Energy Unwinding: Myofascial Release & Movement Therapies
Energy Unwinding is committed to reconnecting you to vitality through Myofascial Release (MFR) and movement based therapies. The Myofascial Release (MFR) referred to is an approach by renowned therapist John F. Barnes, PT LMT NCBTMB who has taught over 100,000 therapist over the last 40 plus years. He is a contributor to the recently released text Architecture of Human Living Fascia: The Extracellular matrix and cells revealed through endoscopy by Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau - Dr. Guimberteau's clinical study deepens and supports why Barnes' approach to myofascial release is so effective.
Myofascial release (MFR) is a gentle and effective form of massage and bodywork that re-balances the structure of the body. Myo in Latin means muscle, which current research has shown are condensed forms of multi-fiber fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue under our skin that encases the entire body, but it is much more than that. Fascia not only encases the entire body but threads through our muscles and nerves like a three-dimensional, fiber-optic web. Our myofascial structure has amazing intelligence and memory and allows us to enjoy movement when healthy.
When in dysfunction, the myofascial web of our body will create restrictions to either stabilize, support, or protect us. Causes of these restrictions include stress (which includes biomechanical repetition, biochemical effects, and/or emotional stress), injury, trauma, and surgery. For instance, when we sit for long periods of time at work or leisure, our body will restrict fascia to support and protect us to sit for those long periods of time because we are not meant to hold positions for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. When we then stand, our natural inclination is to reach our arms overhead or wide, stretch into a standing backbend. Over time, this becomes subtly more difficult until we find ourselves bumping up against restriction and pain: for instance, shoulder and upper back pain, low back pain. Another example is sports – when we use our bodies to prepare for competition and the need for repetition of movements to engage our “muscle memory” many of us have been trained to push the body to extremes, unaware that our fascia engages and tightens to protect us (eg., think sports that require lateral motion, and how tight the IT band can become). Restricted fascia whether sitting or at play can eventually cause other problems if not tended to.
When in dysfunction, myofascial restrictions can feel like a strait-jacket on specific parts of the body, sometimes the entire body. And these restrictions can come in at 2000 pressure per square inch (the weight of 2 horses). Our entire structure and the systems (cardiovascular, respiratory to name a few) therefore have to work harder to do simple things – we find ourselves expending more energy to just be upright, and we begin to lose energy and vitality (we spend our time fighting against restriction rather than fascia at its best - a fluid structure that allows amazing opportunities for movement). This can lead to overcompensation of other parts of the body which contributes to mis-alignment. Continued over-compensation can lead to further creation of restrictions which can lead to dis-eases such as myofascial pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, even to cancer.
In regards to yoga, myofascial restrictions can set us up to injure ourselves as we try to break out of this strait-jacketing to move towards what we see as the ideal expression of poses. For those of us who are less flexible, our want to become more flexible can have us over-effort in our practice and create more restrictions as the body works to lock down parts of the body that are unstable, which then forces other parts of the body to overcompensate. For those of us who are overly flexible, we oftentimes cannot feel the stretch of the pose and therefore go too deep and past the pose to try and feel – this too can cause restrictions to form as the body works to stabilize and protect. You will hear teachers encourage and invite yogis to find a balance between strength and ease, practicing into the part of our nervous system that repairs and restores and moves away from what we understand as a fight or flight response.
Myofascial release (MFR) facilitates the release of restrictions that hinds the balance and alignment of the body. Specified exercises can assist in deepening one’s understanding of individual restrictions leading to a deepened understanding of how to utilize a yoga teacher’s instruction and customize it to one’s own practice. As myofascial restrictions are released, muscles and fascia that were trapped can now function more effectively and we find more of our energy returning.
For those new to yoga, gentle or restorative classes can assist students to practice breathing and opening restrictions in the body to a degree. The challenge in gentle or restorative classes is in slowing down enough to allow the body to move towards the part of the nervous system that supports repair and digest. Slower flow classes can also be a good step before more vigorous flow. Going slowly is actually more challenging as the time in between poses allows for students to feel for the places of restriction, and the engagement of fibers that we can miss by engaging in faster paced classes.
The following youtube.com video (Myofascial Release Video) has been provided here to give you a more visual understanding of fascia. As you watch, you may experience "aha" moments - moments when the information shared resonates with what you are experiencing. What we begin to understand allows us to move towards trusting our own experience, and towards those we feel can help us. It is therefore a collaboration where both client/patient and therapist work together to facilitate release of the fascial system to the point where the bodies natural healing agents can re-engage.
Once fascial restrictions have been released, the body gains range of movement and more optimal functioning of systems that were depressed into a state of dis-ease. With each treatment, various exercises and use of self-treatment tools can help to facilitate a return to improved health and movement. A softer, more effortless form of yoga can help maintain openness and allow us to reconnect to a renewed quality of vitality and living.
Myofascial Release Schedule
Energy Unwinding Private Practice - call or email Kyoungho directly to schedule an appointment:
By Appointment Only | 617-680-7574 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Movement through Yoga Classes
Check back later as we have recently moved from Sedona to Eastern Pennsylvania