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What Is Epimysium?

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  • Written By: Chris Hearne
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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The epimysium is the outermost layer of dense, irregular, connective tissue that surrounds and holds muscles in the body. It is continuous with the perimysium and endomysium of a muscle. The primary function of the epimysium is to combine with these other muscular connective tissues to form a thick, collagenous cord of tissue known as a tendon. A tendon’s function is to attach to bone and allow muscular contraction to pull two bones together. When a tendon is a broad, flat layer of connective tissue rather than a thick cord, it is called an aponeurosis.

Epimysia differs from perimysia and endomysium primarily in location; all three layers are dense, irregular connective tissue. This consists primarily of tightly packed fibroblasts and collagen fibers without any particular directional orientation. Perimysium is dense, irregular, connective tissue that surrounds groups of 10 to 100 muscle fibers and divides the muscle into units known as fascicles. The endomysium surrounds each individual muscle fiber. These three layers are all continuous and form the body’s tendons and aponeuroses. Together, these layers are part of the fascia — a grid of dense, irregular, connective tissue that lines the muscles and subcutaneous layer.

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The epimysium of any muscle, along with the perimysium and endomysium, flow together into the insertion of the muscle. They then combine to form a tendon cord. This tendon pulls on the insertion of the muscle while the origin remains stationary, thereby causing movement. For example, tendons in the upper arm cross over to the forearm over the inside of the elbow. When muscles of the upper arm contract, they pull on their tendons, which pull on the forearm and cause various different types of motion.

Myofascial massage is a type of massage that focuses on the fascia, including the epimysium around muscles. This type of massage releases tension and stress in the muscles, and can help with posture, muscle soreness, and flexibility. It is possible for the treatment to be quite painful at first, as the fascia and muscles are stretched beyond what a person may be used to.

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Myofascial massage is a growing trend. It is suggested it helps loosen the stress built up in your muscles. It can help with fatigue and back pain as well as help restore range in motion in some instances. It has been strongly suggested it may ease the tightness caused by some diseases such as fibromyalgia.

It is recommended that you have a discussion with your doctor to see if you should begin this type of treatment. Your doctor may not think this treatment is best for you. Even though more studies have to be done on the benefits of this massage, there is a lot of evidence supporting its worth as a treatment.

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