CEDAR RAPIDS — No, Jessica Otter does not do facials.
Otter, owner of Otter Myofascial Release and Wellness, said more than one person has confused her new business with one that provides skin care treatments for the face. But Otter is not an aesthetician, and myofascial release therapy does not treat the skin — it treats the fascia.
“The best way to think of the fascia is as a three-dimensional spider web that starts at the cellular level and works its way out through the whole body,” Otter explained. “Every cell in the body is connected in one continuous system.”
In its normal, healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and supple, Otter said. When it becomes restricted due to injury, inflammation or other trauma, it solidifies like glue and can create pressure up to 2,000 pounds per square inch.
Myofascial release therapy stretches and loosens the fascia so the body can move more freely, thereby providing relief from pain and increasing the patient’s range of motion.
Treatment involves first assessing the body to locate the restricted area — which may be distant from the area where pain occurs — and then applying hands-on manipulation.
“I hold gentle, sustained pressure in the area to elongate and release the fascia,” Otter said. “I use the skin as a handle to the system, so I don’t use lotions or oils like in traditional massage.”
Otter, a licensed massage therapist, first learned about myofascial release therapy in massage therapy school.
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“We were given a brief overview of the myofascial system and I knew immediately I wanted to learn more,” she said. “It seemed like it potentially held the key to why more traditional forms of body work don’t always produce results.”
She sought advanced training in the technique and started integrating myofascial release into her practice. Within six months, myofascial release therapy was all she was doing.
After working at a Marion chiropractic practice since her 2012 graduation from massage therapy school, Otter went out on her own in January. Her new practice is located in downtown Cedar Rapids, above Kepros Physical Therapy and Performance.
The confusion some people have about Otter’s new business is understandable given that she is one of only a few myofascial release therapists in Iowa. She said one of the goals of her new practice is to increase awareness of what she does.
“In order to meet my objective of educating the community about how this modality can help people, I needed to be under my own umbrella where the entire focus is on the fascial system,” she said. “I want people to understand there’s hope for chronic pain.”
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At a Glance
• Owner: Jessica Otter, LMT
• Business: Otter Myofascial Release and Wellness
• Address: 101 Third Ave. SW, Suite 205, Cedar Rapids
• Phone: (319) 804-9104
• Email: email@example.com
• Website: www.jesseotter.com