The Three Legs of Myofascial Release
Jul 30, 2020 01:34PM
By Amber McKenzie
by Mark Smith
When using the analogy of a tripod, we find that the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Technique has three legs that must be present and structurally sound for this therapeutic technique to “stand” and work properly. A myofascial release therapist, trained in this technique, would use these legs to ensure the fascial restrictions are released, as well as the repressions that are buried deep in the fascia from life experiences such as trauma, accidents, falls, physical and emotional abuse, etc., are resolved. The three legs are comprised of the cross-hand release, unwinding and rebounding techniques.
The first leg, cross-hand release, is a combination of compression and stretching that is applied to fascial restrictions using gradual pressure over long periods of time, five to 15 minutes. This release technique engages the restriction, also called the collagenous barrier, allowing it to soften or melt.
This leads to the second leg, unwinding, which is the movement component of myofascial release. Unwinding is similar to the combination of stretching and yawning many of us do after waking in the morning. These movements are like a dance that is being choreographed by the inner self, or our feeling intelligence, which moves in the direction of least resistance, also called the direction of ease. Unwinding allows this combination of stretching and movement to bring the body back to positions of trauma known as still points. These still points often feel good, and this is where the healing of trauma occurs and where the body can unconditionally surrender and let go of the physiological memory stored in the restricted fascia.
The third leg of the tripod is rebounding, which uses the body’s fluids to release unconscious holding patterns. Rebounding also enhances the body’s ability to reduce pain and increase function and awareness.
It is important to note that when the body is traumatized, the mind-body goes into a freeze response. This often creates a state of disassociation which can imprint in our mind-body. The sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic nervous system can become stuck in a state of uncontrolled hyperarousal. This hyper state of arousal consumes vast amounts of energy and suppresses the trauma in our subconscious, leading to the possible manifestation of dysfunctions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
The perpetual freeze response over time manifests holding patterns that give rise to chronic spasms and restricted fascia that eventually turn into symptoms. Treating the fascial restrictions with this three-legged myofascial release technique reduces the pressure on nerves, tendons, muscles and organs, thereby relieving pain and increasing range of motion.
Myofascial release is an art form, which includes becoming centered in the current moment. When centered, a therapist can be fully present for the patient. Utilizing their skills and intuition, along with feedback from the client, the therapist is better equipped to tune into the body and treat ‘what is.’ The results take care of themselves.Mark Smith, owner of My Massage & Sports Therapy, specializes in Myofascial Release. He offers a 60-minute introductory myofascial release special to all new clients for only $35. His office is located at 101 N. Evergreen Rd., in Spokane Valley. For more information or to book an appointment, call 509-370-2207 or schedule online at MyMassageSportsTherapy.com.