Therapeutic Insight: The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Perspective—Traumatic Flashback, MASSAGE MagazineMyofascial release allows for “flashbacks” of past traumatic events to emerge.

Myofascial release and myofascial unwinding start in the present moment, releasing fascial restrictions then working in reverse, altering the habitual muscular response and allowing the positional, reversible amnesia to surface, producing emotions and beliefs that are the cause of the holding patterns and ultimate symptoms. Thus, it is important for the therapist to quiet his or her mind and feel the inherent motions.

Quietly following the tissue or body part three-dimensionally along the direction of ease takes the client into the significant restrictions or positions. With myofascial unwinding, the therapist eliminates gravity from the system. This unloading of the structure allows the body’s righting reflexes and protective responses to temporarily suspend their influence. The body then can move into positions that allow these state-or-position-dependent physiologic or flashback phenomena to reoccur. As this happens within the safe environment of a treatment session, the therapist can facilitate the body’s inherent self-correcting mechanism to obtain improvement.

The myofascial release approach creates a whole-body awareness, allowing the massage therapist and bodyworker to facilitate change, growth and the possibility for a total resolution of restrictions that impede client progress.



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 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

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

Part 1

Part 2

To connect with John Barnes on Facebook, visit