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Myofascial release therapy can relieve migraines, other ailments

May 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Physical therapist Sepi Aeen is part of a group of therapists at From The Heart Physical Therapy who perform a specific kind of healing called myofascial release, or MFR.

It's a therapy that shows promise in helping a host of ailments including neck pain, back pain, tendonitis, urinary frequency and even migraines.

Kathy Boyd of West Hills and is one of Aeen's patients.

"I've had three neck surgeries, a back surgery. I have osteo-arthritis and degenerative disk disease from a car accident in 1991," said Boyd

But after a series of MFR she's experiencing relief.

"This is long lasting. This is months," she said. "This is not I'm going home and it's all over."

Cardiologist Dr. Sheila Kar says scar tissue, inflamed areas stemming from radiation or illness, can create situations where surgery is necessary.

"In my field, congestive heart failure, their fluid, they have more fluid overloaded, fascia swells," she said.

She provided one patient who needed a lung transplant as an example of someone helped by MFR.

"He was short of breath even sitting, he would be synodical, his lips and tongue would be blue. And he was given three months to live," she said. Yet MFR therapy surrounding his heart dramatically changed his future.

"This was 5 years ago; the man is still alive. He came back one month later swinging his oxygen sling and I'm saying, 'Why are you not wearing your oxygen?'" Kar said.

Gary Reichard had huge low back pain, degenerated discs and was surgery bound. MFR kept him from going under the knife.

"I had maybe four to five more treatments and I've been fine ever since," he said.

Fascia surrounds muscles and joints like a sheath of cling wrap, but it has 10 times more sensory nerve endings than muscles. But when it becomes stiff and tight it's a major source of pain.

"So what we do in essence is we elongate and stretch the system and free up the space in between, hence the disks and the bones and the nerves," said Aeen.

Like other forms of physical therapy, MFR is covered by some insurance companies.

"This work has been around for a long time, but unfortunately it's not taught within the traditional model of medicine," said Aeen.

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