There are two mechanical processes that take place when performing a soft-tissue release.
Hydration: This isn’t a play on “drink more water”. This refers to what is happening to your fascia when SMR is applied. When you work into the deeper layers of fascia, you are helping move “mucus-like” fluid through the tissue.
Picture dunking a sponge in a bowl of water. Pull it out of the water and give it a good squeeze. The water typically squirts out in a small radius. This is basically what it is happening within your tissue when pressure is applied to fascia.
Releasing Tension: I love comparing this one to popping a pimple. You must apply pressure and work the surrounding areas to push the gunk from your pores, correct? With SMR you are trying to apply pressure and release the tension surrounding an adhesion or “knot”. The region of tissue that is more constricted, harder, than the areas immediately adjacent to it along the band of muscle tissue (Travell and Simons). Working those surrounding areas, will allow any adhesions to be released of tension much easier versus going directly to the source.
Lines of Pull
If we want to aid in the release of tension within the connective tissue, we must understand that the myofascial meridians all have anchor points. Which means, it’s all connected.
These lines of pull are what dictate how our bodies move through space.
If we “roll out” in our typical areas without intention of connecting to these anchor points, we are missing out on a valuable opportunity. Imagine being the coach of the All-Star basketball team, but not giving them any coaching. They probably wouldn’t know how to work with each other as well as they could with proper guidance.
Therefore, taking this moment once finished administering self-myofascial release to leverage tissue is important for optimal results. Our biomechanics will be more easily influenced during this time frame. Which means any dysfunctions that are contributing to those “always so tender” areas, will have a higher chance to be corrected.