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Myofascial Release

Modern medicine is currently undergoing significant changes. Individuals are taking a more prominent role in their own health, demanding options that are effective, affordable and sustainable. The result is a slow but consistent integration of new technology, ancient wisdom and everything between the two. While today’s health care consumers have an unprecedented array of choices available, the responsibility of making the best choice can be overwhelming and confusing.

The hallmark of the transformation taking place within health care is the realization that effective treatment must address the whole being versus seemingly unrelated segments of the person. Myofascial release (MFR), though not widely recognized, has stood the test of time as a powerful healing tool. MFR as discussed in this article refers to the John Barnes’ Treatment Approach ( John Barnes is recognized as the founder and leader in understanding and developing MFR as an integrative, hands-on treatment.

Even though MFR has been around for decades there remains much confusion about what it really is. A closer look at fascia helps explain why MFR is so effective. Myo means muscle, and fascia means bandage or girdle. Fascia is a connective tissue which runs continuously throughout our entire body like a three-dimensional web. It is not only running through our muscles, but also our bones, organs, vessels and skin. Fascia is, in reality, what gives us our shape and holds everything together. If you looked at the body as just a muscular system or skeletal system without fascia, you would see a pile of muscles and bones.

Fascia consists of collagen, elastin and a gel-like ground substance which provides ease of movement. Think of it as oil lubricating an engine. Fascia in a healthy state is wavy in configuration and absorbs many forces throughout the body. It not only serves to provide structure, but also protects, supports and connects every structure within our body. Much broader than the name implies, there are levels of fascia. The superficial layer includes the skin layers, the deep layer permeates bones, muscles and vessels, and the deepest layer surrounds our central nervous system. Fascia literally influences every cellular transaction in our body. Ironically, maybe due to its pervasiveness in our bodies, fascia has been overlooked by most of the medical community as vital to our well-being.

On the next page, learn what happens when an injury occurs.