Myofascial Release

What is Myofascial Release?

MFR is a safe and effective hands-on therapy that decreases or eliminates pain and restores movement by addressing restrictions and imbalances of the connective tissue. There are many forms of soft tissue manipulation that are called “myofascial release” but John F. Barnes MFR is unique in the way it works with the fascia to release tissue memory and create lasting structural change. The principles of MFR, which have been used by millions of people worldwide, address the root cause of dysfunction and treat the whole person. Each Myofascial Release session is performed directly on skin without oils, creams, or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and to apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure for the length of time that it takes to facilitate stretch and release of the fascia. Unlike traditional massage techniques, MFR stimulates the cellular fibroblasts that play a key role in reducing inflammation and stimulates the production of cytokines that fight infection.

What is MyoFascia?

Myo=muscle and fascia (pronounced fash-ee-uh)=connective tissue.

Fascia is an amazing, continuous network of connective tissue that affects every system in the body. For many years fascia (easily seen during tissue dissection as the tough, iridescent white sheath that surrounds every muscle) was underestimated by anatomy experts. But thanks to new technologies and the groundbreaking research of French hand surgeon, Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberto, author of “Architecture of Human Living Fascia,” newly acquired scientific knowledge has confirmed what John F. Barnes has been teaching for decades about the importance of a healthy, fluid fascial system.

Fascia is made up of three parts: Elastin fibers, collagen fibers, and ground substance which is a dense, gelatinous, fibroblast-filled, piezoelectric matrix. It is the glue-like properties of the ground substance that cause it to solidify and become restricted in response to trauma, surgery, or prolonged tension. Softening tight areas of fascia with MFR sessions restores flexibility and can dramatically reduce muscle, joint, and nerve pain. Because the fascial network is continuous, restrictions in one area can create pain in a distant area of the body as the fascia pulls and tightens around nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Fascial restrictions even affect the body at the cellular level since the cell itself contains a fascial framework. Therefore, a healthy fascial system is necessary in order for the body to be properly hydrated and nourished.

Benefits of MFR

  • Reduced pain and tightness
  • Improved posture
  • Greater flexibility
  • Decreased stress and tension
  • Refined sports performance
  • Higher energy levels
  • Increased body awareness
  • Boosted immunity
  • Healing of physical and emotional trauma


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can benefit from Myofascial Release (MFR)?
Myofascial release can be a beneficial treatment for individuals of all ages ranging from newborn to geriatric years. Since every system in the body is affected by the fascial system, many conditions can be successfully treated through MFR, such as:Back pain/Disc problems Neurological Dysfunction Headaches/migraine Endometriosis Chronic fatigue Pelvic pain Fibromyalgia Myofascial Pain Syndrome Whiplash/neck pain Scoliosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Painful scar tissue Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Sciatica Depression and anxiety Jaw pain/dysfunction (TMJD) PTSD Sports injuries
Is Myofascial Release the same as deep tissue massage?
Myofascial Release therapy is not massage and it is not only practiced by massage therapists. Physical therapists, doctors, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals utilize the MFR principles taught by John F. Barnes. Although “myofascial release” has become widely and inappropriately used as a generic term for deep tissue massage and foam rolling techniques, when we say “myofascial release” we are referring to the gentle stretching, unwinding, and rebounding of the fascia that constitutes true MFR. Because fascia braces against excessive pressure and has a tensile strength of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch, a myofascial release therapist never forces the tissue but instead waits patiently at each barrier for release to occur naturally.
How do I prepare for my MFR session?
On the day of your appointment, make sure your skin is clean and free of oils and lotions. Your therapist needs to be able to traction the fascia without his/her hands sliding on the skin. Your session may begin with viewing the body from all angles, to assess postural and structural imbalances. During unwinding, draping may become a hindrance. Please wear non-restrictive garments that make you feel comfortable without hiding your form. Yoga apparel, sports bras, tank tops, athletic shorts, and two piece bathing suits or swim trunks usually work well. Drink plenty of water before and after treatment. Hydrated fascia releases restrictions more efficiently than dehydrated fascia.
How long will it take before I feel and function better?
MFR is a co-creative process in which you and your therapist work together toward the common goal of authentic healing. We’re here to help you return to a pain free, active lifestyle! Every individual responds differently to MFR based on a variety of factors, such as: duration and severity of medical issues current lifestyle consistency of visits (effectiveness increases with frequency) willingness to “take the brakes off” during treatment, to be present with your body, and to be open to change compliance with self-care taught by your therapist and recommended between sessions
What is “tissue memory” and how does it affect healing?
Fascia is the vehicle responsible for the interconnectedness of mind and body. Memories can become locked within the fascial system and often manifest as physical pain and dysfunction. With the help of MFR, the physical and emotional content of any traumatic injury, literal or symbolic, may be released in a safe and gentle way, in a completely non-judgmental and supportive environment, thereby addressing pain on every level--mental, emotional, and physical. The human body has a vast capacity to heal from traumatic events. Sometimes powerful emotions surface during MFR treatments. This is a welcome aspect of the healing process, but it isn’t necessary to understand why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. You don’t have to explain (to yourself or to your therapist) where a release is coming from. Your therapist is trained to quietly follow your body’s cues, to encourage you to stay present and feel into what is happening, to keep you safe amidst anything that may surface, and to respect your feedback without exception. You may pause or halt your session at any time.
What is a Healing Crisis?
After treatment sessions, you may feel mild soreness similar to what you would feel after exercise. With each treatment session, your body begins to open up and resume its proper alignment. It may go into a temporary state of chaos before it reorganizes and shifts into a healthier state. This may cause symptoms to intensify for a few hours or days, and underlying or buried traumas or emotions may rise to the surface. Listen to your body. This is its way of asking you to pay attention to what you’re feeling. Resist the urge to self-medicate or use distraction techniques. Many people have suffered from pain for so long that they’ve learned to cope by “numbing out.” MFR brings your awareness back to your entire body, which may require an adjustment period. Please be patient with yourself. The phrase “You must feel it to heal it” is a great explanation of the necessary means of completing what you may have learned to suppress and avoid. Everyone’s journey is different, but the key is let go of expectations and self-judgment, allow yourself to feel and heal, and know that healing is never a linear process.
What are co-treatments?
Each MFR session is typically held with a single therapist, but can be scheduled with two or more therapists for tandem treatments that have profound structural and energetic benefits.
What are treatment intensives?
Treatment intensives involve getting treated daily for multiple sessions per day, in which the allotted period can range from consecutive days to consecutive weeks. This is a comprehensive treatment option for particularly stubborn issues or for anyone seeking an immersion in MFR therapy.