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Myofascial. You’ve seen it advertised but have you ever really stopped to learn what it is? Odds are good you haven’t, unless you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of this type of service.

Like most therapies or practices that are available but not well known, myofascial release is a specialized practice that can be learned by massage therapists. It is used to treat somatic dysfunction and the accompanying pain and restriction on movement. The primary goal of this type of therapy is to relax the contracted muscles, increase circulation, increase venous and lymphatic drainage and stimulate the stretch reflex of the muscles.

Back to Basics:

If you are confused, don’t be embarrassed. Understanding the nuances of massage therapy and what it can do for the body is a specialized practice that many people spend years studying and perfecting as a technique.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that supports and protects most structures (including muscle) in the human body. This tissue can become restricted over time due to a number of factors including: psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity. This can lead to pain, muscle tension and decreased blood flow to the affected areas. The result inflammation can occur and this is where myofascial release is utilized by therapists.

Myofascial is defined as a chronic muscle pain around sensitive areas called “trigger points”. This type of pain can be felt as headaches, jaw or neck pain, lower back/pelvis pain or in the arms and legs. This is not a temporary pain caused by working out or physical exertion – it is a chronic condition that persists over long periods on time.

There are two main types of myofascial release used: active and passive. In active therapy the client provides resistance, while in passive therapy the client remains relaxed. These can both involve direct and indirect techniques.

Direct myofascial release (also known as “deep tissue work”) works on the restricted fascia. This intensive method works on relaxing the contracted muscles utilizing the therapists knuckles, hands and other specialized tools. The therapist will work slowly through the layers of fascia until the deep tissue is reached.

Indirect myofascial release focuses on gentle stretching and allowing the fascia to “unwind”. This allows for the body to heal itself with the assistance of mild therapeutic techniques to assist in the process.

Consult with your doctor to determine what type of treatment will be best for your myofascial condition. Depending on the location and level of discomfort your doctor may recommend physical therapy, medications or certain injections. Do not receive treatment from a therapist without first consulting with your health care provider. Ask questions if you are uncomfortable or unsure about this technique.

Myofascial pain is a difficult condition to bear but can be helped several ways. Talk to your physician today and learn if a myofascial therapy treatment may be your next step towards pain relief.

The teen years are filled with emotional and physical change, some good and some bad. As your teen grows and develops it is natural, as a parent, to want this experience to be as stress free as possible. Dealing with acne can be a difficult process for both you and your teen. By working together and developing a strategy however, you can help your teen through these awkward years with much less “angst”.

You may find that the most difficult aspect of treating acne is speaking with your teen about the problem. It is natural for people to become sensitive or angry when a skin condition is “called out” and this may create more stress for your teen. Remember that your teen is not unaware of the problem and acting as though they cannot see the acne will not help you communicate better with them. Open up a dialogue where you suggest trying different methods to treat the condition but respect your teen’s boundaries if they are defensive about the topic at first. Don’t exasperate the situation by yelling or forcing your child to confront their problem.

Once you have both agreed to find a sensible solution that will be effective and affordable, now it is time to learn the underlying root of the condition. Believe it or not there are several factors that may be affecting your teen’s skin, not just new hormonal changes (although that is a HUGE factor).

So what may be culprit of this skin care conundrum?

Changes in the body (such as hormones) are one of the primary influences of acne during the teen years. Any informational guide will explain that hormonal changes impact the bodies normal functioning, including the skin. During adolescence a teen’s oil production (the sebum gland) can go into overdrive and produce more oil than necessary. The skin’s normal regulation of this process cannot compensate and thus oil clogs the pores causing acne.
Proper skin care is important, even for teens. Make-up, sweat and general grime build up on the skin’s surface and need to be removed properly. If you’re teen is just using soap and water daily (or maybe not at all sometimes) this will be a major reason why acne is starting to take over their face. Developing a daily skin care routine designed for younger people with oilier skin will go a long way towards alleviating your teen’s condition and reducing future occurrences.
Stress. Stress. Stress. As a parent there is nothing you can really do to combat the stress and emotional changes your child is undergoing but be supportive and helps them through this difficult time. Remember that stress affects the body just as much as anything else and can inhibit healthy body processes (including the skin).

A Call to Action!

Gaining control on an existing or ongoing flair up is crucial for the first step. This does need to be combined with developing a longer skin care regimen that will aid in reducing existing outbreaks and prevents new ones from developing.
Try a “spot treatment” such as this excellent Blemish Fix for existing acne. This will target the existing problem and provide extra strength to those areas that have already developed blackheads, whiteheads or red pustules. There are several over the counter brands for mild to moderate acne or it may be time to consult with an esthetician or dermatologist for more intensive treatment for severe acne.
Take control by developing a simple skin care routine for your teen to follow every day. Set a schedule (wake up, going to bed) and guide them through the steps they should take. Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, correct, moisturize and protect. These are the six hallmarks of any great skin care routine that will keep their skin looking fresh, clean and clear.
Search for products geared towards teen, oily or acneic skin. These will use less oils (no need to add to the problem) and target reducing oily build up on the skin. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of using a good daily moisturizer to replenish the skin with necessary hydration. If you take it all away without putting any back other skin conditions (dryness, flaking). This step will be crucial in helping your teen maintain clearer skin with greatly reduced acne occurrences.

A Final Thought on the Matter

Acne is no fun for anyone and can be an embarrassing condition to face. Your teen may struggle with peer judgment, self doubt and a general dissatisfaction overall while combating this problem. Be patient with your teen and remember that full results take time (up to 3 months in many severe cases). Reassure your teen that with patience and dedication their skin will clear up. Don’t let acne be what your teen remembers about their high school years –take control today!