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Compare and Contrast: Myofascial Release and Massage

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

What Is the Difference Between Myofascial Release and Massage?

Whether you are looking for some rest and relaxation or attention for your ultra-stiff muscles, massages often do the trick. But if you’ve ever tried to book one and found yourself endlessly Googling “myofascial massage near me,” you have probably discovered an endless list of massage types and techniques available.

Compare and Contrast: Myofascial Release and Massage

When picking the right service, it’s important to consider what you want out of the appointment and what your needs are. Let’s talk about two popular options: myofascial release vs. massage.

When deciding between a myofascial release and a massage, you may find it hard to tell the difference between the two at first — they both involve massage techniques and a release of tension of some sort. However, they both have different benefits and purposes and serve different needs.

This guide will help you decide between a myofascial release and a massage — and which one to try based on your needs.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release therapy works distinctly on connective tissue, or fascia, to release tension and muscle stiffness. This connective tissue is between every muscle, organ, bone, joint, and tendon in your body. This network of tissue can often become tight or inflamed due to stress, injury, or other causes.

Myofascial release targets a specific problem area through sustained pressure, typically via hand movements, a massage gun, or another pressure tool. The fascia will soften and stretch, leading to the results you seek. Steady and sustained movements are key. The sustained, targeted pressure typically lasts about five minutes at a time.

Myofascial release is precise and aims to fix specific issues you may have, which is why it’s the right choice if you are looking to target a problem area. It gets to the root of the issue. In fact, when you search “pain management near me,” myofascial release therapy often comes up as the solution.


Massage therapy is a broad term that includes long and short movements with different amounts of pressure. Massages involve varying techniques, typically using kneading and stroking movements at a steadier pace. They apply to the whole body from top to bottom rather than one specific, targeted area, like with myofascial treatments.

The purpose of a massage also differs from myofascial treatments. Massages are meant to relieve stress and tension, both in your body and mind, and can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes on average.

The benefits affect your whole body overall, instead of one problem area. Massages work on your entire body to release tension in your muscles and help calm your nervous system.

What To Consider

Now that you understand the basics of a myofascial release vs. massage, you may be wondering which is best. Here are some items to consider when looking to book your next appointment:

1. Mental needs

If you are looking for overall stress relief and overall body-mind connection, a massage is the best choice. A massage will work to relax your body from head to toe and uses more Zen-inducing features such as oils, mists, lotions, and music.

However, that is not to say myofascial release doesn’t relieve similar stress tension. If your stress is built up in the shoulders, a myofascial release targeting your back and shoulders may do the trick.

2. Physical needs

If you find yourself looking to book an appointment because you are experiencing pain or general discomfort in certain areas, that is where myofascial release therapy comes in. Book an appointment and communicate with the worker about the areas you would specifically like targeted.

If you are sore from working out or sitting at your 9-to-5 job every day, a massage can help release those knots.

Listen to your body — it will ultimately tell you what it needs.

3. Time

If you want a longer, in-depth session, opt for a massage.

4. Price

It’s no secret that massages at a luxurious spa can cost a small fortune. But they don’t have to. Look into facilities near you. Local massage boutiques are great for a 30- or 60-minute session and don’t break the bank.

On average, the national cost of a massage is $100 per session. But based on location, time, and technique, that price will vary.

Now that you know what type of therapy will best suit your needs, check into massage therapists near you and don’t hesitate to connect with us for more information. The benefits are many.

Cortiva Institute is now training hands-on with TheraGun and LightStim. You can now learn to relieve muscle tension and offer pain management with these innovative tools within the classroom. Learn more about our Professional Massage Therapy Program!


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