by John F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B.

Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—Inner Light, MASSAGE MagazineMuch of what we were taught is obsolete, since it was based on outdated and inaccurate scientific assumptions. We were taught the fascial system was just packing material and the covering of muscles, but this information was based on research on cadavers. The only way we have been able to separate muscle from fascia has been done in our imagination; it cannot be done in vivo.

Cadavers are brittle, so the focus was on the fibrous network. Other forms of myofascial release mechanically attempt to break up the cross links that can form in the fibrous network. Unfortunately, this only partially releases myofascial restrictions, so there are only temporary results.

What is missing? Our body is more than 70 percent fluid, and the fascial system is the container and transport medium of the body’s fluid. Ideally, the ground substance of the fascial system is a fluid to gelatinous state. The ground substance is the very environment of every one of the trillions of cells in our body, and recent research has shown there is a micro-fascial system within each cell of our body.

My approach to myofascial release treats the biomechanical aspect but also uses different fluid dynamic principles that address our fluidity, which tends to solidify from trauma or thwarted inflammation processes.

Yet, there is more. What has also been ignored by science? Consciousness! How could that be? Please refer back to “Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—What Do You Believe?”

Many scientific discoveries have suggested that consciousness may be different frequencies of light and sound that flow through the fluidity of the ground substance and the microtubules of the fascial system. Light and sound flowing through the body’s fascial system is a relatively foreign concept in traditional science and medicine. Physiology, biology and neurology textbooks need to be revised.


It has been known for a long time that if you and I—and all of the billions of people on Earth—were to look at a mountain range, each of us would perceive it differently. The colors, shapes and textures, as well as the emotional and mental impact, are not out there, they are within us.

What we perceive through our senses are vibrations of energy. The neuromatrix theory describes this concept well; however, proponents of this theory have been myopic and seem to think that the brain and nervous system hang in “suspended isolation.” This reductionist view is incomplete and inaccurate in that it tells us to just consider ourselves “thinking brains” whose role is to figure everything out through logical thought.

Contrary to the reductionist view, the myofascial release perspective teaches that we are “feeling minds.” Our mind is not just in our brain as we were taught. Our mind is in every cell of our body and beyond, a part which is our subconscious. Neuroscientists have discovered the databases in our subconscious are in excess of 10 million to one of that of the consciousness of our brain. So instead of us just being thinking brains, we are also feeling minds whose function is to perceive the sensory information that bombards us moment by moment. The vibrations of this sensory information are sent through the fluid within the billions of microtubules of the fascial system at enormous speed. These vibrations stimulate the neural system and brain that reduce this vast amount of sensory information and convert these frequencies into symbols we call words, thoughts, colors, textures, emotions and meaning.

To summarize, vast amounts of vibratory information and wisdom flow through the fluidity of the fascia’s mind-body, within which lies the neuromatrix system. These incredible systems function together as a whole mind-body response and cannot be separated in vivo.

While this is interesting to write about, the profound effects of myofascial release cannot be truly understood until one experiences it. Only through your direct experiences with myofascial release will you understand how it can help you lead a pain-free, active lifestyle, with inner tranquility and mental clarity. What I have tried to do in my close to 50-year career treating people from all throughout the world is create an intelligent model of reality and treatment that is gentle, safe and effective.

The myofascial release perspective offers us and our clients hope and a return to ease in our lives. This is an exciting time to be a therapist.



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 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. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit