Understanding Myofascial Release

First of all, it's importiant to understand FASCIA

Fascia is connective tissue. It covers, surrounds, lines and infuses with EVERY STRUCTURE in the body...muscles, organs, nerves, blood vessels. It is the environment of every cell. There is even a fascial component (collagen) within cells.

Fascia is a 3-dimensional web, continuous from head to foot. One component of fascia is elastic, the other (collagen) is very dense and strong. It is capable of exerting great pressure on the system...up to 2000 pounds per square inch!

Fascial restrictions are frequently the source of pain, restricted motion and other dysfunction.

Fascial restrictions do not show up on any of our currently used tests or scans (X-ray, MRI, CAT scans, blood tests etc.)

Fascial Restrictions can be released effectively without the use of medications or surgery.

How is Fascia related to my symptoms?

Fascia in its healthy state is supple and elastic. When we experience trauma in the form of accidents, injuries, surgeries, etc. the fascia can become tight and restricted. This can be a healthy reaction to protect the body while healing takes place. Often though, the healing process is not completed and the fascia stays tight, restricting motion and/or causing pain. Over time, this restricted area impacts other parts of the body. This is because the fascia is a continuous web throughout the entire body. Eventually, we experience pain from the extreme pressure that fascia can exert on pain-sensitive structures. Pulling on one part can affect other seemingly unrelated parts. Once you become familiar with the inter-relatedness of the fascial stystem, you will not be surprised to find that a painful shoulder, for example, may be related to an old knee injury.

Can Fascial restrictions be related to emotional pain, depression or insomnia?

Yes! Fascial restrictions most often begin with some kind of trauma, starting early in life; falls, accidents, injuries, surgeries, events involving fear, anxiety and terror can all be part of fascial restrictions. John Barnes says that all fascial restrictions have an emotional component. Over time, these holding patterns get layered upon one another in various ways (unique to each individual and their life-experience). Releasing holding patterns is not a "silver bullet" approach. It is a process which unfolds over time.

How does Myofascial Release work?

Through gentle, sustained pressure at the collagenous barrier we give each restriction time to release (a minimum of 90 seconds to 2 minutes) and then as the tissue begins to release, we follow it to the next barrier until the tissue begins to soften and rehydrate. Sometimes a technique called "rebounding" is used. This is a gentle rocking motion that allows fascial restrictions to begin to be addressed in a wave-like motion. In the safety of the therapeutic environment, the body may begin to spontaneously "unwind". This is the body's own inherent healing wisdom at work. Unwinding can be extremely therapeutic and helpful, but it is never led or forced.

Can I learn to release Fascial restrictions on my own?

Yes. In fact you will progress more quickly and go more deeply in this work if you take time at home to do "self-unwinding" and myofascial exercises. There is a very good book to help you along called Myofascial Stretching A Guide to Self-Treatment by Morton and Stedrondsy. Your therapist will also provide you with suggestions for home care.

Why don't I already know about Fascia and its importance?

Have you ever heard of a paradigm shift? When we all move seemingly at once, from perceiving something as ridiculous, impossible or insane to perceiving it as absolutely obvious? Think of Copernicus who could not reveal the secret of what he knew until he was on his death bed --that the earth was NOT the center of the Universe -- because he would have been burned as a heretic! We are, hopefully, beyond torturing people for holding revolutionary points of view, but we are still very reluctant to consider possible truths which lie outside of our currently held belief system. Until very recently, health sciences have not considered the connective tissue to be anything more significant than a sort of "wrapping." Things are beginning to change and the momentum is building. There is now an annual international medical Conference on Fascia and a great breakthrough has very recently been made by French scientists who have been able to film living fascial tissue. See "Strolling Under the Skin" by Jean-Claud Guimberteau. The images are astounding and won't be able to be ignored. Add to this the fact that many thousands of individuals have been helped out of pain by Myofascial Release where all other therapies have failed. The paradigm is shifting.

The Fascial web and Fascial restrictions can be felt.

They don't require "belief." Once felt, once we begin to "take the pressure off" it's impossible not to see and understand the important role of FASCIA in our health and well-being.

For more Information:

To make an appointment, call (541) 729-0048

For more information on Myofascial Release, go to our MFR page or visit John Barnes' website.