Balanced Spirit Massage Therapy & MFR

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Overview of Myofascial Release

The above video is a courtesy of Richard Harty, PT & well respected JFBMFR practitioner

What is Fascia?

Fascia is the 3 dimensional web of connective tissue that runs in a continuous fashion throughout the entire body.  It consists of collagen, elastin, and ground substance.  It interconnects every muscle, muscle fiber, and encompasses every organ, nerve, blood vessel, bone, and cell. Essentially, the network of fascia is the "glue" that holds the body together.  Its function is to provide support, stability, and cushioning.  

What are Fascial Restrictions & how are they caused?

Fascial restrictions are a type of dysfunction that develops when connective tissue  becomes overly dense and inflexible.  A loss of pliability and resilience often has a negative impact on the body, creating muscular tension, imbalance, and pain complexes.  Fascia can exert up to 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch on pain sensitive structures.  This is equivalent to the strength of a steel belted tire.

Fascial restrictions can be caused by repetitive activities, injury, poor posture, and even emotional trauma or distress.  Unless there is an obvious tear or rupture, it is unlikely that fascial restrictions can be visualized, even with the most advanced modalities in the field of medicine.  This is why they do not show up on x-rays, CT scans, nor MRI films. 

What is JFB Myofascial Release?

John F. Barnes approach to Myofascial Release is a hands-on style of bodywork whereby gentle, but firm pressure is applied to the restricted area.  The practitioner then creates a gentle "stretch," holding the position for a minimum of 90-120 seconds to engage the fascial system.  Since fascia is multidimensional with many layers, it is not uncommon to maintain the stretch for at least 5-15 minutes or longer.  The desired tissue response determines the length of time spent on a technique, and patience is critical.

What conditions are treated?

Since fascia is a ubiquitous network, many ailments can be relieved through MFR. Here is a partial list:

Back pain, neck stiffness/discomfort, Headaches, TMJ problems, Chronic fatigue, Post Surgical scarring/dysfunction, Pelvic Imbalances, Fibromyalgia, Sports injuries, emotional trauma, carpal tunnel syndrome, Chronic Pain.

What to expect?

Typically, the first session is 90 minutes duration, includes an interview, filling out a health history form, and a postural assessment followed by hands on treatment.  

Skin to skin contact is paramount to engage the tissue without gliding.  Clients must not apply any moisturizers or other lotions prior to the session.

Clients wear minimal clothing:

Women-sports bra and loose fitting shorts or a two piece bathing suit, tank top (optional).

Men-loose fitting shorts or bathing trunks, tank top (optional).

What does myofascial release feel like?

Every person is a unique individual, each with his/her own history and life circumstances.  It's understood that the tissues of the human body contain information or "memories" of those circumstances within the fascial system that can result in a restriction and have profound negative effects.  

When the practitioner places her hands on the client, it can be felt as a gentle stretch.  With prolonged engagement, the tissue will "relax." Sometimes the release can be felt in the form of softening, electricity, heat, shaking/twitching, or other movement.  Natural and spontaneous movement of the body is the ultimate place for healing to occur and is called "Unwinding."

It's important to be patient and allow the body's own wisdom to self correct and heal, without expectations nor judgment.  

What can I expect after my treatment?

Many clients will feel a sense of freedom upon release of fascial restrictions.  There may be increased range of motion as well.  

Sometimes, symptoms (both physical and emotional) may worsen before they improve.  This phenomenon is called a "healing crisis," a normal reaction which occurs as unblocked memories/trauma "bubble up to the surface," and are processed by the body in attempt to Let Go. Remember, healing takes time, and is not linear.  Tell your practitioner what you are experiencing so that she can support you through the process.

How many sessions will it take to fix me?

Though Myofascial Release Therapists who are taught by John Barnes and his qualified instructors are highly skilled and intuitive therapists, we are not trained to "fix" people.  MFR is an effective style of bodywork that facilitates the body's propensity to heal itself.  The frequency and number of sessions will vary with each individual.

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