Higher-Land Occupational Therapy, PLLC
What is Fascia?
Taken from Myofascial Release, The Search for Excellence, by John F Barnes, PT "The fascia is a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot functionally without interruption." The fascia surrounds and infuses all muscles, organs, bones, blood and lymph vessels, and nerves. It serves a major purpose in permitting the body to retain its normal shape and maintaining the bodies components in their correct position. It also allows the body to resist internal and external mechanical stresses. Because the Fascia covers all muscles, bones, nerves, organs, and vessels down to the cellular level, any malfunction in the fascia due to trauma, poor posture, chronic overuse or inflammation can result in abnormal pressure, pain and malfunction in any or all of these body components.
The fascia is absolutely fascinating to study, and the above definition is very over-simplified. Anyone who wants to know more about fascia can obtain the above mentioned book, or come visit me.
What is JFB-Myofascial Release:
JFB-MFR is a very gentle, hands-on therapy that addresses the fascial restrictions which create imbalance and cause pain. The MFR therapist uses a very low load of pressure into the body over an extended period of time to "convince" the fascia to release and soften. Because fascia is designed to tighten in the face of trauma for protective purposes, it cannot be forced during therapy. Rapid movements or forcing into the pain will trigger the fascia to do its job, which is get tighter. Conversely, using a low load of pressure into the fascia to elicit a release triggers in the body a piezoelectric (pressure-electricity), which heats up the fascia and muscles, allowing them to relax. This method of low, slow, sustained pressure also triggers the body's own anti-inflammatory response. These facilitated functions (piezoelectric effect and anti-inflammatory response) combine to realign the body and decrease pain.
The JFB-MFR session will always be gentle, slow, and relaxing, leaving the new patient wondering if anything is happening. The therapy should never be painful, though it can trigger some emotional upheavals, therapeutic pain, or even a flare up of symptoms. These responses are commonly referred to as "healing crisis", and are typical.
What is a "HEALING CRISIS"?
Pretty much all my answers here are from what I have learned through reading John Barnes' books and attending his seminars. When A person is being treated using JFB-MFR, the fascia will soften and lengthen, allowing muscles, osseous structures, nerves, vessels, and organs to return to proper positioning and function. This in itself is going to cause some soreness. That is part of the healing crisis. Also, there are toxins from medications, anesthesia, and other toxins in our food and environment that are locked in our fascial tissue that get released for elimination during treatment. This may often cause soreness, achiness, headaches, even nausea in some cases. It can make you very tired, cranky, or lethargic. In addition, body memories can be released regarding old injury, accident, and/or trauma both physical and emotional that the patient will need to revisit. How these memories need to be dealt with is very individual, not only to the person involved, but also to the particular situation.
The best treatment for a healing crisis is more MFR. Daily drink extra water to help move the toxins through. I find GENTLE exercise, like walking, swimming, yoga, etc. helps me. John Barnes always says, and it always helps me, "tell yourself you survived" and "you did the best you could". "Healing is a Journey, not an event". Its messy. Its worth it. YOU are worth it.
How many visits will this take?
This is a question almost every patients asks. The only honest answer to this question is "I don't know." Every body is different. Every injury is different. So many factors play into your healing process that it would be nearly impossible to predict. I can say that most patients experience some relief by the 4th visit, with some experiencing varying degrees of relief during the first visit. By the 6th visit, all my patients know for sure whether they want to continue. Also, the patient's willingness to participate in his or her own healing by performing home exercises and stretches as I teach them is a huge part of recovery.
What is rebounding?
Rebounding is a gentle rocking/shaking technique that has several purposes. It uses the fact that the body is around 70% water to help assess and release fascial restrictions like waves on the beach smooth out the sand, no matter how big the castle or how deep the hole. The patient will experience a gentle rocking/shaking from any direction, using the trunk or any appendage. Rebounding can break through fascial restrictions throughout the body in a more global fashion and is very relaxing. It also gives the therapist visual cues as to where fascial restrictions may be, as it is often easy to see where the "wave" is dampened while rebounding a patient. Further, rebounding can "confuse" the holding patterns of the nervous system so that it just relaxes somewhat and lets go of the old holding patterns. rebounding should always be comfortable, so speak up if it is not.
What is myofascial unwinding?
Unwinding is myofascial movement facilitation; a process by which the therapist minimizes the effects of gravity, allowing the body's natural movement to take over until the release occurs. The neuropeptide and fascial systems work together to allow for structural and emotional releases and improvements. These motions can be very subtle or giant, and anything/everything in between. The dynamic and changing tension produced by this motion can be followed by a skilled therapist, allowing for structural improvement as the tension releases from the entire system. The end result is a reduction or elimination of pain and improved quality and quantity of movement.
That being said, it is impossible to predict what it will look or feel like when a patient enters into myofascial unwinding. Each time is different, depending on what the body needs. However, it always feels "right" and safe, is never injurious, and the patient is always in control, so that you can stop the process at any time, which is also not injurious. Neither the therapist nor the patient can make it happen. The body does what it needs to automatically when the therapist removes gravity from the system and the patient takes off the breaks. All information comes from John F Barnes, PT "Myofascial Release, A search for excellence".