If you’re reading this you’re likely already well acquainted with the many benefits of massage therapy including decreased pain and tightness, improved mobility, reduction in headaches, increased circulation, lowered blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels not to mention the fact that it just feels really good! Generally speaking, massage addresses the muscular layer within the body and helps to lengthen tight muscles, relieve trigger point pain and tightness as well as their referral patterns, encourage spasms to let go, flush out lactic acid build up and improve lymphatic circulation as well as organ function.
There is however another tissue in your body that is an often overlooked culprit of pain, tightness and dysfunction called your fascia.
‘”Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. The changes trauma causes in the fascial system influences comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.”*
The approach to addressing the tightness and restrictions in the fascia is very different than traditional massage techniques. One of the main differences is instead of using cream or oil to glide over the skin, a slow, sustained pressure is placed into the restricted tissue and held for several minutes until it starts to soften and release. As the fascia releases so does the straightjacket of pressure, up to 2000 pounds per square, on the muscles, nerves, joints, blood vessels, organs and all other tissue in the body. This release creates a much deeper, penetrating and lasting change within the body than addressing the elastic component of the muscles alone.
As many of you are aware, I have had the joy and privilege of extensively studying the Myofascial Release Approach with John F. Barnes over the last couple of years and have been amazed at the changes it has created in my own self as well as clients I have worked with. John developed this dynamic approach to healthcare over 40 years ago when his traditional training as a physical therapist left him frustrated by the limited results he was seeing with his patients and his own back injury. His approach to Myofascial Release doesn’t just treat the symptoms but addresses the entire body on a much deeper level helping to resolve the physical and emotional holding and bracing patterns that keep us stuck.
Many long time clients of mine who have seen me for traditional massage have loved the results they have received when I’ve offered a little sample of myofascial release. I often hear “I don’t know what you did, but I sure feel great’ or ‘Can you do that thing you did last time again’! While I can incorporate a few myofascial release techniques into a massage, it doesn’t allow a client to receive the full benefit and effect that can be achieved with a dedicated session.
I would love for each of you to experience what a Myofascial Release session is like and to feel the difference in your own body. Since this approach focuses on what’s out of balance and causing unnecessary strain and resulting pain in the body and not just treating the symptom, a thorough evaluation of your posture and range of motion is performed prior to treatment. I typically require a 90 minute initial session for this purpose, however for the month of June I am offering a free evaluation added on to a 60 minute Myofascial Release session for existing clients (also applicable to 90 minute sessions). Schedule Online Now
If you’ve enjoyed traditional massages but maybe haven’t experienced the lasting results you would like or have stubborn pain, headaches and tightness I highly encourage you to give it a try. You have nothing to lose but your pain! Please feel free to share this information with people you know who may be dealing with pain or have suffered from an injury, car accident or surgery. So many are hurting and have lost hope. It’s my passion to help restore function and relieve pain so people can continue to enjoy the activities that make life meaningful!
*from John F. Barnes website http://www.myofascialrelease.com