What is Myofascial Release?

Conditions That Can be Helped With MFR

Problems MFR Helps:  (Click to see a comprehensive list)


Unlike other traditional therapies or conventional medicine, Myofascial Release does not just focus on the symptoms. It certainly addresses the symptoms at hand but more importantly the cause of the problem. This allows for profoundly effective results that last.

What is Myofascial Release (MFR)?

Myofascial Release (MFR), as taught by John F. Barnes, is a highly effective, full body, hands-on approach. It involves stretches and compressions, applied with gentle pressure, that are held until the restriction releases. The pressure used during treatment is gentle, and never done beyond a client’s tolerance. This manual therapy can provide amazing results for decreasing pain and increasing range of motion. It views each individual as a whole person and creates an environment to allow one’s self to inherently heal.

Physical trauma, inflammation or postural misalignment can cause fascial restrictions leading to pressure on pain sensitive structures. This excessive pressure acts as a “straight jacket” in our body, producing symptoms such as pain, headaches or limited range of motion. The modality of MFR uses sustained pressure and gentle stretching or compression into the fascial system, allowing it to regain fluidity and relieve the tension of this connective tissue.

Although MFR addresses the symptoms at hand, it is designed to discover and rectify the restrictions that are often the root of the problem! The therapist sustains pressure and follows any motion that occurs three-dimensionally as the surrounding myofascial environment releases and eliminates or reduces the bracing or holding patterns in the subconscious tissue memory. Treatments are generally slow paced and gentle to allow facilitation of these releases naturally.

What is Myofascial Tissue?

It is Living Fascia. It can be dense and thick like the white in a steak or it can as thin as cotton candy wisps infiltrating down into each cell.

The “myofascial” or “fascial” system is a 3-D web of connective tissue that surrounds, infiltrates, and connects every tissue, organ, and cell of your body from head to toe and skin to spine. It’s function is to provide support and structure to the body as well as work as a bracing mechanism from injuries.

It can be difficult to visualize the impact of this tissue. An easier comparison is in a bowl of jello with pieces of fruit floating in it. The fruit represents the muscles, bones and organs, while the jello is the fascia. All the fruit is saturated and suspended within the jello (fascia). Just as the fascia is a continuous web that responds to tensions in other area of the body, the jello displays the same effect when jiggled in one area, it causes movement in an other area in the bowl. The energy is transferred easily through the tissue.

To simply describe a complex system, fascia is a web-like system in our body that runs head to toe without interruption. It is a tough connective tissue that supports our entire being from the largest structures in our body down to the cellular level. Until recently, the fascial system has been largely ignored by most professionals in the health care industry.


See: Strolling Under the Skin  –  On YouTube  or   Fascia Magnified 25 X – YouTube

How does JFB MFR differ from
other myofascial release approaches?

Myofascial Release (MFR) is a hands-on soft tissue technique that facilities the movement and healing of the fascial system. The ultimate goal is to help release fascial restrictions (e.g. scars, tissue damage, stress, etc.) to allow your body to properly realign and heal naturally, thus returning you to normal function, movement and sensation.

The John F. Barnes’ MFR approach differs from many others by:

  • working with the myofascial system through gentle pressures and sustained movements or stretches of the connective tissues and mobilizations of bones. This is due to fascias’ function, which is to protect your body from trauma or injury. If engaged too hard or too fast, the connective tissue just recoils to protect your body. Tissue cannot simultanously release and stretch while it is also contracting. If this happens healing shuts down, limiting blood supply, neural input, and tissue mobility. If treatment continues while the tissue is in a protective response, then all that is being achieved is superficial releases. This is why it often takes several days (more than 2) to recover from a more aggressive form of treatment. This also results in short term relief of pain, usually with it returning hours to days later.
  • applying techniques within the body’s limits, never forcing structures. The highly skilled therapists can feel subtle changes within the tissue and are acutely aware of pain and tissue limits. This is why your therapist rarely needs to ask about pain levels during treatment. Your tissue is giving them constant feedback that allows for them to appropriately adjust during the treatment. However, your feedback is always welcome.
  • looking to the entire body for answers. While we treat the inflamed and restricted areas, we focus on finding the root cause of the problem which we believe can include many physical as well as emotional ailments. It is our goal to not just treat symptoms, but identify and treat the root cause of the impairment to help you reduce pain, restore motion and/or increase performance for long lasting results.
  • working without a protocol. Each treatment is different every time. This allows the therapist to adapt appropriately to the needs of the patient as symptoms and tissues are constantly evolving.

