Functional Range Release Seminars

FASCIA - The Target Tissue of F.R.®

fr-fascial-manipulationOne of the main factors that separates Functional Range Release® from other soft tissue techniques is the target tissue.  For the most part, soft tissue techniques have focused primarily on the treatment of muscular tissue by means of soft tissue manipulation and/or stretching.  However when considering the physical make-up of muscle tissue, it is simply composed of contractile proteins (i.e. actin, myosin, etc.) situated in a series, grouped into bundles. 

Each fiber, bundle, and muscle is encased by fascia.  These fascial layers are then continuous with various other tissues in the body.  In fact, fascia, a tough connective tissue, spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot without interruption.  The fascia surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ of the body, down to the cellular level.  In fact, fascia surrounds and connects every muscle, even the tiniest myofibril and every single organ in the body forming full-body continuity.

The goal of soft tissue therapies has never been to tear muscle proteins apart.  It has been to remove restrictive scar tissue, or fibrosis.  But where does this fibrosis form?

Injury to tissue is followed by various processes including:
  • Inflammation
  • Remodeling of connective tissue/fascia with lower tensile stiffness and a lower ultimate strength
  • Randomized collagen fiber direction and deposition within and between fascial layers (fibrosis)
  • Inability of collagen bundles to slide easily past one another due to cross-linking
  • Substitution of collagen types with those of lesser strength
  • Fascial contraction
  • Increased neural drive to muscular tissue causing protective spasm
Considering the process outlined above, the intended target with the application of various soft-tissue therapies should not be the 'muscle' as is commonly believed, but rather the surrounding connective tissues and fascia, also known as dense irregular connective tissue.  Soft tissue scarring is the direct result of fascial contraction, as well as fascial reorganization.  Thus it is the goal of Functional Range Release® to reduce tension and fibrosis in fascial tissue specifically.

Why does the intended tissue make any difference?

It would be easy to assume that the soft tissue therapies currently being utilized have been working on the fascia all along.  However this assumption is incorrect.  This is because the research that has been performed on this amazing tissue demonstrates that it does not respond in the same manner as muscular tissue.  Thus many changes in soft tissue application must be made in order to expect permanent, favorable changes in fascial structure with soft tissue application.  These necessary alterations in treatment application are the basis for the Functional Range Release® soft tissue management system.

The Neuromuscular Barrier

“Muscular contraction following injury prevents optimal treatment of fascia, the target tissue.”

The potential for the soft tissue technique to release fascial contraction or adhesion depends on the state, or degree of muscular contraction.  Muscle contraction, stemming from increased neural drive, limits the ability to fully release tissue by prematurely restricting the end range of motion.  This occurs because following overuse and/or injury, the body recalibrates the ‘stretch reflex’ threshold (the bodies safe guard system to prevent excessive tissue lengthening and injury). This safety mechanism allows a very large and unnecessary ‘buffer zone’ regarding the allowed ROM.

Thus at any given time, if one could raise the threshold, a particular range of motion can be considerably increased without fear of causing tissue damage.  This fact forms much of the premise between the F.R.® soft tissue methods.  The system utilizes strategies to alter neural activity therefore allowing the practitioner to overcome the neuromuscular barrier and access the full extent of tissue motion - See section on Progressive Angular Isometric Loading (P.A.I.L.'s)® to learn more about these strategies.


Fascia can be categorized into three main divisions: 
  • fascia superficialis
  • fascia profunda
  • ‘deepest’ fascia
fascia-superficialisFascia Superficialis
  • A layer of loose connective tissue located beneath the dermis of the skin
  • Serves as a passageway for nerves, blood vessels, and in some areas skeletal muscle
  • Functions are mainly protective and supportive

profunda-fasciaFascia Profunda
  • Fibrous layer found beneath the superficial fascia
  • Invests muscles and other internal structures
  • Can be segregated into several investing layers:
    • epimysium (surrounds entire muscle)
    • perimysium (covers bundles)
    • endomysium (surrounds individual fibers)

Deepest Fascia

  • Surrounds and protects the CNS (aka the "dural tube")

In terms of soft tissue techniques, the Fascia Superficialis and Fascia Profunda are the planes of most interest.  Both layers/planes are capable of sliding.  This occurrence is of utmost importance for normal functional movement as well as force transference.  In deep fascia, gliding over underlying muscle structures facilitates smooth and rapid motion.  In addition, physical injuries are avoided when structural layers are able to slide freely.  Conversely, the loss of this sliding capability, which occurs with repetitive strain or acute injury, will have a detrimental effect on function.  Such loss in motion can occur both between the Fascia Superficialis and Profunda (“inter-layer sliding”), as well as between layers of Profunda surrounding different structures (“intra-layer sliding”).  Both of these occurrences must be assessed and treated accordingly in order to restore normal tissue mechanics.

Unlike most soft tissue therapy systems, F.R.® is unique in that it utilizes both assessment and treatment techniques for both Inter and Intra-layer sliding and thus considers and treats BOTH the fascial superficialis and profunda layers. Other forms of treatment focus on one or the other.

In addition, the treatment applications utilized in the Functional Range Release® system are based on the current scientific understanding as to how fascial responds to treatment and tissue loading (ex. Thixotropy & Piezoelectric effect)….again this claim cannot be made by other soft tissue treatment modalities and thus it sets Functional Range Release® apart in terms of fascial release techniques and fascial manipulation.

Upcoming Seminars

Sep 19, 2015 - Sep 20, 2015

Sep 26, 2015 - Sep 27, 2015

Oct 17, 2015 - Oct 18, 2015

Oct 24, 2015 - Oct 25, 2015

Nov 06, 2015 - Nov 08, 2015

Nov 14, 2015 - Nov 15, 2015

Jan 09, 2016 - Jan 10, 2016

Jan 30, 2016 - Jan 31, 2016

Feb 06, 2016 - Feb 07, 2016

Feb 19, 2016 - Feb 21, 2016

Mar 18, 2016 - Mar 20, 2016

Mar 19, 2016 - Mar 20, 2016

Apr 02, 2016 - Apr 03, 2016

Apr 30, 2016 - May 01, 2016

May 13, 2016 - May 15, 2016

Jun 04, 2016 - Jun 05, 2016


Dr. Andrew Sulkowski
2013-04-23, 20:26
We have had 25 of our therapists and trainers take an FAP, FR and/or FRC course. Our experiences and feedback have been consistent in the immediate additions to the way practitioners treat and improve mobility in clients. Therapist/fitness people instantly adapt their current practices to expand their strengthening at end range work and challenge the mobility of their clients in a progressive and safe manner. No magic tricks in these courses. Just logical progressive methods to improve stability, mobility and encourage better mechanics. Practitioners are meant to use their own brains to implement the new knowledge. Don't look here for a cookie cutter approach to treatment. Expect to be challenged to think for your self. We will have trainers/therapists take these courses for many years.


Enter F.A.P.™ Section
Functional Anatomic Palapation Systems (F.A.P.™) - Functional Range Release (F.R.®) - Functional Range Conditioning (F.R.C.™)
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