Fascia is fibrous tissue that encapsulates the entire body from head to toe. It is formed in layers surrounding the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, body cavities, organs, and subcutaneous fat. Over time, the fascia can become more stiff due to trauma, stress-related muscle tension, or repetitive use of the body. This process has been compared to how tree sap hardens into resin, and eventually through time, hardens into fossilized amber.
Until relatively recently it was thought that fascia was an inert tissue with little significance other than to provide mechanical support for organs and muscles. In traditional medical education, fascia has mostly been cut through and discarded in order to reach organs and muscles in cadaver lab. With a general lack of emphasis on the fascial system in most healthcare educational institutions, there has been a lack of research and understanding of fascia in the general medical community.
The tides are changing and the critical role fascia contributes towards human function is finally becoming more appreciated. The most current research paints a nuanced picture of the profound importance fascia has on human function. It has been proven that fascia isn’t just fibrous tissue filling space and supporting structures in between the body, but it is actually densely innervated by sensory fibers amidst collagen bundles.
As a result of surgeries, trauma, or inflammation, myofascial restrictions can put tremendous pressure on pain-sensitive structures, with the fascia interwoven like a spiderweb, strangling the neurologic fibers and essential structures within the body. If the fascia becomes too tight it can lead to pain and impairs the way humans are meant to experience the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is MFR: Myofascial Release Therapy?
The John F. Barnes Myofascial Release® uses gentle and sustained pressure to eliminate pain and restore function with a hands-on approach to softenening and lengthening connective tissue that holds the body together. This technique engages the fascial system without harming or overstimulating the surrounding structures. Restrictions within the fascial system put approximately 2,000 lbs of pressure per square inch on pain-sensitive structures within the body:muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. Fascial restrictions often lead to decreased range of motion and debilitating pain.
Is MFR like a deep tissue massage?
No. Unlike massage, Myofascial Release uses long, sustaining holds without forcing through barriers. Deep tissue massage can be too forceful which is one reason why it provides only a temporary fix; the body braces itself into a protective response against the excessive force and triggers an autonomic nervous system response. With Myofascial Release, the therapist’s hands will gently sink into tissue only to the point of resistence and will hold the fascia for 3-5 minutes until or until it is ready to soften and release.
Does MFR hurt?
MFR will never cause harm when done correctly and is not typically described as painful. Myofascial Release can feel like pressure or a slow “melting” feeling. It is common to feel sensations in seemingly unrelated areas of the body such as an old injury or scar. These fascial connections may or may not make sense to you at the time, but instead of trying to figure out the sensations, it is best to simply feel them. It is common to feel sore on the day after a treatment, but it is not harmful as this will resolve quickly and you will feel relief afterwards.
How should I prepare for my session?
Please bring comfortable, loose-fitting shorts and a sports bra/bathing suit top/tank top. Additionally please avoid putting even a small amount of ANYTHING on your skin, such as lotion or oil on the day of your appointment. For MFR to be most effective, we need to engage the skin directly without the hands sliding on the skin.
What Our Clients Say
“Before starting services with her, it was hard for me to leave my house. I was struggling with tailbone pain among other physical ailments since labor. I was also experiencing depression. After our sessions I had less pain all over, was walking better, and mentally entered a much better place with her help and ongoing support. I would HIGHLY recommend working with Jamie! I feel grateful everyday that I found her!”