by Janet Hardy LMT BCTMB
Feeling stiffness, tightness or pain? Science has been taking notice of a part of our bodies called the fascia, (pronounced ‘fa’ as in ‘fan’ and ‘scia’ like ‘shuh’). International Fascia Research Congresses are being held where researchers have been presenting their findings on how fascia affects the entire function and health of the body. Dr. Guimberteau, French hand and wrist surgeon showed his videos of living fascia at the 2015 congress in Washington, D.C. It’s a beautiful, sparkling fluid fiber-like web which surrounds and infuses everything in our bodies from head to toe and is the framework that holds us together. Ideally these fascial fibrils if unrestricted, can slide upon themselves, changing configurations, adjusting as we move.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. says, “What we call aging is the fascia getting dense and hard.” Unexplainable tightness or pain can be caused by myofascial (muscle fascia) restrictions in our fascial tissue. While these restrictions contribute to the symptoms of aging, they can occur at any age from repetitive motion, injuries, surgeries, poor posture and stress.
Frequently, pain manifested in one area stems from another because of the powerful hold that restrictions can have on this 3 dimensional web. Myofascial restrictions can result in more than tight muscles and decreased mobility. It can pull, twist and squeeze nerves, blood vessels, organs, intestines and lymphatic vessels with an enormous amount of strength. Tightened fascia can put pressure on nerves, contributing to pain and on other structures which can influence blood pressure, digestion, immune function or even the ability to take a deep breath. Fascial restrictions do not show up on many diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CAT scans so it’s possible that people experiencing mysterious symptoms could be dealing with undiagnosed restrictions.
John F. Barnes, P.T. (JFB’s) approach to Myofascial Release (MFR) is an effective treatment to release myofascial restrictions without causing trauma to the tissue. The skilled JFB’s trained MFR therapist engages the web of the fascia and holds it at it’s end range for an effective time period. The gel like filling of the tiny fibrils transition to a more fluid state. Dr. Paul Standley at the University of AZ made an interesting discovery that during this phase of treatment some of our bodies natural anti-inflammatories are released. Findings like these are bound to impact future health care.
The term ‘myofascial release’ sometimes is misunderstood. An example is with the use of the popular foam roll. Aggressively ‘rolling out’ muscles on the foam roll does not allow the fascia to release. A slow non forceful stretch, waiting until a release occurs is true myofascial stretching. Two excellent books which explain this are available. Myofascial Stretching by Jill Stredronsky Morton, MS, OTR & Brenda Pardy, OTR and Comprehensive Myofascial Self Treatment by Joyce Karnis, P.T.
JFB’s MFR and MF stretching can help with stress, headaches, jaw, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel, sluggish digestion, pelvic and hip pain and plantar fasciitis among other conditions. Mechanical therapies such as MFR is gaining popularity as an effective and less invasive treatment and preventative therapy for a wide range of conditions.
Individual treatment sessions with Janet Hardy address specific concerns. A typical session begins with a consultation and postural analysis. You will receive a treatment and some suggestions for home therapies
Janet Hardy, LMT, BCTMB is an Expert Level JFB’s trained Myofascial Release therapist. She has been FL licensed since 1994 (MA17333) and has been practicing MFR exclusively since 2008. She is the JFB’s NW Florida Study Group Facilitator for myofascial therapists. To learn more about myofascial release, visit www.caringtouchtherapy.net or call 850-231-9131/cell-850-832-6923. Follow me on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/Caring Touch (Wild Blueberry Way, Santa Rosa Beach, FL)