Tips for New Myofascial Release Therapy Patients

Written by: Dr. Jessica Papa, PT, DPT


If you are new to Myofascial Release Therapy, it’s likely you have tried and tried a lot of other therapies. You have been on that medical merry-go-round of trying different techniques, medications, and at-home interventions that just haven’t given you that long-term fix. MFR is different than anything you have likely tried before, so it’s important to understand that your approach and mindset should be a little different as well. Here are some tips for patients who are new to Myofascial Release Therapy or for those who are considering starting:

7 Tips for Myofascial Release Therapy Newcomers

1. Hydration

Hydration is so important for many functions in your body. Drinking water is essential for regulating body temperature, maintaining joint health, and delivering essential vitamins and minerals. It also increases your energy, improves kidney function, and gives you healthier skin. The ideal amount of water you should be drinking is half of your body weight in ounces. This needs to be increased when you drink alcohol or caffeine because these are dehydrating. A good way to tell if you are well hydrated is by your urine which should be almost colorless and odorless. Fascia and connective tissue is made up of 70% water, contributing a huge portion to the body’s general hydration. Dehydration causes our fascia to be rigid and inflexible, which causes pain. Trauma, surgery, and inflammation can all dehydrate your fascia. MFR will help restore hydration of the solidified tissue. It’s incredibly important to drink water after an MFR session in order to replenish the fluidity in your tissue.

2. Movement

During a session, you may feel like your body wants to move, twitch, or shake during a session. We encourage you to allow this to happen. Movement during treatment is quite natural as fascia is three-dimensional and our body is made to move. To fully release a physical trauma, “unwinding” is necessary because it’s likely that physical trauma happened in motion as well. Unwinding is an enlightened movement that occurs when you feel safe and can let go of control, allowing your subconscious mind to release the pattern of trauma that’s trapped within your fascial system.

3. Exercise

Physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as it benefits physical and mental health. Initially, it’s best to refrain from all current exercise regimes while you are new to Myofascial Release Therapy. The best thing to do is to take a brisk 20-30 minute walk daily while undergoing therapy. It’s good to communicate with your therapist about what you would like to do for exercise so you can create a plan together and they can help educate you on what would be best for your health as you go through therapy.

4. Mindset

First of all, it’s important to believe and know that your body can heal! Your body, much like you, is resilient and has the ability to repair itself. If you begin with this mindset, you will be so much more likely to find success. Your body has held on to tension, trauma, memories, and emotions, and MFR is going to allow you to peel away at those restrictions to get you back to a healthier and freer mind and body. Going into it with an open heart and mind will only speed your recovery process and help your therapist to learn what it is that you need.

5. The Healing Crisis

As you are going through treatment, you may experience what we call a “healing crisis.” This can include mild to intense soreness, the feeling of emotional chaos, or physical pain. MFR is different from other types of body work because it addresses restrictions and habitual patterns deep within the fascial tissue. Your fascial tissue may continue to unravel or release for hours or even days after you leave the treatment room. This is normal, and it’s recommended you tune into this and take note of what you are feeling physically and emotionally. Many people feel better immediately but some may feel sore or temporarily stirred up. This is the healing crisis which essentially means you may feel worse before you feel better. Your restrictions are releasing which shifts alignment and can cause achiness in unfamiliar areas. It’s recommended that you gently stretch these areas and drink lots of water. Remember that healing is not an event, it’s a process. These restrictions did not occur overnight, so unraveling them will not be done in a couple of sessions. Your body is waking up.

6. Communication

Communicate with your therapist regularly during your treatment by letting them know what you’re feeling. It will greatly help your therapist understand you and your body as far as how it processes and experiences treatment. If your therapist asks you a question, there is no wrong answer. Any authentic answer is valid and gives helpful insight to your therapist. 

7. Have a Goal

Having a clear and realistic goal for treatment will help you achieve the results you’re looking for. While being “pain-free” sounds ideal, it’s not the best that you can be getting out of your MFR experience. Think about what that pain is holding you back from. What are the things you want to do pain-free to give you that increased quality of life? Having a clear goal in mind to share with your therapist will help you both be successful. The clearer and more detailed your goal is, the greater your chances for success.

Taking Care of Your Fascia at Home

It’s important for patients to feel empowered and educated to know what to do when their body is signaling to them that something is off. Being body-aware is key to being able to self treat when you are feeling symptoms but are not able to come in for treatment. Your therapist will likely teach you some Myofascial Release Therapy stretches and releases that you can do at home so you can be an active participant in your healing. This is why we have launched an E-Course for our patients and for people all over the world who want to take hold of the steering wheel when it comes to their health. The E-course is chock-full of MFR techniques and self-treatment tips so that you can address your symptoms at home in an effective way.

For more information on how to apply for this course, contact us or email us at