Frequently Asked Questions:
Open communication is important between us. This work is very different from any type of body work that you may have had in the past. I understand that you want to feel energetic and healthy quickly, but there may be multiple sessions to ensure that this happens at a pace in which you feel well. It is possible to heal in a graceful and easy manner, in which you come into wellness with ease. Your body and mind have to achieve a comfort level of receiving this.
What is Myofascial Release (MFR)? How is it different than a massage or body work I’ve had someplace else?
The John F. Barnes approach to myofascial release (JBMFR) works to identify and release restrictions in the fascial system. It may seem like we’re just ‘chatting’, but I am noticing the big picture of your body. I look for areas of restriction, which may be far removed from where pain is presenting. You tell me where the pain is, I look elsewhere for the cause. When I am touching you, I am looking for areas that are hard, hot or tender. I’m looking, feeling and following lines of ‘pull’ that are not linear but 3 dimensional throughout your body. I’m looking at both the quality and quantity of motion. I’m looking at tilt and balance, both front to back and side to side. I may have you standing, sitting or moving in different ways to see/feel where restrictions are or to begin unwinding them. I will usually start by looking at you in weight bearing because that is how you live. In a similar fashion, I also spend time treating in some form of weight bearing. This is also why you will usually have at least loose fitting shorts and tank top or bathing suit on during treatment. This allows you to be comfortable and free to move without concern for draping or sheets getting in the way.
What is this ‘moving’ or ‘letting go’ business that I hear you talk about? Sometimes my body seems either like it is moving itself or feels like you are moving it. What is this?
This is the part of JBMFR we call Unwinding. Part of fascia’s job is to absorb shock. And throughout our lives, our fascia has absorbed untold number of macro and micro traumas, as well as the energy and pattern of movements that went with them. Moving is our body’s natural state of being. We have been trained to be a good boy or good girl, to sit still, no daydreaming, no wiggling, to not let go of control, etc. Most of us have watched an animal ‘running’ or otherwise moving in its sleep, or even shaking or flopping around or stretching while it is awake. That is because the animal innately knows when and how it needs to move, to ‘unwind’ its body, just like we all do. Letting go is our natural state. It was programmed out of us. We are generally in a constant state of fighting not to move. During your session, part of MY job is to allow you to move and support you in doing so. I will always invite you to ‘let go’, to give yourself permission to take the brakes off to move and feel.
Sometimes when I’m working with you, I don’t get undressed at all. What’s up with that?
You will notice that often when I’m working my eyes are closed. One of the purposes of having your clothes off is so that I can visually see what is happening in your body or where I’m headed. Another is skin to skin contact. Though I do some visual observation, the majority of the time you will spend with me, I will be feeling where restrictions are in your body. Depending on the temperature, and other factors such as accessibility, you may change to shorts that you’ve brought, or remain dressed how you arrived.
Why are you staying in one place so long? It doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything.
Myofascial release is effective because of light load over time allowing your fascia to release at its pace, not yours or mine. Myofascial release is incredibly powerful and incredibly safe. Science is catching up to what MFR therapists have been saying for years, that changes in the ground substance of the fascia do not begin until after 3 minutes of pressure just at the barrier with 3% sheer. This is why there is no oil or lotion used during your session. It is important to be able to maintain a specific position without glide, for 3 or more minutes.
One of the functions of fascia is cushion and protection of our bodies. When I engage your tissue with force, it does what it is supposed to do, tighten up to protect you. In MFR, this is both counter intuitive and counterproductive. We have also been taught to ignore “feeling” what happens in our bodies for so long (and trained to ‘hold still’), we have to relearn how to notice the subtleties that will occur. JBMFR therapists have a saying, “Healing is feeling.” (John F. Barnes)
I told you I had pain here, here and here, why haven’t even touched those places?
“Find the pain, look elsewhere for the cause.” (JFB) Where the pain is located is most often not where the cause is located. Generally, I will identify and treat by the greater dysfunction, not necessarily where the most pain is. By proceeding in this fashion of treating the greater dysfunction first, the stress on the overall system of the body is lessened, and will usually have a positive effect on the area(s) presenting in pain. Also, it is important to remember that your body is 3 dimensional and operates differently under the stresses of gravity, while sitting/standing, than it does while laying on face down or on your back.
What is this “Healing Crisis” I’ve heard about?
The first part of our saying is, “Healing is feeling.” The second part is, “Feeling can sometimes be messy.” Our bodies are incredible. They compensate time and again throughout our lives with rarely a conscious thought on our part: That fall on your bum when you were learning how to walk; that time you rolled your ankle but played it off; the skinned knee that burned like the dickens but someone told you to stop crying, it wasn’t that bad; the fear as you slammed on the brakes but your car wasn’t stopping. All of those moments in time, the fear, the hurt, the tears that didn’t get to roll, as well as that energy (because fascia is our built in shock absorber/crumple zone) are potentially trapped in the fascial restrictions that occurred during those instances.
During JBMFR, as those restrictions are released, often times the energy and emotions that have been trapped release as well. Additionally, circulation is restored to various areas that were compromised by those restrictions, waste products are going to be moving back into the main system. Areas that hadn’t been sore, may be temporarily, as sensation returns to them, much like when an ace bandage that has been too tight is finally removed. I do not force, and at any time, you can let me know to ease up or stop. You are in control. I’ll never injure you. Therapeutic pain is not injurious pain. You might feel a little worse the next day as things might get stirred up a bit. Simply check in with me to let me know how things are going. This is all a normal, natural and healthy part of the process of healing. Healing is a
zig-zag roller coaster. Allow yourself to feel it and go with it.
"True hydration isn't when you drink water, it's when your cells themselves are fully open to drink it. Otherwise you are pouring water on stone." - John F. Barnes
Apply this to ANYTHING we ingest, ...philosophically too. This is one reason why an open, fluid fascial system leads to a healthy optimum of living and viewing our world. ❤️ Rob Crampton