Therapeutic Insight: The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Perspective—Crushing Pressure, MASSAGE MagazineHealth care professions have ignored a structure and system of our body that is capable of producing crushing pressure.

In the early 1940s, it was discovered by one of the country’s leading scientists that the fascial system was similar to optical fiber, and was capable of carrying enormous amounts of information and energy throughout the entire body almost instantaneously. Before that, it was taught that the fascial system was an insulator, because all of the people who did research were eliminating fluid from the body and essentially studying nonlife. Unfortunately, science tends to ignore ideas that disturb their paradigm or world view, so the fascial system in almost all schools is still being taught as an insulator. The fascial system is capable of producing significant pressures in our bodies that, in turn, produce symptoms most of our clients come to see us for.

Trauma, thwarted inflammatory responses, surgery and emotional upheavals in one’s life can restrict fascia. When this occurs, fascia can exert enormous crushing pressure on pain-sensitive structures up to approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch.

It is also important to recognize fascial restrictions do not show up in such tests as CT scans, X-rays, myelograms and blood work; therefore, myofascial problems have been misdiagnosed or completely ignored for eons.

The good news is there is hope. Myofascial release will help you to find your true self and lead you to a healthier, joyful and fulfilling life. Myofascial release helps treat all aspects of a human being in a safe and effective way.

The fascial system has been ignored in most therapists’ and physicians’ education. Many of the problems you and other massage-and-bodywork practitioners have encountered, whether it be pain, headache or restriction in motion, may come from restrictions in the fascial system.

To add to this discussion, here is an excerpt from my book, Healing Ancient Wounds: The Renegade’s Wisdom.

“As a patient/client, when you are being treated by a myofascial release therapist, you are encountering a very unique individual, one that has extensive and very special training and talents, a person who has expended a considerable amount of time developing their skills and awareness. They have done everything that they will be asking you to do and feel. We believe that you can only take your patients as far and as deep as you are willing to go yourself!

When you are with a myofascial release therapist, you are in the hands of someone who has internal strength, courage, integrity and incredible awareness. You will sense the gentle, yet powerful, feel of their essence when they are near you and as they touch you. Allow their presence and the luminescence in their eyes to inspire you and reconnect you with your essence.

We know that you have these attributes also, and we will help you reach your full potential! We will help you reach your goals as long as you are willing to help yourself. As in life, you will get out of myofascial release what you are willing to put into it!

Your myofascial release therapist’s formidable skills, inner calm and confidence will help you peel away myofascial and emotional barriers that have blocked the full expression of your true self, to rediscover your own tranquility, strength, mental clarity and awareness. Reigniting your ‘spark of life’ will return you to a natural, joyful, healthy and pain-free active lifestyle.”

The inner journey is not the most important journey; it is the only journey.

John 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 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 on MASSAGE Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board; and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit

For more information about myofascial release, access two excerpts from the Fireside Chat with John F. Barnes, PT DVD on YouTube:

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