Through the gentle, non-invasive touch of JFB MFR, many people have already experienced the benefits of reducing or eliminating back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, migraines, and more. It has helped innumerable people around the world to permanently relieve symptoms traditional medicines could do nothing about. Being courageous, patient and listening deeply pays off in unimaginable ways.

The Release Connection’s Approach


At The Release Connection, we look beyond the typical diagnosis, and search for root causes. Our therapists use a unique blend of Myofascial Release, CranioSacral techniques and Therapeutic Massage. Your MFR therapist is here to help facilitate your body’s own inherent ability to heal.

Your therapist will work with you to design a treatment to meet your specific needs. Whether you are looking for a reduction in pain, greater movement, enhanced performance, or way to take your healing to the next level, the session will be tailored to help meet your individual goals.

Because every situation is different, there is no specific routine. You should expect only a portion of the body to be directly worked on during any given session, but know that the entire body is being treated even if the therapist touches only the head or the feet. When a pull on the ankles, the neck, or an arm is instigated, it is inherently connected to all other parts of the body through the fascial system, as if one were pulling on the edge of a spider web, or a loosely knit sweater.

Image – John F. Barnes, PT,

For greatest effectiveness,
Myofascial Release treatment is best received:

  • After a postural analysis
  • On bare skin, with no oil or lotion (See ” What should I wear to my treatment?” in the FAQ section.)
  • With a skilled practitioner
  • In a safe environment
  • With an open mind
  • With a desire for authentic healing
  • While giving yourself permission to explore and let go

What MFR can do for you…

The John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® is considered to be the ultimate mind/body therapy.  It is a completely safe, extremely effective revolutionary manual therapy that stretches and hydrates the connective tissue in the body (fascia) in order to eliminate the causes of pain and restriction.  It is safe, gentle and consistently effective in increasing range of motion and function.

Since Myofascial Release looks to the entire body for its answers, many physical and emotional ailments can be addressed through this modality. It is our goal to help you reduce pain, restore motion and/or increase performance.

Through the gentle, non-invasive touch of MFR, many people have already experienced the benefits of reducing or eliminating back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, migraines, and more.  It has helped innumerable people around the world to permanently relieve symptoms traditional medicines could do nothing about. Being courageous, patient and listening deeply pays off in unimaginable ways.

Women’s Health Issues

Women’s Health Article by John F. Barnes

Many women’s health issues can be helped with myofascial release:

  • Pregnancy Recovery
  • C-section Scar Tissue
  • Endometriosis
  • Organ Prolapsed
  • Vulvodynia
  • Incontinency and Urgency
  • Scar Tissue Reduction
  • Post Surgical Recovery
  • Post Accident and Trauma Recovery (auto, work, sports injury)

Self Treatment: How to help yourself!

Self-treatment is an essential element of your healing process with Myofascial Release. Become curious about what your body needs from you to truly heal and release stored restrictions and past trauma. Ask your body! Listen and be open to what you hear.

Some Self Treatment Videos:

MFR Self-Treatment for the Psoas Muscles

MFR Self-Treatment for the Pelvic Floor

MFR Self-Treatment for the Pelvic Floor Using Balls

Self Myofascial Release Exercise Video – Balls

MFR Self-Treatment for the Adductor

Self Myofascial Release Exercise with the Cranio Cradle  (Also works with a Still Point Inducer)

Self Myofascial Release Exercise with the Theracane

Fix Your Shoulder Pain, Part I

Exercise For The Rotator Cuff, Rotator Cuff Injury, Shoulder Impingement

Some Self Treatment Articles:

Infant Torticollis

Scar Healing, Alternatives to Invasive Procedures

Got Issues In Your Tissues?

Teaching The Nervous System To Forget Chronic Pain – Recall Then Erase

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Often Misdiagnosed

Low Back Pain and MFR

What Is Scoliosis

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Educating Clients On The Healing Crisis

Activating The Vagus Nerve

Life After Cesarian Birth

Five Secrets of Real Stretching

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