Imagine your fascia, interwoven, three-dimensional, connective tissue similar to this web, all through your body.
There have been MANY moments over the past few years when I have seriously considered walking away from massage therapy entirely. The average career expectancy of a Massage Therapist is 5-10 years. I’ve been fully dedicated to this career for seven years straight, but prior to that were six or so years of inconsistency. So, I’m pretty old by massage therapy standards.
Please understand, I love seeing you all. I love my job. But my body frequently reminds me of the pressure it is under. I take great care of it, but it still creaks and aches often.
Then Myofascial Release came into the picture. I have had an interest in the John F Barnes model of Myofascial Release (MFR) for years and finally took the leap and signed up for a seminar in June.
I have been reading stories of other Massage and Physical Therapists experiences with MFR for a while. They tell about miraculous healing and emotional releases that happen during their treatment sessions.
I am a fairly skeptical person when it comes to “too-good-to-be-true” claims, but the premise behind it all makes sense and there is some science to back it up.
After the seminar in June, my massage-trading partner and I switched our regular, deep tissue massages to regular myofascial treatments. This helped us continue to practice technique as well as experience the work firsthand.
I can’t say that I have had an overnight, miraculous healing miracle. But I have significantly fewer complaints when it comes to bodily aches and pains. Many people tend to only take note when they aren’t feeling well. However, each week, when I show up for my own appointment, I think back over the prior week and come up with very few areas of focus. And the areas I do come up with are only just mildly stiff instead of sharply painful and radiating. That is amazing to me.
The fascia is a three-dimensional, continuous sheath of connective tissue that encompasses your entire body between the skin and the muscles, encases every muscle and every muscle fiber, each organ and every bone. It is composed of microtubules willed with fluid and moves with the body in a fluid capacity, slipping and sliding over itself to allow free range of motion. When the fascia suffers trauma (overuse, injury, surgery, etc), it becomes dehydrated and brittle. It stops moving freely. AND ITS STRONG. It has a tensile strength of 2000 lbs per square inch.
Imagine just a small, one-inch scar in your body. For the sake of our imaginings, let’s say that scar is in the right side of your abdomen. The scar tissue penetrates the fascial system. That area of the fascia is now immobile. The web of tissue connected to this spot is now also restricted. Over time, because its not moving at its full capacity and range of motion, it creates a chain reaction of restrictions. So now that once tiny restriction in the right abdomen may be causing the ever-present, sharp pain in your left shoulder, or the funky, crunchy tweak in your right knee.
It is VERY true that everything in your body is connected. It is very possible that a fall from a tree at the age of eight can cause fertility issues at the age of 28 or your broken leg from ten years ago can be causing your headaches. These may seem like crazy thoughts, but they are things that make sense to someone who has been working with bodies for years.
I plan to continue reading and learning about this method and any other method where fascia is concerned. As always, it is my goal to give you the best care possible, even if it means changing things up.