The John F. Barnes’ Myofascial ReleaseApproach®
Myofasical Release (MFR) is a gentle modality that releases myofascial restrictions. Most people who have tension and pain in their bodies, have myofascial pain. Myo (meaning muscle) and fascia (meaning bundle or band).
I have found MFR to be superior to other modalities in situations where the fascia needs a deeper and more profound release. If a client doesn’t release fully with Bowenwork, then I usually recommend MFR. MFR gives me the time and ability to work on those fascial layers that are really glued. This is common with those of you who have chronic tension patterns and pain such as with conditions like hip/back problems, core and gut challenges (hernias, diastasis recti, digestive), sciatica, unresolving neck and shoulder tension, TMJ, headaches, cranial and ear problems, digestive problems, breathing/ diaphragm issues, PFD, leg tension, frozen shoulder, etc.
Fascia is the aqueous connective tissue that surrounds and supports EVERY TISSUE in the body..meaning all your organs, muscles, joints, bones, etc. It is what allows for the glide between structures, and is the KEY COMMUNICATOR of the body. It is comprised of tiny microtubules of water and ground substance that allow for transmission of electricity and fluid. Think fiber optic system of the human body. If the fascia is tight, dehydrated and restricted as is often the case with trauma, injury, dysfunctional movement and non-movement patterns (like chair sitting), the fascia becomes GLUED. As the fascial sheaths become STUCK, they can create up to 2,000lbs of pressure thus wreaking havoc on your body’s health leading to all sorts of problems from pain and inflammatory processes!
Most modalites only address 20% of elastic and muscular components of the myofascial complex. They use too much pressure or not enough time to allow the fascial to release. This is why so many people getting forms of massage, chiropractic and physical therapy only have temporary benefit.
In order to get the other 80% of the fascia to release, you must put the right amount of pressure on the collagenous barrier for 3-5 minutes (sometimes longer). Too much pressure (think massage, PT techniques and other forms of myofascial release) and the body goes into a guarding and protection mechanism…too little pressure and not enough time and the collagenous barrier is not engaged. This is what makes John Barnes myofascial release technique different than all the other myofascial modalities out there. The pressure given by the practitioners is unique to the client’s body and the practitioner is FEELING into the system while getting feedback from the body. The release happens when the body is ready and this cannot be rushed. I often feel the mechanical changes happening in the body…I feel a rush of electricity, an increase in fluid flow, heat and then suddenly a melting underneath my hands.
Once the collagenous barrier is broken through, something pretty remarkable happens. An electrical current is generated called piezoelectric energy. As pressure is put on our cells which are crystalline in nature, they actually begin to create an electrical current with pressure from the therapist’s hands. As electricity flows, it brings fluid into stuck, dehydrated areas and allows the system to start flowing. This electrical flow then leads to mechanotransduction which is essentially a process of cells hitting other cells. Think SQUISHING. The mechanics of cells bumping up and squishing other cells elicits a whole biochemical reaction allowing your body to begin healing at a cellular level. This then leads to phase transition, which is a period of chaos where change and healing occur. From there we have resonance and release. After the release, we have the return of flow, reduction in stress and release of pain and tension patterns.