by John F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T.

Fascia photo by permission of Dr. J.C. Guimberteau

Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—A Sea of Information, MASSAGE MagazineAt the beginning of our life cycle, we are conceived in fluid, developed in amniotic fluid and born in fluid; our bodies are more than 70-percent fluid. New scientific discoveries demonstrate that the fascial system is a combination of a powerful fibrous web surrounded by a ground substance that is a fluid/gelatinous medium, and which is the internal and external environment of every cell in the body.

Past research on the fascial system was erroneous because it only focused on the fibrous web. Scientists studied anatomy on cadavers that were dry and brittle. Those scientists were studying nonlife, as if we are objects; yet, we treat living human beings.

Recent research shows there is a micro-fascial system (a tensegrity structure) within every cell. Inside the cytoskeleton of the cell lay microtubules of fascia that have a hollow core, which fluid flows through. Energy, information and consciousness flow within that fluid. Consciousness is not just in the brain as we were taught. My experience has shown me that consciousness flows through every cell of our bodies. The fluid within and around every cell performs the important function of being the transport medium of oxygen, nutrients, chemicals, hormones, toxins, energy and information throughout our entire being, almost instantaneously.

When a person undergoes trauma, surgery and/or an inflammatory process, the fluidity of the fascial system becomes dehydrated and the tissue begins to solidify. The solidification of our tissue has the potential to create crushing pressure approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. This hardening of the fascial system tends to deepen and spread, creating and perpetuating the negative effects (symptoms) you and your clients experience.

Traditional science’s erroneous view that the connective tissue is just an insulator was proven wrong back in 1941. Instead, the fascial system is a three-dimensional structural web that holds liquid and information and conducts energy. Our body’s communication system relies on water. A 10-percent change in water content within the fascia can trigger a millionfold change in charge transportation along a protein. The incredible speed with which,information and energy spreads throughout the body makes reliance on biochemistry alone insufficient.

A sea of information

Contrary to the traditional paradigm, a living organism is not a mere biomechanical machine. A living organism is a vast sea of energy and information that flows through the myofascial system as a hologram. It is dynamic and fluid with all components, always in instant and continuous communication. This kind of instant, system-wide communication cannot be produced by the traditional view of solely physical and chemical interactions among molecules, genes, cells and organs. In addition, nerves can only transmit one signal at a time, 20 meters per second, making it impossible to stimulate the more than 50 trillion cells of our body instantaneously.

Our communication system

The fascial system is the primary communication system, with the slower neural system a secondary system of conduction. The fluid within and around the microtubules of the fascial system (the conduit of consciousness) carries almost immediate energy and information throughout the body, so we can function as a coordinated, balanced whole.

Trauma, inflammation, surgery or unresolved emotional holding patterns dehydrate and tighten the fascial system. As a result of this loss of fluid and solidification of the ground substance, important communication is blocked and will eventually produce the symptoms of pain, headaches, anxiety, restriction of motion and disease.

Myofascial release is a safe, efficient and highly effective way to eliminate pain and enhance cellular communication for optimal health. Our ability to release a restricted fascial system enhances cellular metabolism, cellular respiration, elimination and fluid flow. Our body’s pathways become free of rigid “road blocks” and are more capable of distributing essential information between cells, allowing our clients and ourselves to function as more synchronized and energized beings.



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 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, as well as 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, you can now access two separate excerpts from the Fireside Chat with John F. Barnes, PT DVD on YouTube:

View Part 1

View Part 2

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