The Difference Between John F Barnes Myofascial Release and the Other Forms of Myofascial Release

A new client at Monarch Physical Therapy and Wellness recently asked:

What is the difference between John F Barnes myofascial release, and the other forms of myofascial release out there??? It’s so confusing.

New Client, we couldn’t agree with you more. It’s gone from “I have never heard of this technique” to almost a buzz word in certain circles.

Here is one of the best answers to this question I have ever heard, and it comes from one of the best PT’s in America, who helps in research, teaching/educating, and treating — Carol Davis, DPT, EdD, MS, FAPTA

“John Barnes teaches us this…..Hold with pressure and shear at the fascial restriction barrier with mindful attention to the entire body/mind web for at least 5 minutes –this allows the mucopolysaccharide gel of the fascial web to literally “melt” or change into less solid, more fluid gel, thus allowing the collagen to unkink itself and the elastin to elongate back to its pre-shortened length, and when we release our hands, water flows out of the capillaries rehydrating the tissue and giving more room to the compressed area. This is in contrast to tearing the cross links of the fascia with fingers or tools, puncturing the cyst wall with a needle, kneading the tissue over and over, ripping, tearing, all increasing the inflammation that we are trying to undo with our gentle soft melting of the gel. After 3-5 minutes, interleukins, or messenger molecules are released that are anti-inflammatory, red blood cell formation and capillary opening — all facilitation healing rather than increasing inflammation. Follow the principles John Barnes teaches for much longer success in opening up fascial restrictions.”

Why is this important? Who really cares? Brenda, isn’t this splitting hairs and defining a treatment ad nauseum?? Well, I do think it is important to understand more about who you are trusting to work on your body, and to also understand some of the concepts of scraping vs hands-on work. There are tons of choices in healthcare, and when we are in pain, it is often hard to even have the energy to do the research, much less know what are options are, and then “pick the right one”.

Here at Monarch we are problem solvers. We understand pain. And we are here to help you navigate those decisions. You might come in and need something we don’t offer—and we will help point you in the right direction. You might come in and find this is exactly what you need.

I was originally very resistant to this work, because I could not even admit to myself that I was in pain, or that I needed help. What you resist persists, and you have to feel to heal.

Let us know how we can help you on your transformation to wellness.

Brenda Bryson and John F Barnes
Brenda Bryson, PT, MPT, LMT
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The Difference Between John F Barnes Myofascial Release and the Other Forms of Myofascial Release


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