Hands On Therapy | Myofascial Release Overview
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Myofascial Release Overview

What is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial Release (MFR) is a powerful tool utilized by a select number of skilled therapists who assist their clients with issues such as chronic pain, postural imbalances and certain conditions such as migraines, back pain, neck pain, TMJ dysfunction, plantar fascitis and fibromyalgia, to name just a few. It is often confused with “deep tissue massage” therapy which can be painful but the John Barnes MFR approach is quite different.

Gravity, daily activities and non-awareness influence our body every second of the day. We are constantly being pulled forward in space and the muscles of the back and neck are over-worked trying to keep us upright. When we are able to attain flexibility and fluidity in our entire system we can focus on proper skeletal alignment allowing efficient use of musculature (resulting in increased energy levels), proper function of internal organs, increased oxygenation of tissues (by allowing the diaphragm and lungs to work better) and overall improved health.

Malfunction of the fascial system due to trauma, posture, or inflammation can create restrictions in the fascia resulting in abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles, bones and/or organs. This can create pain or malfunction throughout the body, sometimes with bizarre side effects and seemingly unrelated symptoms throughout the body.

Myofascial Release can release the pressures created by the fascial system and create the possibility of returning each individual to her or his full, pain-free capacity.

Hands On Therapy Treatment Program

For Chronic Pain…

I have found in my 16+ years of experience that successful outcome involves a combination of the program components described below. The following session guidelines are outlined for the client in order to provide an overall view of the therapeutic healing process. The timeline and results for each individual will be different
but usually fall into the “structure” provided below. Session content may vary in order to accommodate individual goals and needs.

The acute phase builds the foundation for the healing process and is, therefore, a bit more structured to ensure the client experiences the breadth of what is available to him or her throughout the process. The acute phase also prepares the client for continued success through the ‘Moving Forward’ phase and then into the Maintenance Phase.

For Acute Pain…

We approach acute injuries with a sensitivity to the exact injury and contraindications for each case. Our approach is individualized and may not follow the structure in the Chronic Pain Program unless old injuries and patterns are interfering with recovery from the acute injury. We are happy to discuss your particular situation and the best
approach to healing based on the injury incurred.

There Are 3 Distinct Treatment Phases

Acute Phase
“Creating the foundation”

Appointments in this phase should be scheduled as close together as possible in order to get ahead of the symptoms and patterns that are interfering with the way you want to feel. The entirety of the program may be spread out over weeks or months but the acute phase is most affective when experienced in the shortest possible time frame.

  • Intake – Each client comes in 5-10 minutes before his or her first session to complete a New Client Intake Form. This form asks simple questions about health history and goals for the outcome of their therapy.
  • Interview – The Intake is reviewed by your therapist and additional questions and topics are explored in order to design the best approach to your individualized needs.
  • Assessment – A brief standing assessment is done in order to get baseline information on postural imbalances and the forces exerted by the fascial system.
  • Hands-on Treatment – MFR techniques are applied to the areas that have been determined to be at the root of the complaints and also applied to the symptom areas.
  • Intro to MFR – A 15 to 30-minute introduction to the fascial system and theory behind the modalities we employ to address the client’s issues.
  • Home Exercise Program (HEP) – Specific and effective stretches are taught to the client for use throughout his treatment program and beyond. These exercises are usually much different from those assigned in other therapies. Please note that there is a large emphasis on this component throughout the program.
  • Breathing Exercises Level 1 – Introduction to correct and healthy breathing patterns that help relax the client, aid in the in-session work and increase body awareness. Correct breathing can assist in the release of holding patterns both in-session and in daily life.
  • MFR Focus – These sessions consist of John Barnes MFR techniques.
  • Adjunct Focus – A variety of additional modalities are employed to maximize the results of the client’s treatment program.
  • Craniosacral Therapy – A vital part of the healing process that addresses restrictions in the craniosacral system which affects the way our central nervous system functions. This type of therapy can dramatically reduce or eliminate compressive forces in the craniosacral system and throughout the entire body.
  • Movement Therapies – Includes Facilitated Movement. Facilitated Movement is a generalized term that describes a variety of techniques that evolve from gentle self-stretching and guided movement that can be structured or free-form.
  • Energy Work – Techniques designed to work on the subtle energy body in order to improve function and body awareness.
  • Guided Meditation – Therapist-guided meditations designed to help enhance relaxation and increase body awareness during sessions and to allow movement past patterns of thought, behavior and posture that are not serving the client. Meditations are individually designed for each client.
  • Breathing Exercises Level 2 – Continued breathing techniques are taught to client for correct and healthy breathing patterns that help relax the client, aid in the in-session work and increase body awareness.
Intermediate Phase
“Moving Forward”

In this phase the goal is to stay ahead of the body’s tendency to return to old holding and movement patterns. Frequency of these sessions is determined by the degree of regression observed between each session. For example, if we are seeing the symptoms abate for 4 days and then returning to some degree, we try to schedule appointments 3-4 days apart and subsequently shifting that schedule according to continued progress. As stated above, this approach allows us to stay ahead of the body’s tendency to return to old patterns. MFR and Adjunct Focuses remain the primary treatment modalities throughout this phase. Please note that this will vary with each individual and is highly dependent on the client continuing with their HEP.

Maintenance Phase
“Maintaining How You Want To Feel”

During this phase of your treatment journey, sessions may be spread out at intervals according to the individual in order to maintain the progress that has been accomplished up to this point. MFR and Adjunct Focuses remain the primary treatment modalities. The HEP is still important since there will be a longer time between each appointment. Some clients choose schedules that range from every other week to once a month. Since we are all encountering insults to our body quite frequently we urge all of our clients to stay on a maintenance schedule that fits their needs.