I would like to introduce a manual technique called myofascial release. It is a manual technique that
focuses on the connective tissue in the body to improve motion, reduce pain and stiffness promoting
The John F Barnes myofascial release approach has been effective in treating patients for more than
40 years. One component is structural release which is the gentle application of sustained pressure
over a tight tissue to release fascial restrictions.
The fascia is a connective tissue in the body which is like a 360 degree webbing throughout the body
in the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. The fascia becomes restricted due to poor posture,
trauma, and inflammation. Restrictions of the fascia does not show up on x ray, MRI, or CT scan. The
fascia responds to sustained pressure over 3-5 minutes.
Myofascial release can help chronic pain, muscle spasm, headaches, body aches, and much more.
Research is now verifying the fascial system as a connective tissue that connects every system of the
body. When it is restricted it places tremendous force on pain sensitive structures.
There are three important effects of myofascial release allowing lasting results. The first is called
piezoelectricity. The cells of the body have a crystalline property and when pressure is applied to crystal
it produces and electric flow. This flow in the body is called bioelectric flow.
The second effect is mechanotransduction. With applied pressure over a prolonged period of a
biochemical effect happens in the body. There is production of interleukin which is an
anti-inflammatory. The result is an increase in circulation and an improvement in the immune system.
The third phenomena is called phase transition which is when ice forms into water. With fascial
restrictions there is a solidification of the fluid in the fascia. The prolonged pressure applied to fascia
improves fluid production and upon release allows the tissue to rehydrate. Thus, returning fascia to its
natural hydration and glide.
These three effects allow relief of the pressure on pain sensitive structures, a return to proper
function, and thus eliminating pain.
Treatment with myofascial release can be done in conjunction with exercise and self-treatment for
For additional information go to myofascialrelease.com
Susan Marker, PT, DPT