MorningStar Movement and Bodywork

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Myofascial Release

I practice Myofascial Release (MFR), as developed by John F. Barnes, PT.  This is a gentle manual therapy which can restore balance to the body by releasing long-standing restrictions in the fascia which can be the source of chronic pain, limited range of motion, and other chronic conditions. 

First of all, what is fascia?
Fascia is the connective tissue that ties every part of your body to every other part of your body.  It can be found in and around the muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves, and organs and creates a vast, interconnected network within your body.  It holds and supports all the body’s systems and enables them to function together. 

“The structure of grace is flow.” -- Susan Philips

How does fascia affect my health?
Fascia is made up of various components.  One component is elastic in nature and another component, collagen, is dense and strong.  Normally, fascia is gelatinous and pliable.  Physical trauma, repetitive movements, inflammation, or postural misalignments can cause the collagenous aspect of the fascia to harden and create restrictions in this fascial network.  These fascial restrictions can pull at whatever is nearby or squeeze whatever the fascia is surrounding at the point of restriction.  These restrictions can exert pressure of up to 2,000 lbs per square inch!  But since the fascia network is all interrelated, fascial restrictions in one area can affect other parts of the body, possibly creating pain or other dysfunctions “down the line” from the original restriction!  Current medical tests (X-ray, MRI, CAT scans, blood tests, etc) are not able to show fascial restrictions.

“Such as we are made of, such we be.”   --Shakespeare

How does MFR restore the fascia?
The good news is that fascia can be restored to its natural pliable state through the application of gentle compression which causes the collagen component of the fascia to “melt” and release.  This is accomplished through the scientifically-noted “piezoelectric” effect.  Compression must be maintained for at least 90-120 seconds to begin to elicit the desired response in the tissue.  The JFB Myofascial Release Approach™ addresses the whole body, and frequently it is found that the location where pain is experienced is not the SOURCE of the pain.  With this method the cause can be treated in addition to the symptoms.  The results are that the effects of this therapy are long-lasting.  

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” -- John Muir

What conditions respond to MFR?
With MFR, individuals have experienced the reduction or elimination of the following conditions.  (This is just a partial list.)

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Tension/Stress
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel
  • TMJ and other jaw pain
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Scar tissue pain and restriction

MFR is not a substitute for traditional medical care.  It can greatly enhance therapies that are already being received.

“Something opens our wings.
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.”  --Rumi

If the place where I’m experiencing pain isn’t the source of the problem, how do you determine where I need treatment?
I will perform a visual assessment of the body, noting places that seem to exhibit restriction.  Further assessment will take place during the treatment, where I will take note of how the tissue looks and feels.  I will also ask for feedback from you as the session progresses, noting areas that you might feel to be connected after an area is treated.

“And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” --Walt Whitman

How often do I need to have MFR treatments?
There is no one answer to this question.  This entirely depends on the individual and what the goals for therapy are.  Some conditions respond quickly to this approach; other conditions may require a series of sessions over the space of days or weeks. 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.”  --Ranier Marie Rilke

What can I expect during an MFR session?
We will take a few minutes to talk and see what your issues, concerns and goals for MFR therapy are.  (If this is your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a history/intake form and up to a half-hour will be allowed for our conversation.  This initial get-to-know-you time is provided at no charge.) I will also assess your posture and alignment.

MFR clients dress in gym shorts (for men) or bathing suit or sports bra and underwear or gym shorts (for women).  Therapy is mostly performed on a massage table and is hands-on, with no lotion or oils.  The client is also requested not to use lotion on the day of therapy.  Pressure is gentle and the pace is slow to allow for the releases in the fascia. 

I will ask you to pay attention to the changes that are happening in your body as the session progresses and communicate those with me.  You will be invited to be an active participant in this process; I serve as guide and facilitator for your healing.  I will encourage you to become aware of what is happening inside and help you to develop this skill.  We often have warning signs before pain develops, and MFR can help one learn to listen to the body and work with it long before pain or dysfunction occurs.

At the end of the session, we’ll have a few minutes to check-in on how things are for you.  I may give you some MFR stretching exercises that you can do at home to help keep the progress that was made during the session.

“Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.”  --Walt Whitman



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