John Barnes Myofascial Release Approach ®
Myofascial Release and Myofascial Unwinding is a very effective hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Myofascial Release, as taught by John F. Barnes, is a safe, gentle and effective technique producing lasting results for clients with chronic pain and postural dysfunctions.
Myofascial Release requires an understanding of the fascial system (also known as the connective tissue). The fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider 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. Fascia is a three dimensional web surrounding EVERY tissue of the body all the way down to the cellular level. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, just like the yarn of a sweater.
Fascia 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.
In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When we experience physical trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, whiplash, surgery or just poor posture over time and repetitive stress injuries has a cumulative effect. The changes they cause in the fascial system influence comfort and the functioning of our body. The fascia can exert excessive pressure producing pain or restrictions of motion. The affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and strain.
Treatment with Myofascial Release uses slow, gentle, continuous stretching in the area of the restricted fascial tissue until the tissue releases. Release of these fascial restrictions require specific manual techniques of holding the tissue for 90-120 seconds allowing for a mechanical and biochemical reaction to begin. A full release of the restriction occurs in 3-5 minutes. Successive releases through each layer also require this time element.
Because Fascia is a full body system, this is a full body approach, not a “spot technique”.
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