John Barnes Myofascial Release
Fascia is a network of connective tissue that acts much like a web, running continuously throughout the body, 3 dimensionally, from head to toe. It not just covers the muscles, but actually infuses throughout the muscle fibres and continues around all nerves, blood vessels, organs and bones suspending all these structures within its fluid web matrix. Even the brain and spinal cord is housed within a sheath of fascia(dura mater). Its components, collagen and elastin, provides incredible strength upwards of 200lbs/sq inch, as well as the ability to adapt and change shape according to forces placed upon its environment.
Following an injury, inflammation occurs and, if left unchecked, causes thickening and hardening of the fluid within the fascia. Subsequently, crushing forces are exerted upon surrounding organs, vessels and nerves while range of motion is slowly lost. This crushing force is felt at the cellular level where nutrients are processed and as a result organ functioning can be compromised. Fascia is also responsible for subconscious holding patterns that, due to trauma or postural bad habits, in time leads to the unnecessary wearing of our joints due to the altered body mechanics.
Over time, through compensatory measures, the body is forced to adapt by changing its structure in an attempt to find a state of balance. However, in most cases, the initial injury or trauma never really gets resolved fully as the body learns adaptive ways of coping with it's restrictions. Over time, months or years, areas in the body that are not designed to "take up the slack" of those areas being protected will begin to wear and produce painful symptoms often times in areas other than where the initial injury had occurred.
Myofascial Release is a whole body approach that uses gentle sustained pressures and holding at the tissue's barrier to support and allow time for the body to discharge the trapped tension restoring the fluidity of the tissue. As the tissue softens over minutes, the stretch follows deeper, to the next restriction before waiting again for the tissue to soften. While being gently encouraged to feel and soften into the areas of restriction, the person being treated begins to tune in to the sensations of their body and will actually begin to feel the tissue soften and let go of the held tension. This letting go allows for deeper healing and an ability to adopt new and healthier holding patterns much easier.