John F. Barnes Myofascial Release
The John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Approach® (JFB-MFR) is vastly different from other forms of manual therapy. This is because NO FORCE is applied into the body. JFB-MFR is about connecting with your body to allow tension to release, rather than pushing through the tissue with force. This is a subtle energy therapy that honors the body in every way.
It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to learn from John Barnes himself, a true living master. This comprehensive therapy is used to help resolve restriction that causes pain and dysfunction. "Myo" refers to muscle and "fascia" is the connective tissue supporting every single structure in the body. JFB-MFR provides a safe, gentle and effective way to structurally and energetically open and rehydrate the human fascial system for the coherent flow of frequency, vibration, information and organization necessary for optimum health.
A JFB-MFR trained therapist applies gentle, sustained pressure into areas of restriction (known as the tissue barrier) for a minimum of 5 min, after which time the tissue will undergo histological length changes allowing the first release. Continuing to patiently wait at the tissue barrier will allow layer upon layer to soften and lengthen, altering the fascia into it's natural fluid state (softer and more pliable). The restoration of health to the tissue will alleviate pressure on pain sensitive structures, freeing nerves and blood vessels, restoring alignment, and increasing mobility to the joints.
What is fascia?
The fascia system is a continuous sheet of strong connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a 3-dimensional web from head to toe. It surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel and organ from the surface down to the cellular level. Fascia exists between every single fiber, and surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The role of this complex network is to provide support, stability and cushioning, aids in the transportation of nutrients, enhances the body's natural detoxification process, and supports mobility. Fascia holds tension, both physical and emotional trauma, deep memories and bracing patterns. Additionally, there are more nerve endings found in our fascia than in any other place in our bodies, so when we feel discomfort more than likely this pain resides in the fascia. When the fascia becomes tight in response to trauma due to an injury, post-surgical event, structural imbalance, or emotional disturbance, the fascia loses pliability and becomes restricted. The fluid environment of the fascia becomes dense and fibrous. Over time this can lead to poor muscular biomechanics, altered structural alignment, decreased strength, endurance and motor coordination. This condition bombards the body, disrupts proper functioning, and the system becomes compromised.
5-minute video, "What is Myofascial Release", created by Richard Harty, PT
A fascinating 30-minute educational video excerpt from, "Strolling under the Skin" created by Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau, MD. This brillaint footage depicts living fascia in motion as sustained pressure is applied to areas of restriction. Enjoy!
MFR can significantly benefit many conditions
- Relieves chronic headaches, neck, shoulder, back and hip pain
- Joint restriction and limited range of motion (including disc problems, shoulder issues, TMJ disorders, knees problems, etc.)
- Structural misalignment
- Recurring injures
- Neurological dysfunction
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Scar release from post-surgery and injuries
- Muscular cramping
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Digestive distress and elimination issues
- Depleted energy and poor endurance
- Sleep disorders
- Respiration problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Women's health problems (menstrual discomfort, infertility, urinary incontinence, mastectomy pain, endometriosis, etc.)
What to expect during a session
In order to perform effective MFR, the therapist must have direct contact to the skin. This can be done while the client relaxes under a drape on a massage table, similar to a traditional massage. However, this work requires continuous full body sustained stretching and movements through releases and it is best for clients to come dressed in gym or beach attire. Men can wear shorts and a t-shirt, and women can wear shorts and a tank top or sports bra, or a two-piece bathing suit. Please do not apply any lotion or oil to your skin prior to your session.
MFR can be very relaxing, however there is such thing as, "therapeutic pain". When trauma is released from the tissue the body may undergo mild soreness, similar to the soreness felt after exercise. Allowing yourself to fully experience this discomfort is how healing occurs. By masking the pain with medication or discontinuing treatment may result in a continuation of the chronic issue you are dealing with. Much can be resolved in one single session, but follow up sessions may be necessary. You are the best judge of how you feel.
Barnes, John F., PT, Myofascial Release: The Search for Excellence, National Library of Medicine, 1990
Barnes, John F., PT, Healing Ancient Wounds: The Renegade's Wisdom, MFR Treatment Centers & Seminars, June 1, 2000
Barnes, M.F., "The Basic Science of Myofascial Release: Morphologic Changes in Connective Tissue"; Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, July 1997
Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau, MD, "Strolling Under the Skin", DVD (28’ - 2005), SFRS Service du Film de Recherche Scientifique; Distribution : Endovivo,
Richard Harty, PT, You Tube video, "What is Myofascial Release"
Disclaimer: While the services at Myofascial Release Falls Church (Elements of Wellness, LLC) contribute to relaxation and an improved state of well-being, they are not intended to replace medical diagnosis and treatment. It is recommended that you consult your physician regarding any illness you may have. I do not diagnose illnesses, nor do I recommend diets, medical treatments or supplements.