by John F. Barnes
Fascia photo courtesy of Dr. J.C. Guimberteau

Myofascial Release Perspective: Therapeutic Insight—Fascia, a Liquid-Crystalline Matrix, MASSAGE MagazineIn my last column, titled “Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—What Do You Believe?” I stated our prevailing paradigm, our model of reality, was logical but incomplete and terribly flawed.  

The consistent, profound results of myofascial release are so impressive, even when all else has failed, critics have said it is impossible because it breaks the laws of science. I agree, it does seem to break the laws of science, but the results are there and have been for decades. I have trained more than 50,000 therapists and physicians who are achieving these kinds of important results on millions of clients per month. Therefore, a more realistic perspective may be that science is flawed. How could science be wrong? I would like to point out a number of errors that have accumulated over time and have become our so called “proven facts” of reality.  
Here are some interesting thoughts to ponder over from Arthur Koestler’s book, The Ghost in the Machine. Koestler states science is based on monumental superstitions and argues that the pillars of science are cracked and reveal themselves as hollow. He continues to say science considers such terms as consciousness, mind, imagination and purpose to be unscientific, treated as dirty words and banned from the vocabulary. 

Now let’s examine some of the basic flawed assumptions that led science to try to make us into objects. Science has accomplished amazing discoveries and achievements with objects, architecture, bridges, rockets, aircrafts, electronics, computers, etc. However, we, as humans, are not objects! 

The fundamental premise of science “objectivity” is flawed and built on quicksand. Anyone with a beginner’s level of understanding of quantum physics knows there is no such thing as objectivity. What most scientists have refused to do is examine the metaparadigm that underlies all other scientific paradigms; i.e., either consciousness exists and is primary or consciousness does not matter. Traditional science considers consciousness as unimportant and only an accidental artifact of the biochemistry of the brain. In fact, there is not one shred of evidence that supports this theory. It’s just another myth propagated as fact. In other words, consciousness emerges from inert material. So when the fundamental belief is wrong, all other beliefs (theories) that emanate from that flawed thought, while logical, will also be erroneous. 

Traditional scientists who cling to this outdated, obsolete information have refused to examine the voluminous new information that has emerged by some of the leading scientists in the world. This is bias, which is unscientific. I believe this attitude impedes growth and is intellectual dishonesty. 

The good news is a large number of the world’s most respected scientists have discovered a new view of the human’s mind-body complex that supports the myofascial release approach I have taught for decades. 

Because of limitations of space, I would like to present to you a very simplified version of a very complex subject, the human being. The human being is a beautiful, conscious, vibrant, liquid-crystalline matrix. Let’s compare what you and I were taught by traditional science and what I and other myofascial release therapists have learned from experience. I will also discuss fascinating discoveries of the “new” science that is emerging. 

Myofascial release principles, techniques and paradigm are the missing link to be added to all other forms of therapy to enhance all you do and are. I would recommend reading Dr. James Oschman’s book, Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance. He is an insightful scientist and has accumulated an enormous amount of research on the fascial system. All other traditional and alternative techniques are based on the “neuron doctrine,” which states that all perception and function come from the brain and neurological system. However, the neuron doctrine and the newer “neuromatrix theory” are unfortunately a reductionist point of view and incomplete until included in the much larger, living, liquid-crystalline fascial matrix theory.

The neuron doctrine and neuromatrix theory suggest it is the brain and neural system which runs the body. However, it turns out the brain and neural systems are embedded within a much larger and vastly more important crystalline fiber-optic network, the fascial system, which transmits the flow of information, light and sound necessary for health and a vibrant life.  
The brain and every nerve of our body lie within and are profoundly influenced by the liquid/gelatinous ground substance of the fascial system. It is a well-known fact nerves can only transmit signals at slightly over 20 meters per second. Therefore, it is impossible for nerves to stimulate the trillions of cells of our body that each have more than 100,000 reactions per second. 

The fascial system functions as a fiber-optic network that bathes each cell with information, energy, light, sound, nutrition, oxygen, biochemicals and hormones and flushes out toxins at an enormous speed. The brain and nerves are an important but much slower form of communication. The ion-transfer mechanism of nerve impulses is too slow to account for the massive amount of information necessary for our body-mind to function. Therefore, it is the fascia, your liquid-crystalline matrix, that is the major and most important communication system of our body.   

We are taught to perceive and treat the body as if it was linear. There is no linearity in the body! Our fascial system is a complex series of “fractals” in multidimensions. For more information on fractals and to see some videos of fractals, you can view my blog “Fractals” here.

There are many other aspects we will delve into in future “Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective” articles. You are welcome to ask any questions or share your thoughts and insights at the end of each article or on my blog. You can access my blog by going to Just scroll down to the “Expert Insights” tab, and click on my latest blog.  

I believe myofascial release and many other forms of massage, bodywork and energy techniques make it possible for us and our clients to live a joyful, productive and vibrant life!


John F. Barnes, MASSAGE MagazineJohn F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., is an international lecturer, author and acknowledged expert in the area of myofascial release. He has instructed more than 50,000 therapists worldwide in his myofascial release approach, and he is the author of Myofascial Release: the Search for Excellence (Rehabilitation Services, Inc., 1990) and Healing Ancient Wounds: the Renegade’s Wisdom (Myofascial Release Treatment Centers & Seminars, 2000).

He is on the counsel of advisors of the American Back Society, on MASSAGE Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit