Does it feel like things are overflowing and overwhelming having gone through a pandemic? Our volume limits have been reached and exceeded. Volume means capacity, extent, quantity, amplification and proportion. Our capacity for how much we can we take has been tested. All of these words denote MAXED OUT, too much to hold in one container. The MFR (Myofascial Release) Principles developed by John F. Barnes, PT (which I specialize in as a Massage Therapist practicing Wellness), will help.
1. Never FORCE. In John’s approach to Myofascial Release we learn that, “YOU CAN’T FORCE A SYSTEM THAT WON’T BE FORCED.” The fascial system is highly elastic but STONG. It is the structural SHOCK ABSORBING SYSTEM in the body. If we try to barrel through it by pushing too hard, with our hands or our intention, it WILL push back! I have found that life is also this way. Carl Jung said it best, “What you resist, persists.” Forcing feels like WORK and only creates more problems.
2. FEELING not a bad “F” word. John frequently teaches his therapists, “If it FEELS like you are working too hard, you ARE working too hard.” Many times, when we are faced with huge volumes of work before us, or there is much “work’ that needs to be done, whether it is in the body on the table before you the therapist, or the grief we have felt during the pandemic, we can get overwhelmed. We try to force our way to the end. We work non-stop without breaks only thinking of what is “next” on the to do list. “I need to go here, then there, etc.” The best solution I have learned from MFR and can correlate to this pandemic is ALLOW. Allow yourself to be in the present moment. Do the task that is right in front of you. Let that task be your sole purpose. Getting into your head (channel 5) and getting ahead of yourself energetically, you have not assigned all your energy to what you are doing. Be PRESENT MINDED and you will find your energy is fuller and more productive.
3. BEING: Practice being present in your body. Stay with the volume of work that is before you. Allow yourself to feel what is happening under your hands or bombarding your senses. It may stink, it may shake, it may feel slimy, or wet. It may bring up memories of the past and the feelings of those memories. Feel them, validate them. Say to yourself, “I survived” and “I am safe” Really experience the sights, smells, and tactile information that is coming in like a wave. It will help your healing once the initial shock and bewilderment have passed.
4. WAIT AT THE BARRIER. This one is what sets John Barnes’ MFR apart from all other forms of Myofascial Release. We never force, we are grounded, present and centered, while observing our energy, but not judging it. If we feel strained, we adjust. Then, WE WAIT. We engage the mountain of resistance that is before us, whether thick restrictions in the body or a damp wet towel that needs to dry. Waiting. No one likes it. Waiting gives the time for things to soften, to adapt and to get through. As we wait with MFR, the ground substance melts and allows the fluid dynamics of the microtubules and our energy to FLOW. Just like time allows for the bottleneck effect to clear all the cars that need to get through a single lane opening. Patience is easier to practice when we stay present. Be with yourself during these times. Practice feeling seeing and therefore PROCESSING what is happening. It will reduce the trauma, inflammation, and the contraction of muscles produced as a result of tensing up, hurrying up, and forcing an outcome that may not come in the way you expect.
5. LET GO OF THE OUTCOME. Our bodies have two major modes: Relaxation and Contraction mode. Relaxation is when we are resting, recovering, sleeping, eating/digesting and having sex. Contraction mode is when we are moving, running, working and stressing out. When we Contract, it brings blood flow to the muscles and heart in order to run, hide or fight off an attack. It is called Flight/Fight/Freeze response(FFF) and is a function of the Sympathetic Nervous System. The problem with today’s society is that the FFF Response never gets to turn off, we are in a constant state of stress. We hold on to the emotional traumas, the inconveniences, and the annoyances of everyday life. We want to control everything and CONTROL THE OUTCOME, so we push impatiently by FORCING at the Barrier of what is resisting how we think it should be. There is a better way! 6. Remember what forcing does? It causes whatever is forcing its way through to PUSH BACK. This happens in our bodies the same way. We can go months, and even years in a stressed-out flight or fight pattern. Then one day Our bodies, life containers, say: “Nope, that’s it, I am over my capacity, this is way to amplified for me. I can’t take it, and I’m pushing back!” This appears as neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, foot pain, tight muscles, inability to sleep, foggy thinking and angry temperament.
Myofascial Release can help all of these conditions and more. We work with people to reduce stress, release tension, unravel emotional bracing and holding patterns, improve posture, reduce pain, and restore people to a healthy active lifestyle.
*A highly trained John Barnes MFR Therapist can address all of these issues and more. I offer a safe loving environment for healing at Dynamic Myofascial Release. I would love to assist you with reducing the stress caused by this catastrophic event. Please take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of your family, friends and neighbors.