Fascia
The fascia is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to hoof without interruption (Fig. 1). The fascia surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood
vessel, and organ, all the way down to the cellular level.
Fascia at the cellular level (ground substance) creates the interstitial spaces and functions to support and protect the cell, separate cell from cell, and allow cellular metabolism, respiration, and
elimination. In other words, it is the immediate environment of every cell of the body. The fascial system has three basic components: ground substance mentioned above, collagen, and elastin.
Generally, the fascial system is one of support, stability, and cushion, forming ligaments, tendons, and fascial sheaths. It is also a system of locomotion and dynamic flexibility forming muscle.