Image representing inside the human mind
Image representing inside the human mind

A Delicate Interplay: Seeing your Client as a Whole Person

By John F. Barnes, PT, LMT
July 1, 2022

A Delicate Interplay: Seeing your Client as a Whole Person

By John F. Barnes, PT, LMT
July 1, 2022

As I've mentioned in previous articles, when we experience trauma—either physical or emotional—the fascia's ground substance becomes viscous and crosslinks that limit the motion of the fascial system develop. The solidification of the tissue can create pressures of up to approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch, which is the equivalent of two full-grown horses standing on a nerve. So, of course pain and dysfunction in our bodies can result!

Concisely defined, authentic myofascial release is the proper application of unique principles to allow for the breakdown of crosslinks that have developed at the nodal points in the web of the fascial system, allowing for the rehydration of the ground substance.

To perform myofascial release properly, however, the massage therapist also needs a deep level of awareness, one that has no agenda, when working with clients.

The Quiet of Myofascial Release Work: Mind + Body Working Together

I teach all massage practitioners, bodyworkers, therapists and physicians that take my Myofascial Release Seminars to learn how to center themselves. We quiet our intellectual thinking mind, slow our breathing and open our awareness with a very soft focus.

Our intellectual mind has a very narrow, tight focus, that can actually get in the way of the work we do with our clients. Massage therapists learn to soften their body and not use brute force, which is the old way of performing myofascial release.

My approach to myofascial release is comprehensive and about more than just a structural release. It is also a biochemical, hormonal, energetic release that involves consciousness.

See Also: Myofascial Release: The Benefits of Sustained Pressure

Some myofascial release courses focus on trying to force a system that can’t be forced and ignore the fact that when you put too much pressure into the fascial system, the mind goes into protection mode. A body guarded by a mind in protective mode is difficult to work on in a way that provides benefit to a client. A mind at ease better helps a body engage its own powerful influence and its ability to self-correct.

During a myofascial release session, staying quiet and helping the client understand the important of quiet work can be very beneficial for allowing people to access their pain so they can more easily recognize what they need to heal.

Pain, Pressure, and Patience: Myofascial Release + The Whole Person

In our society, we too often hear the very dysfunctional message that we are not to feel and can’t trust our emotions, which for some people leads to dealing with pain through avoidance. They might talk too much, think too much, indulge in drugs or alcohol—all as a way of not dealing with the root cause of their pain.

In my decades-long experience, feeling is authentic healing!

What do I mean? We need to reeducate the feeling part of our intelligence, which is far greater than our intellect. Most healing occurs when we silence the mind and cut down the internal chatter and dialogue that goes on uninterrupted, becoming like static on the radio.

Using proper pressure and engaging the barrier with gentle sustained pressure while encouraging the client to quiet their mind is extremely important for results that will last. As you are engaging a fascial barrier, if the client starts to think or talk, consider gently reminding them that it is better to be quiet during the session. If you feel their body tense, gently ask them if they can relax.

There is a delicate interplay between clients and massage therapists that needs to be honored. Always be aware to never violate resistance by trying to force through. Doing so will only create more pain and any relief a client experiences will be temporary.

Some people may be resistant to relaxation, and that is when the massage therapist needs to ease the pressure even more, so it is more tolerable for them. Then, reeducate them again on the benefit of quieting their minds and letting their bodies relax. Good education is a repetition. When people are in an intellectual mode they really don’t listen well, so a lot of what we do in educating our clients is to repeat messages in different ways so eventually they have an understanding of it and can cooperate instead of getting in their own way.

Myofascial release enables us to enter into a new highly effective way of thinking and being, greatly enhancing our results with our clients.

Read More From John Barnes

Using Myofascial Release on the Meridians

Myofascial Release for Fibromyalgia