What is Myofascial Release?

John F. Barnes Myofascial Release is likely different from any other form of massage or bodywork you may have experienced.  In Myofascial Release we treat not just the symptoms, but also look elsewhere and treat the causes of your pain, discomfort or dysfunction.  The cause is almost always somewhere else…together we unravel your own particular set of restrictions and holding patterns.  I will ask you to be an active participant in your healing…feeling into your body, noticing patterns, perhaps beginning to feel on a deeper level than you ever have before.  It may sound daunting…but it is actually empowering!  Together we help you find the key to your healing, and we give you tools to continue the process on your own between sessions.

Yes, but what is “Myofascial”?

Myo=muscle, and we do work with the muscles, but what makes Myofascial Release different, and so much more effective, is that we also work with the “fascia”, which is your connective tissue- basically the glue that holds you together!  Fascia runs like a three dimensional web throughout your entire body.  Not only does it connect muscle to bone, and bone to bone, but it also holds your organs in place.  It surrounds your muscles, it is around each individual cell.  You have a superficial layer of fascia right under your skin.  Fascia is a dense connective tissue that runs contiguously throughout your body and gives your body shape.  You would be a gelatinous mass on the floor without it!  Also very interesting:  it has been found that fascia can exert up to 2000 pounds per square inch of pressure.  That is stronger than steel!  Is it any wonder you might experience painful symptoms in muscles, nerves, etc. with this amount of force being applied to your tissue and pulling you out of alignment?  This fascia has been largely ignored in most other therapies.  It needs to be treated in a distinctly different manner in order to be released and the results are often profound.  Think of a spider web:  when you pull on a corner of the web, the entire web moves.  In your fascial web, the same thing happens.  So, an old abdominal surgical scar, with its tightening and pulling, may actually be one of the causes of your current back pain, for example.  Everyone is different.  This is not a one size fits all therapy.  We work together to find and release your own specific patterns.

Why has my fascia tightened and pulled me out of alignment?

There are many reasons this can happen, but trauma, inflammation, scar tissue and habitual postural holding patterns are some possibilities.

But I have been to see many doctors, why hasn’t anyone ever mentioned this before?

Fascial restrictions do not show up on the standard medical tests such as Xrays and CAT scans.  A great number of people who have pain issues are experiencing fascial restriction problems.  If you have had all the tests and nobody seems to be able to tell you what is wrong, there is a great likelihood that Myofascial Release can help.  Your tests weren’t worthless, now you know what the problem is not!  Let’s work together to release your fascial restrictions and see what changes are possible.  Don’t give up hope!

But how do we release the “restrictions”?

We start by taking a history of what is going on for you, where you hurt or feel tingling, or can’t move.  We then move into postural assessment, looking for visual cues of where your fascia is pulling you out of alignment.  Next, we begin treatment, with both of us working together to feel into your body.  We will notice where we feel tightness, pulling, hardness, and where you feel sensations.  Through mostly gentle techniques, like sustained pressure into restrictions, we gradually unravel your web of restrictions. Some techniques feel like very slow stretching.  Many people report that it is relaxing and that they feel lighter and more connected to their body.  I will also give you some tools to use so you can continue to improve on your own at home.  It is very different from your standard relaxation massage (John Barnes trains not just massage therapists, but also physical, occupational and speech therapists).  The results usually last much longer once we begin to unravel the causes rather than just treat symptoms.

What kinds of pain and dysfunction can Myofascial Release help treat?

Myofascial Release is effective in treating back pain, neck pain, headaches, jaw pain (TMJ), sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip issues, shoulder issues, whiplash, migraines, scoliosis, adhesions, fibromyalgia, disc problems, myofascial pain syndrome,  chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, sports injuries, painful scars, and more.  Please ask if you don’t see your specific issue listed, and we can discuss whether or not Myofascial Release could help you!

How long will this take?

Sessions last one hour.  It is impossible to say exactly how many sessions it will take to resolve your particular issues without seeing you, and feeling your restrictions.  Even then, there are a lot of variables:  how long have these issues been going on, how willing are you to be an active participant in your healing, etc.  Sometimes just one or two sessions are able to provide an immense amount of relief, and sometimes it is a more gradual process.