What is Myofascial Release (MFR)?
We are all familiar with the phrase “stress is stored in the body”; the fascia is physiologically where stress of all kinds is held, and it can cause havoc, both physically, and also emotionally. Tension in the body can have a big impact on our emotional health, energy levels and general attitude to life. Holding on so tightly is hard work!
Myofascial release, using the John F. Barnes approach, is a gentle, hands-on, whole body treatment which addresses the cause of your problem, not just your symptoms. John F. Barnes (JFB) is an American physiotherapist who developed this way of working with the body’s connective tissue, which is known as the fascia. The fascia is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the entire body in an uninterrupted 3-dimensional web from head to toe. It surrounds every structure and system in the body, as well as being part of every cell and fibre. When the fascia becomes restricted from injury, trauma, surgery, physical or emotional stress, it solidifies and tightens, creating a crushing pressure of up to 2000lbs per square inch on muscles, nerves and the circulatory system which causes pain and dysfunction. MFR works to gently release these restrictions, restoring movement, balance and freedom.
Nothing in the natural world is linear and therefore nothing in the body is linear. We are 3-dimensional fluid beings, prey to the forces of nature such as gravity. If you look to nature, you will see there are no straight lines. It is hard for us to think in multiple dimensions, and so hard to get beyond the traditional way of working in healthcare (and life in general) where we try to do things in a logical, straight lined manner. MFR looks at the body as a dynamic, whole system, recognising that the place we feel pain or discomfort is often not the source of tightness/restriction. The whole body must be treated to bring about maximum relief of symptoms, stress, tension and pain. Within the body, everything affects everything. For example an injured foot can lead to altered gait, affecting pelvic alignment, which then has a knock on effect on how the torso is held, painful shoulders, sore necks, and headaches. We may not notice this chain of events occur and therefore only be aware when the chain of reaction reaches the head and causes headaches. Part of MFR involves listening to the body and following the signs and patterns that lead us to the source of restriction, rather than just the symptoms.
No straight lines in nature...
What happens during treatment?
After an initial assessment, you will be treated using hands-on techniques that work to gently release fascial restrictions throughout the body. Through palpation and seeing how your body moves, areas of tightness will be identified, and skillful treatment applied to affected areas. As the fascia is a whole body system, treatment with Myofascial Release aims to have a positive impact on the entire body. During treatment you may experience the advanced therapeutic movement aspect of Myofascial Release known as Myofascial Unwinding. This utilises the body’s inherent wisdom and allows for deep, and effective releases of old, restrictive patterns held within the connective tissue system. Through a combination of Myofascial Release, Myofascial Unwinding and also Myofascial Rebounding, long lasting relief and positive change can be experienced. Where appropriate, you will also be taught various self treatment methods so that you are able to continue the progress made during treatment between sessions.
What happens after treatment?
Myofascial release works to address deep restrictions and habitual patterns within the fascial system (which
is all the connective tissue within the body). Your treatment session will have helped to start the process of
releasing, unravelling and unwinding these patterns. This does not end once you are out of the treatment
room; the fascial system will continue the work begun in treatment to find healthier, freer patterns. This may
continue for hours or even days after treatment. This is completely normal. You may find yourself wanting to
stretch or move in ways you would not normally. You may feel energised, tired, relaxed, emotional, calm,
quiet, exhilarated, grounded, moody, or anywhere in between.
Healing is a process, and not a one off event. This means that over the next few days following treatment,
you are encouraged to listen to your body, and support this process as much as possible. Whatever comes
up, you are encouraged to flow with it, and to be gentle with yourself. Please drink plenty of water to help the
body rehydrate and flush toxins out of the areas that were restricted. If you are tired and are able to, then
rest. If you feel like you want to move or stretch, then trust your body, and follow those movements and s
tretches. You will sometimes experience strong sensations, but never push into pain that feels injurious.
Most people feel improvement immediately, however some may feel sore, or temporarily stirred up. This is
part of the healing process. Just like with any other therapy or form of treatment, you may feel worse before
you get better. This is normal, and will pass. Your body is shifting it’s alignment into healthier ways of being.
As restrictions in the fascia are released, and the body works to integrate the treatment, you may feel
achiness in unfamiliar areas, or in rare instances, feel sore all over. This may be your body asking for more
attention as deeper layers of restriction are uncovered. Gently stretch these areas if you can. In most cases,
any soreness will dissipate within a couple of days of treatment, and then you will feel freer within yourself.
Follow up treatment is recommended to continue the progress made.
Feel free to visit our on site Silent Space, or the Connection Space before or after your session. If you
wish to share any insights or experiences at any time, then please head over to the Connection Space and join