John F. Barnes’ style Myofascial Release could be considered the yin to Structural Integration’s yang, and therefore an excellent complement to it. The hallmark of Myofascial Release is using the applied pressure or stretching over time (3-5 minutes or longer) to get maximal release in the fascial connective tissue. Certain components of the muscle/fascial complex release quickly with manipulation, pressure, or stretching, but an important component – the structural collagen fibers – require more time before a certain biochemical change begins to take place allowing the fascia to soften and release. Accordingly, Myofascial Release uses gentle, sustained holds or stretches where the tissue is engaged and allowed to pass through successive stages of release or softening for a period of several minutes or more for each technique. The advantage of this style of work is it achieves very complete releases of fascial tension patterns. Another advantage is the time involved for each hold allows for heightened sensitivity on both the client and therapist’s part – allowing broad fascial tension patterns in the body to reveal themselves through the felt sense and other signals.
Myofascial Release is also an excellent approach for engaging with ’tissue memory’ such as held emotional energy or trauma (physical or emotional). The time and sensitive touch frequently allows the client to ‘feel into’ the energetic content of the tissue and use that awareness to process the unresolved emotion or trauma in the safe environment of the session, or at home following the work.
A wide variety of musculoskeletal dysfunctions can be effectively treated with Myofascial Release including headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, disc injuries, scar tissue, surgical and emotional trauma, fibromyalgia, sciatica, whiplash, TMJ, pelvic pain, and many others.