What is Myofascial Release?
The Myofascial Release Approach® developed by John F. Barnes is considered to be the ultimate therapy that is safe, gentle and consistently effective in producing results that last.
Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)
Traditional physical, occupational and massage therapy treats the symptoms caused by the pressure of the “straightjacket” of the Myofascial system, but does nothing about the “straightjacket” of pressure that causes and perpetuates the symptoms. This is why so many patients only have temporary results never seeming to get better with traditional therapy. Only Myofascial Release treats the entire Myofascial mind/body complex eliminating the pressure of the restricted Myofascial system (the straightjacket) that causes the symptoms.
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate.
The use of Myofascial Release allows us to look at each patient as a unique individual. Our one-on-one therapy sessions are hands-on treatments during which our therapists use a multitude of Myofascial Release techniques and movement therapy. We promote independence through education in proper body mechanics and movement, self treatment instruction, enhancement of strength, improved flexibility, and postural and movement awareness.
Each Myofascial Release Treatment session is performed directly on skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.) A high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems, but are not diagnosed.
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. The changes trauma causes in the fascial system influences comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
Problems MFR Helps
Chronic Pain is pain that persists longer than the time-frame of typical healing after injury. MFR decreases fascial restrictions throughout the body, including areas of previous injury to eliminate pain.
Emotional Trauma is a trauma resulting from past and/or present events in which emotional reactions have been suppressed. MFR provides a safe, non-judgmental environment in which suppressed feelings can be expressed and released.
Scars (hypertrophic, hypersensitive, painful, burn scars, mastectomy scars) Fibrous tissue that develops with healing of the skin after trauma, surgery or burns resulting in pain, sensitivity, numbness, tingling, or dense buildup of tissue in affected areas. MFR decreases tightness of scar tissue to alleviate pain, restore normal sensation, and decrease thickness of scar tissue.
Cervical and Lumbar Injuries can occur from a variety of reasons. Since the spine bears a majority of the body's weight, fractures and misalignment can cause excessive pressure and pain in the cervical and lumber regions of the body. MFR helps to alleviate tightness and restore motion and function by decreasing he pressure cause by tight connective tissues.
Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid filled sac found between bones and muscles resulting in pain and decreased motion. MFR decreases tightness of the tissues surrounding the bursa to alleviate pressure, restore full motion, and eliminate inflammation of the bursa.
Back Pain is one of the most common disorders in the world. Over 33 million Americans suffer from back pain each year and are frustrated by the lack of improvement. Myofascial Release is extremely helpful in reducing back pain, restoring the motion and flexibility of the entire spine by treating the front and back three-dimensionally and the associated pelvis which is considered to be the foundation of the spine.
Bulging or Herniated Disc is a distention or rapture of the fibrous material that makes up an intervertebral disc (cushioning tissue found between each vertebrae in the spine) resulting from direct trauma, heavy lifting, repetitive activities, or compression from tight muscles surrounding the spine. Bulging or herniated discs can cause neck pain, back pain, and/or radiating pain into the arms and legs. MFR can help by decreasing tightness in the tissues surrounding the spine to prevent further herniation and decrease pain and symptoms.
Sciatica is pain in the low back that radiates down the back of the thigh, calf, or entire leg due to compressed nerves and disc problems. This problem can be caused over time by tightness and spasm that accumulates from overuse of the back through repetitive bending, lifting heavy objects, or as a result of direct trauma to the area. MFR decreases tightness and spasm in the tissues surrounding the low back and bones of the spine to decrease compression of nerves and restore optimal postural alignment to eliminate symptoms.
Scoliosis is a curvature and rotation of the spine in the shape of a “C” or “S” resulting in uneven shoulder levels or a hump in the back. Often associated with back pain and/or neck pain, it can be caused by birth, physical trauma, or associated with other diagnoses such as cerebral palsy. Many individuals with scoliosis also have a poorly aligned pelvis and differing leg lengths. MFR decreases tightness of tissues surrounding the spine and pelvis to restore proper alignment of the hip bones and bones of the spine. This decreases symptoms, improves posture, and restores even leg length.
