The Myofascial Release Approach was pioneered by John F. Barnes PT who has been treating patients successfully since 1960. Barnes is a world-renowned physical therapist who is the owner, director and chief physical therapist of the “Sanctuary” in Malvern, Pennsylvania as well as “Therapy on the Rocks” in Sedona, Arizona. He has trained over 100,000 therapists and physicians to treat patients with his enormously successful Myofascial Release Approach.
MFR is a natural and holistic approach to treat Myofascial Restriction. A hands-on technique is utilized by an MFR therapist to apply gentle and sustained pressure to the affected area. This encourages the restricted area to soften and lengthen which results in a reduction in pain and restoration of motion.
Myofascial Restriction is a loss of pliability of the fascia due to physical or emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation. The fascia becomes solidified, much like taffy, and loses its flexibility. The fascia is then tight, restricted, and a source of tension for the entire body. Fascial restrictions have the capability of putting 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on pain sensitive structures which leads to soreness and discomfort not only in the area affected by the restriction, but in other areas of the body as well. Myofascial Restriction has lasting effects on every system and function of the body such as the muscular and cellular systems, neurological and metabolic functions, and so on and so forth.
Fascial restriction affects the flexibility and stability of the body. Some symptoms of pressure from fascia restrictions are pain, headaches, and restriction of motion. Many other issues can also be a result of a fascial restriction. Back pain, neck pain, headaches, migraines, women’s health issues, and digestive issues are some examples of problems that can be related to a restriction of the fascia. Not only does a restricted fascia cause physical discomfort, it also affects a person’s mental well- being. Dealing with chronic pain can affect emotional health as it can lead to isolation from others due to depression and anxiety.
Myofascial restrictions cannot be detected with x-rays, myelograms, or other current imaging techniques which means that a great deal of people could have undiagnosed fascial restrictions.
The fascia system is much like the central nervous system and works as a primary support system for the body. It is a structure of fibrous connected tissue that is densely woven, much like a sweater, throughout the entire body without interruption all the way to the cellular level. This three-dimensional web of tissue is interwoven through every bone, muscle, tissue, and organ. The fascia surrounds and attaches to all structures, which is why a restriction in one area has effects on other areas of the body.
In a healthy state, the fascia is relaxed, wavy in configuration, and stretches and moves without restriction. It is composed of elasto-collagenous complex and has three parts:
Elastin – This is the core of the complex and the most elastic part
Collagen – These are extremely tough fibers and give support to the structure by coiling around the elastic fibers
Ground substance/matrix – A gelatinous component that transports metabolic material through the body as well as acting as a cushion.
Benefits of Myofascial Release
Myofascial Release is a whole-body approach to authentic healing that produces lasting results. Pain related to fascial restriction is often treated with physical therapy and pain medication. The Myofascial Release Approach designed by John F. Barnes is a hands-on technique that addresses the source of the pain instead of just the symptoms. MFR is performed by a trained Myofascial Release Therapist without the aid of oils, creams, or machinery. This allows them to more accurately detect fascial restrictions and determine the appropriate amount of pressure to apply to the affected area. By applying gentle and sustained pressure to the fascial restriction, the therapist can soften and lengthen the fascia which restores pliability and flexibility. This creates space and flows throughout the fascia system initiating a positive change in our physical and emotional selves. The therapist also teaches individuals several self-care techniques to apply at home and enhance the body’s healing. The MFR Approach is used to treat acute and chronic pain, dysfunction, and restricted motion to improve overall cellular health.