WHAT IS JOHN F BARNES' MYOFASCIAL RELEASE APPROACH®? HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM MASSAGE?
John F Barnes' Myofascial Release Approach (MFR) is a hands-on approach to treatment of the whole body. Through application of gentle yet firm sustained pressure directly on your skin and into the fascial system, in combination with stretch and motion, the therapist facilitates the release of restricted tissue and helps to ease tensions in the body.
Massage therapy concentrates on the manual manipulation of your soft tissue. It involves techniques such as kneading and gliding, to temporarily reduce tension and induce relaxation. Myofascial Release uses sustained pressure to create a permanent change by rehydrating the fascia, allowing it to stretch and lengthen, effectively relieving pain and restoring range of motion.
Myofascial Release Healing Ancient Wounds: The Renegade's Wisdom
By John F. Barnes, PT
Touching Light, How to Free Your Fiber-Optic Fascia
By Ronelle Wood
For a complete list of resources & recommended readings please click here.
HOW DO RESTRICTIONS FORM?
Trauma (falls, accidents, physical and emotional abuse), posture, lack of motion, inflammatory reactions (autoimmune conditions, illnesses and disease), surgical procedures, and the effects of gravity on a misaligned body can create restrictions in our fascial system.
All of these experiences can solidify and stiffen our connective tissue thus creating symptoms of pain, decreased range of motion, fatigue, general feelings of dis-ease and imbalance.
WHAT IS FASCIA?
In a healthy and well-functioning body your fascia is strong, fluid and flexible. Fascia is a connective tissue made of three main components: collagen, elastin, and a polysaccharide gel complex which is we refer to as the ‘ground substance’. Collagen and elastin work together to create a web-like formation of strong and flexible fibrils. The ground substance fills in the spaces in this web, lubricating the fibrils and cushioning the organs. These three aspects work as a harmonious system that ensures healthy movement, support, and protection of all body systems.
Your fascia spreads from head to toe is one continuous, uninterrupted system. It is like an internal sweater weaving through and around all structures in your body including muscles, joints, nerves, blood vessels, and even your organs. So when you injure yourself, whether through trauma (falls, accidents, physical and emotional abuse), posture, lack of motion, inflammatory reactions (autoimmune conditions, illnesses and disease), or surgical procedures, you also injure the interconnected fascial tissue. This injury to the fascial system causes it to tighten, become restricted and dehydrated; the restrictions in one part of the body thus affect the tissue and structures in other parts, because they are all connected through this interconnected continuous web of fascia. Often the pain you feel in your neck most likely originated elsewhere in your body; similar to a snag in a sweater that pulls a thread tight to another location within the sweater.
Fascial tension is often the culprit for un-diagnosable chronic pain. Imagine how the web-like structure I described is interwoven with blood vessels and nerves. When the fascia is tight for a long time it begins to put undue pressure -almost 2000 lbs per square inch- on those nerves and blood vessels, creating symptoms of pain and poor circulation. These restrictions then spread, like a run in a nylon stocking. In addition to the tightness around pain sensitive tissues, the gel-like ground substance solidifies, making absorption of vital nutrients more difficult. Your body is now working much harder than it needs to in order to deliver essential nutrients throughout your body. Over time the fibrils of your fascial web will start to lose their elasticity and the shock absorption of your body diminishes. The best way to bring your body back into its harmonious state of strength, flexibility, and protection is by releasing these fascial restrictions.