To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Functional Range Release: Assess, Address, Rehabilitate,” by Andreo A. Spina, D.C., in the October 2012 issue. Article summary: Many soft-tissue techniques available to manual practitioners were developed prior to the presence of supporting literature, which was produced at a later date, if at all. The Functional Range Release technique was developed in 2010 with my resolve to create a system of soft-tissue management, including assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, by amalgamating the latest research findings on the topic.

by John Joseph Ray, N.C.T.M.B.

The Direct-Indirect Technique is a highly successful modality that blends the best of myofascial, deep-tissue, neuromuscular and cranial-sacral techniques into a cohesive toolbox that empowers massage therapists to help clients feel better and continue doing the activities and work they enjoy doing.

Direct techniques require sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and increase mobility. Indirect techniques utilize gentle, three-dimensional lengthening of soft tissue to free fascial restrictions and enhance neuromuscular function. Knowing when to use direct or indirect techniques, when to go deep or gentle, and when to combine these tools at the right time and in just the right way for each unique client is the heart of the Direct-Indirect Technique.

Many clients come to my office with a problem like back pain, neck stiffness, temporomandibular joint dysfunction or carpal tunnel syndrome. Even clients who have a similar problem, such as low-back pain, have to be treated individually. Cookie-cutter approaches to massage have limited, if any, success. But the right tools in the right hands can lead to dramatic results.

I chose to leave a successful computer career years ago to become a massage therapist, after a serious back injury had me flat on my back for three months. A few days before the scheduled surgery, I felt some relief from certain massage techniques, and I cancelled the surgery.

Afterward, I wanted to learn everything I could about the body and healing. I left my career, went to massage school and traveled around the country to learn from the best: Upledger Institute International, John Barnes, P.T., Ida Rolf protégés and others. It was expensive and time-consuming, but I was a sponge. I wanted to understand and feel what made these techniques work.

After many years and 7,000 client sessions from football players to women with fibromyalgia, from kids with attention deficit disorder to office workers with chronic migraines, from massage therapists with forearm and hand pain to musicians, carpenters and more, I noticed I was consistently blending these techniques in ways that provided lasting relief. I call this toolbox the Direct-Indirect Technique.

We are truly privileged to be able to help our clients feel better and live happier lives.

John Joseph Ray, N.C.T.M.B., is a licensed massage therapist and an approved provider of continuing education. He runs a thriving bodywork practice in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He practices and teaches the Direct-Indirect Technique™, cranial-sacral therapy and other continuing education classes through Ray of Light Massage Training (