Myofascial Release Therapy using the John F. Barnes approach
Myofascial release is designed to decrease or eliminate pain, improve flexibility, posture, balance, alignment and breathing.
Think of your entire body from head to toe as a three dimensional web of fibers, like a sweater. Now picture a tangle or knot in one area.
How many other areas can be affected by that knot or restriction?
Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, tendon, nerve, organ and bone, is the material that holds this sweater or web in place.
What was once thought of as simply the "packing material" of the body is now believed to play a major role in the body's function.
By working with the fascial system, we can release the "knots" or restrictions, and start to lessen the forces on other parts of the body, which would otherwise pull or put pressure on bones, organs, muscles and nerves. Such pressure may cause pain, the cause of which is not readily visible by traditional diagnostic exams (X-rays, CT, MRI).
In its normal, healthy state, fascia is flexible and fluid. After a physical or emotional trauma, repetitive stress or poor posture, the fascia can become hardened, thus putting a tremendous amount of pressure on pain sensitive structures. The good news is that with proper treatment, the fascial system is capable of changing back to its flexible, fluid state.
Myofascial release is a safe, effective form of therapy to help the fascial system return back to this flexible, fluid state. This allows for reduction or elimination of pain and discomfort as well as increased flexibility and movement throughout the body.
Often times symptoms (ex. shoulder pain) can be originated from elsewhere in the body. Through myofascial release, the symptom is first addressed first, but the cause is later found through listening to the signs your body gives.
Myofascial release techniques involve sustained pressure right at the barrier of the knot or fascial restriction. This pressure is held for a prolonged period of time, 3-5 minutes, sometimes longer. This gives the body the time it needs to "unravel" and release fascial restrictions on a deep level (called the ground substance), leading to long lasting changes within the system. Often times a fascial release is accompanied by the body starting to "unwind" which is when the body starts to spontaneously move in ways that self correct old holding patterns. This can happen in one area or throughout the system and can be an important part of the healing process, especially from trauma and or chronic pain conditions.
*For those of you who love science and want to dive into the the subject of fascia some more this video is for you!
Strolling under the Skin by Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau
Shows images of what fascia looks like under sustained pressure, as well as a visual of what the fascial layers look like (the ground substance is the fluid like layer).
Scroll to 24:45 on to see the best images.