"Healing is not an event, it is a process."
--John F. Barnes, PT--
What is the John Barnes myofascial release approach?
The JBMFR approach is a form of manual therapy that uses gentle, sustained pressure into the muscle and fascial tissue of the body and is used to reduce tissue restriction, decrease inflammation and pain, improve posture, and restore motion.
This approach combines three techniques: myofascial release, myofascial unwinding, and myofascial rebounding.
What is fascia?
Fascia is dense connective tissue that covers and penetrates every muscle, nerve, bone, blood vessel, and internal organ all the way down to the cellular level. It is the only whole body system that can be described as a continuous 3-dimensional web that reaches from head to toe. Much like yarn in a sweater, the fascia is interconnected throughout the body.
Why is fascia important?
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies since it has an effect on all structures of the body. Normal fascia is supple, pliable, and freely moving allowing the body to move unrestricted. Physical trauma, emotional trauma, surgery, inflammation, and scarring causes the fascia to become tight and restricted. These restrictions can put excessive pressure on nerves and blood vessels and can restrain the body’s movement causing changes in posture. These restrictions can result in a variety of symptoms including pain, headaches, and lack of mobility.
Fascial restrictions can exert an enormous amount of pressure causing a number of symptoms including pain, headachess, and mobility issues. Restrictions can affect our posture and our relationship with gravity resulting in increased energy expenditure and fatigue.
Why have I not heard of fascia?
The current healthcare system has yet to recognize the importance of this whole body system. Fascial restrictions cannot be detected by standard tests such as CT scans, MRI, X-rays, electromyography, etc and thus often go undiagnosed. It is theorized that a significant percentage of people suffering with pain and mobility issues may be having fascial problems, but often they remain undiagnosed.
What do I need to wear for my session?
Please wear a either a swimsuit, underwear or loose fitting shorts and sports bra. Your therapist will need access to your skin for both assessment and treatment.
It is very important that you do NOT use any lotions, creams, or oils on your skin prior to your session as they will result in your therapist sliding over your skin which will reduce the efficacy of treatment.
What should I expect during my session?
Your therapist will assess your posture at each session and will want to know any changes/symptoms that may have resulted after the previous session. This will help guide your treatment.
It is important that you are comfortable during your treatment so please let your therapist know if you may need extra pillows or sheets for added support and warmth.
It is not uncommon during treatment to feel pain in places other than where your symptoms occur. Often the cause of our pain is not where we feel the symptoms. Sometimes emotions and memories may also arise during treatment. This is also a normal response of the healing process.
Treatment sessions are often very relaxing. There may or may not be conversation with the therapist and at the same time the therapist will encourage you to be aware of sensations you may be feeling in your body. Feedback to the therapist about what you are feeling helps the therapist to be most effective.
Why does my therapist treat areas other than where I have pain?
The cause of our pain is often in an area other than where we have symptoms. When the fascia becomes restricted it can affect the alignment of the body causing strain throughout the system. The body will learn to compensate for these changes in alignment, but over time the uneven distribution of force will result in pain, often in areas away from the original injury.
What is a ‘healing crisis?’
Sometimes after a treatment you may feel worse than you did before. This may happen as deeper layers of fascial restrictions are released. The symptoms can often intensify including pain/discomfort and even other sensations or emotions may arise. This often occurs as toxins are released from the body’s tissues. Drinking water is very important in removing these toxins from the body.
How long does it take to feel better?
Each person will progress and heal at their own pace. Some will feel relief after their first visit and others may take much longer. Healing is not just a physical process; there are many other influences that may affect how long it takes to heal including your diagnosis, symptom chronicity, intrinsic motivation to heal, personal belief systems of health and healing, and cultural beliefs. Many have been dealing with their symptoms for years and are looking for an overnight “cure,” but healing takes time. Results will be faster with adherence to any self-treatment program given by your therapist.
What can I do to better manage my symptoms after treatment?
Remember, myofascial release does not harm and is never injurious. Consistency with the self-treatment techniques taught by your therapist will quicken the healing process. Drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet are quite helpful. Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol as this impedes the healing process. Awareness of what is going on within your body is important to your healing.
-You’ve got to feel it to heal it-
Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
Due to the way the fascia can restrict the tissues of the body your therapist may treat areas away from your symptoms.
The cause of symptoms are often located in other areas of the body.