Cartoon by Lenny Wos
‘Myo’ means muscle and ‘fascia’ means band.
Myofascial release (or MFR) is a manual therapy that is used to treat skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles.
Fascia is an embryological connective tissue, made of elastin and collagen fibres (very strong with a high degree of flexibility) surrounded by a viscous fluid (acts like transportation medium, slide and glide mechanism between structures).
Fascia surrounds, infuses and protects tendons, muscles, bones, ligaments and organs. In healthy body the fascial system is relaxed and wavy in configuration. This provides a cushioning and supportive mechanism allowing to safely move without restriction or pain. Fascia is also dynamic in nature, it responds to internal and external forces applied on it meeting the resistance in order to protect.
Osteopathic theory proposes that this soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow (Spinaris, 2005).
The term “Still technique” (in honour of their originator) is analysed and presented as a direct articulatory technique with axial compression (Van Buskirk 1996).
All techniques address some aspect of musculoskeletal dysfunction and are based on the idea that much of disease steams from and can be ameliorated by treatment of imbalances in the musculoskeletal system (Still AT 1902).
After completing the course “Still Technique” at the British School of Osteopathy (December 2015), and finishing reading A T Still’s books (referenced below) I realised that the author did not provide specific and detailed descriptions of the manipulative techniques he developed and used with success. Perhaps his intention was to establish his revolutionary approach to medicine based on a series of “philosophical shifts” (Van Buskirk 1996) rather than any particular single technical approach to healing.
Booker G and Edis J (2015). “Still Technique”. The British School of Osteopathy. CPD course, November-December 2015.
Hazzard C: The Practie and Applied Therapeutics of Osteopathy, ed 3 revised. kirksville, Mo, Journal Printing Co, 1905.
Spinaris T, DiGiovanna EL (2005). Chapter 12: Myofascial release. An Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment (3rd ed.) (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). pp. 80–82. ISBN 978-0-7817-4293-1.
Still AT: Philosophy of Osteopathy. Kirksville, Mo, AT Still, 1899. (Reproduction published by The American Academy of Osteopathy, Newark, Ohio, 1986.)
Still AT: The Philosophy of Mechanical Principals of Osteopathy. Kansas City, Mo, Hudson Kimberly Publishing Co, 1902. (Reproduced by Osteopathic Enterprise, Kirksville, Mo, 1986.)
Still AT: Autobiography of Andrew T. Still. Kirksville, Mo, 1908. (Reprinted by the American Academy of Osteopathy, Newark, Oh, 1989).
Still AT: Osteopathy, Research and Practice. Kirksville, Mo, 1910. (Reprinted by Eastland Press, Seattle, Wa, 1992, pp 29, 49, 116, 144, 147, 202.)
Van Buskirk R (1996) “A manipulative technique of Andrew Taylor Still as reported by Charles Hazzard, DO, in 1905”. Clinical Practice, JAOA, Vol 96, No 19, 1996, 597.