A mild, gentle form of stretching fascial fibers

John F. Barnes' Myofascial release (MFR) is somewhat different from other traditional soft tissue therapies on the market. You may be wondering, “what is it?” or “how does it work?”

Myofascial Release is generally a mild, gentle form of stretching that has shown to be effective for:
Decreasing Pain
Relieving Stress
Improving Posture and Alignment
Increasing Energy and Endurance
Increasing Mind and Body Awareness/ Function
Improved strength, flexibility, mobility
Increased feeling of well-being

In order to understand how MFR works, one must understand what the Fascial system is and how it works. Fascia, also called connective tissue, is an organ system of the body. It covers every muscle fiber, muscle group, nerve, organ, bone, blood vessel, cell that we have in our body. It resembles an interconnected web – like a spider’s web – that covers us from head to toe.

Fascia is composed of two types of fibers:
1) Collagenous fibers (very tough fibers with little stretch-ability)
2) Elastic fibers (which are stretchy)
Fascia is affected by trauma. Trauma to the fascia can be physical or emotional, chronic poor posture, or inflammation, etc. Trauma to the fascia causes the fascia to harden. Hardened fascia can exert up to 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch on whatever tissue it covers.

To put that into perspective, think of an alligator… their jaw strength when they bite down is 2,000 pounds per square inch. Or if alligators aren’t your thing, imagine the weight of 83 cases of 16 oz. bottles of water (roughly 1,992 – 16oz. bottles) on top of your head. That’s roughly the same amount of weight as a King size water bed!! I don’t know about you, but being stuck under a King Size water bed or having 83 cases of 16 oz. water bottles on top of me would make it extremely hard and uncomfortable to move.

Back to the fascial system, it’s essentially an interconnected web, and a hardened area in it can pull on all the other areas of the body with 2000 pounds of pressure, which can result in symptoms of pain, burning tingling, numbness, etc. in an area far from the original site of trauma. Imagine when you pull threads on a sweater – what happens? Well, when you pull one thread in a sweater, all the other threads in the sweater will organize along the line of tension (or “pulled thread”).

As the body becomes more ridged, other fascial strings harden and pull resulting in loss of flexibility and mobility… which means more energy is needed just to stand up and perform daily tasks. As the process continues and the health of the fascial system degrades (if untreated) the body may not respond to daily stressors as well, organ function may be compromised and chronic pain may develop.
So how does this translate into what will happen during your MFR therapy session. It means that, you may be treated in areas that you may not think are related to your condition. During an MFR therapy session, the practitioner will work on enabling you to experience a fascial release in the areas that the practitioner knows have a strong drag on your area of injury/ chronic pain. It is a whole body approach to treatment.

A key to the success of Myofascial Release treatments is to keep the pressure and stretch extremely mild. Muscle tissue responds to a relatively firm stretch, but this is not the case with fascia. Remember the collagenous fibers of fascia are extremely tough and resistant to stretch. In fact, it is estimated that fascia has a tensile strength of as much as 2000 pounds per square inch. (No wonder when it tightens, it can cause pain.)
However, it has been shown that under a small amount of pressure (applied by a therapist’s hands) fascia will soften and begin to release when the pressure is sustained over time. This can be likened to pulling on a piece of taffy with only a small, sustained pressure.

Another important aspect of Myofascial Release techniques is holding the technique long enough. The therapeutic affect will begin to take place after holding a gentle stretch and following the tissue three dimensionally with skilled, sensitive hands. Myofascial Release is gentle and often described as feeling like light to moderate touch and stretching, resulting in profound effects upon the body tissues.

MFR promotes a freely moving body

Call 602-821-5008 to book your appointment today!