Neck pain is a constant or intermittent discomfort originating with the cervical area of the spine. The pain can be located within the neck or can refer into the head, arms or other parts of the body causing pain, numbness, and loss of strength, muscle spasms and mobility. MFR can help to remove the compression that restrictions can apply to pain sensitive structures in the cervical region and associated structures that cause pain and dysfunction.
Whiplash Neck pain as a result of muscle spasm from the head being whipped forward and backward at high speeds such as in a car accident. Whiplash can also be associated with headaches and difficulty moving or turning the head. MFR decreases tightness and spasm of the muscles in the neck to restore mobility of the neck and eliminate pain.
TMJ Syndrome is pain and/or clicking with opening and closing the jaw. Often, TMJ syndrome is associated with painful biting, chewing, grinding of the teeth, and headaches. It can be caused by postural imbalances or direct trauma to the face or jaw. Postural imbalances cause excessive tightness and tension in the jaw. MFR decreases tightness in the tissues surrounding the jaw and mouth, eliminates pain and grinding, and restores optimal postural alignment to allow the jaw to work properly and smoothly.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is pain, numbness, or tingling in the eyes, nose, lips, scalp, forehead, or jaw due to compression or trauma to the trigeminal nerve. MFR decreases tightness in the tissues and fascia of the face and head to decrease compression of the nerve and resolve symptoms.
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) is a conditions that results in pain and constant difficulty with moving the shoulder due to scarring of the connective tissues in and around the shoulder joint. A frozen shoulder can occur after a fall or repetitive movement of the arm that aggravates and stresses the shoulder. MFR restores mobility to tissue that is scarred or adhered in and surrounding the shoulder joint to restore the ability to fully move the shoulder without pain.
Tennis Elbow is pain and tenderness in the forearm, especially surrounding the elbow that intensifies with use of the arm and hand. MFR decreases tightness of tissue and muscles in the forearm surrounding the elbow to alleviate symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Tightness in the wrist resulting in compression and swelling of the nerves that feed the hand resulting in numbness, tingling, and pain in the fingers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually caused by repetitive movement of the arms and hands. MFR decreases the tightness of the tissues in the chest, neck, and arms to allow the nerves to glide easily and freely to eliminate symptoms.
Shin Splints Painful shins resulting from overuse or excessive activities such as running or jumping. MFR decreases tightness and fascial restrictions of the tissues in the shins and legs to alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence with future physical activity.
Plantar Fascitis The band of tissue that spans the arch of the foot becomes tight, inflamed, and tender making it painful to walk. Plantar Fascitis can be caused by poor alignment of bones in the foot, a poorly aligned pelvis coupled with using unsupportive shoes or walking on hard surfaces. MFR decreases tightness in the tissues of the leg and bottom of the foot to restore proper alignment of the hip bones and bones of the feet to enable pain-free walking.
Pelvic Pain Chronic and persistent pain throughout the pelvic and abdominal areas. MFR decreases tightness of tissues surrounding the pelvic and abdominal areas to eliminate symptoms.
Bladder Problems (Urgency, Frequency, Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, Leakage), Partial or complete loss of bladder control when coughing or sneezing, feeling the need to frequently urinate, or inability to reach the toilet in time. MFR decreases the tightness and spasm in the pelvic floor muscles and tissues surrounding the bladder to regain normal function.
Vulvodynia is persistent vulvar burning, pain, and discomfort. MFR decreases tightness and tissue restrictions surrounding the pelvic area and reproductive organs to eliminate problematic symptoms.
Pudendal Nerve Entrapment is a type of chronic pelvic pain that is caused by compression of the pudendal nerve by tight fascia, muscles, or internal scar tissue/adhesions. Symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, burning, or stabbing sensations in the vulva, vagina, urethra, rectum, and perineum. This condition is also associated with painful intercourse, impotence, and bladder or bowel incontinence. There is generally much discomfort with sitting. Pudendal nerve entrapment can also be caused by pregnancy, surgical scarring and trauma/accidents. By providing gentle, sustained hands-on stretching into the areas of fascial restriction, Myofascial Release can restore the necessary slack to the system to take the pressure off of the pudendal nerve. This helps to eliminate pain and improve the ability to sit, engage in intercourse, and maintain continence.