Our therapists are trained to perform Myofascial Release from the teachings and perspective of John F. Barnes, PT. The primary goal of Myofascial Release is to decrease pain and increase mobility. Collectively, we have attended hundreds of hours of Continuing Education in this wonderfully beneficial treatment modality, and the results speak for themselves.
First, let's take a look at the very complex, intricate and important Fascial system.
Fascia (connective tissue) surrounds, infuses, protects and supports every organ, muscle, bone, joint, nerve, blood vessel and cell in your body. It can be best described as a vast, three-dimensional spider web, extending from the toes to the top of the head, to the fingertips--top to bottom, front to back--in one continuous, interconnected sheet throughout the body. Fascia is very strong, being able to withstand and exert forces up to 2000 pounds per square inch. Without fascia, our bodies would crumple up into a pile on the floor.
"Fascia also plays an important role in the support of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. These structures would not be able to provide the stability without the constant pull of the fascial system. In fact, our bones can be thought of as tent poles, which cannot support the structure without the constant support of the guide wires (or fascia) to keep an adequate amount of tension to allow the tent (or body) to remain upright with proper equilibrium". John F. Barnes, PT
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a gentle, hands-on approach used to free up restrictions in the fascial system of the body. Because our entire body is truly interconnected by fascia, when the fascia becomes compromised following trauma (such as the trauma of a car accident, surgery, sports injury, childbirth, emotional trauma, postural and repetitive motion trauma, etc), it can put tension on adjacent pain-sensitive structures, as well as creating a drag on distant areas throughout the body. Long after an original injury, most patients report symptoms that we can often identify as being caused by fascial restrictions--symptoms such as deep, sharp pain, burning, tingling, pulling, cramping, numbness, postural abnormalities, difficulty breathing and cranial symptoms (ie: headaches, ear and jaw pain).
A visual analogy may be when you pull on your sweater at the bottom, you can feel it "dragging" and tightening up around your neck and shoulders. Over time we slowly tighten, losing our flexibility and spontaneity of movement, setting ourselves up for more trauma and pain as we are pulled out of our three-dimensional orientation with gravity.
After sustaining a trauma, tiny but strong collagen fibers form as part of the body's response to that trauma. These collagen fibers form adhesions by lying down 'cross-links' in random patterns and are the building blocks of scar tissue. They can be tough and wiry, or filmy and thin. They may be large enough to be seen on diagnostic tests, or so small that they are microscopic. Either way, they can exert tremendous tensile forces on, and within, the tissues where they form. These adhesions and cross-links remain in our bodies long after the original inflammation or trauma has healed, and may adhere to tissues, nerves or neighboring structures, causing pain or dysfunction.
Over time, the tissues begin to shrink and solidify, resulting in decreased movement in the injured area, and can affect other areas far from the original injury site. Thus, the healing process can actually create more mechanical irritation and more cross-linking of collagen fibers, perpetuating the cycle of adhesion formation.
As licensed therapists, we are highly trained in treating the causes of pain and movement dysfunction. Myofascial release treatment can be very beneficial in the healing process and is at the forefront of our treatment philosophy. We never treat “parts” of our patients and firmly believe everything is connected, often finding that pain and dysfunction in one area is linked to pain and dysfunction in another. We perform Myofascial Release as a compliment to a well rounded treatment program to assure an authentic healing process.
For more information, visit www.myofascialrelease.com