Myofascial Release (MFR) is a manual therapy used to restore balance to the body through the treatment of chronic restrictions in connective tissue that often result in chronic pain and dysfunction. Connective tissue, also known as "fascia", is one of the most ignored aspects of the human body by modern day medicine. Fascia holds and supports all body systems in place three dimensionally creating a soft tissue structural evironment for all of the systems to function together. It might be helpful to think of fascia in your own body as your "soft tissue body suit".
What exactly is Fascia and why should it be treated?
Fascia manifests as a dense connective tissue layered three dimensionally throughout the body from head to toe without interruption. It permeates muscles, makes up tendons and ligaments, and wraps and holds internal organs in place. Nerves and blood vessels run through fascia and are suspended in place throughout the body. Trauma and inflammatory responses can create restrictions in fascia of approximately 2,000 lbs per square inch that do not show up on any standard tests such as x-rays, MRI’s, and CAT scans. This results in a dynamic where the body ends up squeezing itself. This internal straight jacket applies pressure to pain sensitive structures such as muscles, nerves, and blood vessels resulting in chronic pain, headaches, restricted range-of-motion, and disease.
What is Myofascial Release and how does it work?
MFR is a safe and highly effective approach to treating chronic holding patterns and tightening in connective tissue that often occur as a result of poor posture, physical trauma, prolonged repetitive strain, and chronic inflammation.
In the 1960's, Myofascial Release developer, John F. Barnes, P.T. had a serious weight lifting accident that resulted in a ruptured lumbar vertebrae and numerous torn lumbar ligaments. Rought by constant pain 24/7, Barnes discovered that by using his own hands to apply gentle sustained pressure into his low back over a period of minutes resulted in fundamental changes in the consistency of the tight tissue. As the tissue softened, tremendous pain relief would occur. He became curious about this, and soon began to apply what he was learning in his own body to injured patients in his practice with excellent results. Out of these humble beginnings, and through experimentation, patient feedback, trial and error, and intution, the "John F. Barnes, P.T. approach to Myofascial Release" was born. Forty years later, John has trained over 100,000 health care professionals from all over the world in a diverse range of specialties.
Today we know all other forms of manual therapy, including massage, only release the elastic and muscular component of connective tissue, and that the success Barnes was achieving with MFR was due to its effect on the collagenous component. Collagen (the most common protien in the human body) is what gives connective tissue its tremendous strength (2,000 lbs per square inch). The gentle sustained pressure of MFR actually melts collagen in tight restricted tissues changing it from a thickened dehydrated state and allowing it to return to a natural gel-like state. As this happens, restricted connective tissue can then be permanently stretched resulting in pain relief, enhanced range-of-motion, relief of internal pressure, and a sense inside the body of comfort and spaciousness.
What is Therapeutic Touch and how does it work?
Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a form of subtle energy healing that may be used alone or in conjunction with your Myofascial Release session. The name "Therapeutic Touch" is somewhat of a misnomer, as it is used to treat the energy field that surrounds the body. It is based on the premise that on an energetic level, we do not stop at our skin. However, TT is a serious research based tool for effectively providing pain relief, profound relaxation, and injury healing. TT is currently utilized as a nursing procedure at Seattle Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center.
A brief history of TT
TT is a contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices from indigenous cultures. It is a consciously directed process of energy exchange during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate healing. TT was developed in the early 1970’s by Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., Professor of Nursing at New York University, and Dora Kunz, a noted healer and former president of the Theosophical Society in America. It is based on the belief that a human being is a complex system of energies, and that disease/disorder may occur when there is congestion, depletion and/or imbalance of energy.
TT is grounded in compassion and each treatment is given the conscious intent to help a person re-pattern energy to facilitate healing. It has a strong research base which continues to this day in many major medical centers and universities, and is utilized in more than 90 countries throughout the world.