Therapeutic Insight: The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Perspective—Mastectomy, Breast Reduction and Augmentation, MASSAGE MagazineMyofascial release can be helpful post-surgery following mastectomies, breast reduction and augmentation. Once healing has occurred after a mastectomy, myofascial release techniques performed below and above the scar area can be helpful in eliminating the pain; this technique can also soften the scar.

However, scars grow inside the body like a vine, and can reach into the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck. This can cause breathing problems and—due to the strength of the vine—create a pulling sensation, forcing the client forward, which creates a posterior strain in the back and neck, resulting in headaches, as well as neck and back pain.

Breast augmentation scars are usually under the breast, resembling a “C” on its back. It then can come up under the breast midline, and there usually is a scar around the nipple. The nipples have to be repositioned and many sensory nerves are severed. The resulting scar is often not attractive, and can become thick and dark. Myofascial release can be helpful in softening and lightening up these scars. Many times the sensory nerves become hypersensitive and the breasts cannot be touched. Bras and blouses can also become uncomfortable to wear.

Augmentation is performed most of the time for cosmetic reasons or after mastectomies. Too many times the breasts do not look natural; they can become hard and do not feel or look normal. Sometimes the breasts are not level. Unfortunately, many surgeons do not recognize that fascia twists throughout the body, creating torque. When the patient is lying on the surgical table, breasts appear to be level, but since they are not naturally positioned (not standing) and “out of gravity,” it is not until the woman stands up that you can see the fascia drag, which creates a high or low breast. After augmentation, breasts can also become hypersensitive or have decreased sensation. Myofascial release can reposition the breast of the female client and create a more soft, supple and natural appearance.



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 75,000 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 or you can view a new brochure here.

For more information about myofascial release, view two separate excerpts from the Fireside Chat with John F. Barnes, PT DVD on YouTube. Click on the following links:

Part 1

Part 2

To connect on Facebook, click on the following link: