Part of this is due to our training, which implied we should be capable of fixing the client’s problems, which from a Myofascial Release perspective is impossible. As you enter into the world of Myofascial Release, you recognize that the client is capable of healing herself. You are not there to fix her, but to facilitate and guide her in a very gentle and effective way. This takes all the pressure off the therapist.
The art of Myofascial Release is to find and feel the restriction, which is unique to each individual despite their symptomatic complex. Then, with very gentle pressure, wait patiently; eventually, there will be a sense of softening, the way I describe it in my Myofascial Release seminars: “It feels like butter melting or taffy stretching.” At that point, the therapist still does not slide on the skin, but takes the slack out until he shifts the next collagenous barrier of the fascial system, which feels like very hard tissue. The old way of performing Myofascial Release is to try to force your way through, and that only gives you an incomplete release that produces temporary results.
When one has performance anxiety, she is attached to an outcome. This places unnecessary and undue pressure upon the therapist. Only when you detach from the outcome and let go of the fear of failure are you free to be a far more effective therapist.
The following is something written by a therapist I have trained that may be enlightening. I hope you enjoy it:
“Before Myofascial Release, I was empty. Myofascial Release has been an experience of coming into my body, feeling connected; sort of like seeing the world in color and 3-D instead of black and white and flat. Being around John has been an experience of learning acceptance. I was given permission to be just as I was, never pushed or prodded.
“Some things that John has taught me and made an impact on me are learning to detach from the outcome and letting go of performance anxiety. Of course, those statements were initially meant for treatment, but they transferred into my life. Detaching from the outcome allows me to listen to my higher self and trust, to let go of having to be in control. It allows me to be in my center, open to all possibilities.
“Performance anxiety extended into my personal life, with “I’m not good enough” feelings. I openly acknowledged that I felt that way while treating, but I didn’t realize that I really felt that way about myself.
“Sometimes I could describe John’s touch as a warm blanket that just seeped into every corner of my cells, encouraging those parts of me that were so hidden to come out. Such a safe feeling. Sometimes it felt like a velvet wrecking ball, flowing through my restrictions, but still so safe and tight. I learned to step out of my comfort zone to grow and heal old wounds. Again, [I learned to] trust and let go of the need to control.
“One of the nicest experiences has been to watch the growing and healing of one of my closest friends. She was working in my office, so I decided to send her to Myofascial Release I so that she would understand Myofascial Release at a deeper level. Over the course of the weekend, I saw the life come back into her eyes. It was so beautiful! She is slowly peeling off her layers and taking back her life. I really don’t want to think about a life without Myofascial Release. I have gained a wonderful Myofascial Release family, who seem to be with me always. I feel there is a world of growth out there just waiting to be tapped into.”
Myofascial Release is more than a series of highly effective techniques. It is a new paradigm and path to the enhancement of ourselves as therapists and personally as individuals.
John 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 100,000 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; he is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit www.myofascialrelease.com.
For more information about myofascial release, access two excerpts from the Fireside Chat with John F. Barnes, PT DVD on YouTube:
To connect with John Barnes on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/myofascial.release.