You Have to Feel to Heal

Written by: Dr. Jessica Papa, PT, DPT


A fascial release feels different to different people. Some describe it as stretching bubble gum or taffe. Sometimes people don’t feel anything and other times it’s very abrupt. Other times, there’s initial pain that diminishes as the fascia releases. Other feelings and sensations might include tingling or searing, cold or warmth, tearing or even the sense of air or water going through the area.

If you feel uncomfortable during a stretch, keep breathing and slowly soften into the stretch. If you try to brace yourself towards the feeling, the area might feel painful after and you won’t achieve a full release.

After the stretching and releasing, many will feel less tight and like pressure has been relieved. Don’t have expectations or get worried when you feel something you weren’t expecting to, it happens differently for everyone.

You might feel pain and discomfort in the area you are treating, and even though we often like to recoil at pain, remember that this is the way your body is “talking” to you. If you ignore it, the body will “talk” louder until it gets our attention.

If you are doing the stretches properly, you won’t injure yourself, though it may feel intense.  It’s important to pay attention to feelings, sensations, etc. to alleviate any kind of discomfort.  If what you are feeling changes or you experience softening, than your body is saying you are acting appropriately and what you are feeling is pain from the restriction.

You might feel emotions and other symptoms begin to surface during self-treatment but as long as you’re correctly doing the myofascial stretches, emotions and other symptoms are completely normal and are often called a “healing crisis.” This is essentially when restrictions are released and pain is lessened.

The secondary symptoms often subside in a couple of days, but if they don’t that means the restriction wasn’t fully released: you’ll need more treatment. It’s important to drink lots of water before and after treatment to pull out toxins and to stay hydrated.