Myofascial Release


Live Fascia Image by Dr. J.C. Guimberteau

(John F. Barnes Trained)

What is fascia?
“Fascia is a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot functionally without interruption.” (John F. Barnes, P.T.)

What is the fascial system?
“The fascial system surrounds, infuses with, and has the potential to influence profoundly every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, organ, and cell of the body.  Fascia also separates, supports, connects, and protects everything.  This three-dimensional web of connective tissue is alive and ever changing as the body demands.  Thus it is a network for information exchange, influencing and influenced by every structure, system, and cell in the organism.  Like air and gravity, its influence is so all-pervasive that we have tended to take it for granted.” (John F. Barnes, P.T.)

Considering that every nerve in the body has the potential to be influenced by the fascial system, restrictions in the fascial system can alter the optimal performance of the nervous system.  The nervous system is the master communicator in our body ensuring that the body performs to its highest ability to sustain the activities of daily living.

What is a fascial restriction?
A fascial restriction is an area in the connective tissue where the tissue binds together inhibiting the fluidity and flow of the tissue causing malfunction of the entire fascial system.  When there is a fascial restriction in the body, cells become imprisoned as the ground substance (fluid) surrounding the cell solidifies preventing water and nutrients from keeping the cells in a healthy state.

What causes fascial restrictions?
Fascial restrictions can be the result of many different factors.

Some factors are: Trauma (physical or emotional), Inflammatory responses in the body due to injury, illness, or poor nutrition, Surgical procedures, Dental procedures, oral dysfunction, improper alignment, Poor posture, skeletal imbalance, Birthing process. Certainly this is not a comprehensive list.  Each person has their own individual human imprint, therefore, you cannot truly create an all encompassing list of causes.

What is myofascial release?
“Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress.” (John F. Barnes, P.T.)

“Myofascial release is so effective because it doesn’t partition off the body into isolated subsections.  It is based on the knowingness that every single part of the body is intimately connected to every other part of the body.  This connection occurs via the fascial web.” (What’s In Your Web? by Phil Tavolacci, MSPT, PT)

Myofascial Release is a comprehensive, whole body, hands-on approach that restores the necessary fluidity, flow, and dimension to the fascial system for peak performance of the human body.

What can be expected during a myofascial treatment?
Myofascial release is done directly on the skin without lotion or creams.  Clients will wear appropriate clothing allowing the therapist’s hand to contact the skin (athletic clothing, shorts, tank tops, etc.)

John F. Barnes trained Myofascial Release therapists utilize a whole body approach to treatment.  The therapist will be looking for postural imbalances or feeling for areas of restricted motion in the body tissue.  The therapist will encourage you to become aware of feelings in your body and share areas where you are feeling discomfort.  The therapist will engage your body tissue and “sink in” to meet the tissue.  You may notice the therapist working on an area that does not seem related to where you are feeling discomfort; however, as the fascial system is a three-dimensional uninterrupted connective tissue system connection anywhere in the system will have an affect on the entire system.

As a John F. Barnes Myofascial Release therapist, I agree with John’s statement that we are therapeutic artists creating an environment where the fascial system can flow freely and the buried emotions of trauma can be released allowing the client’s inner beauty to shine bright.


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