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How is John Barnes Myofascial Release Different from other therapies?

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

How is Myofascial release different? I think a better question to answer is "How is John Barnes Myofascial Release" different? John Barnes, PT, is the founder of the concept of gentle sustained pressure Myofascial Release (MFR). This is the type of MFR that I use every day with patients. So, why is it different?

John Barnes teaches his therapists to use mindfulness in treating the entire body when applying pressure at the fascial restrictions? Say What????

When we are assessing the body, we are searching for areas of restriction and tension. Once found, we hold a pressure on that tissue and apply a gentle stretch. We hold the tissue release for at least 5 minutes. What this does is allow the tissue to melt and soften from a less "solid" tissue to a more fluid gel like tissue.

Our tissue wants to be fluid and "gel like" rather than solidified and rigid. When we hold the tissue and release after 5 minutes or so, the capillaries are flowing with water , which rehydrates the tissue, creating a much healthier environment for our cells and tissue. The tissue becomes much more elongated, pliable, and it unkinks itself . I describe it like a hose that is unraveling. After 5 minutes, our bodies release something called Interleukin 8, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that our body produces. This means that we can begin to facilitate anti-inflammatory properties to help our body heal naturally.

Rather than forcing the tissue to "release" , MFR allows the tissue to soften and release on its own, without force. MFR works "with the body" not on the body. And in a quiet state, we are better able to feel into our bodies and listen to the messages it is giving us. There are other forms of tissue work that use deep force and sometimes tools which may produce inflammation. With gentle sustained pressure with MFR, our goal is to promote healing, rather than inflammation.

MFR to me is about healing. Its about healing from a tissue stand point but also from a mindful stand point.

We are so frequently bogged down with life, over stimulation, and stress, that it is difficult to take time to feel what our body is trying to tell us. Sometimes, we don't hear the messages until its too late. MFR allows us to start to listen to our body better.

Karen Burg, a Massage Therapist, specializes in Myofascial Release for those suffering from chronic pain, acute injury and trauma. It’s her calling to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal. She’s known for blending the ancient wisdom of Myofascial Release with empathy and compassion to offer powerful, mind/body education and treatment, resulting in personal empowerment, long-lasting pain relief and an amazing, joyful life. Dynamic Myofascial Release is here to help you.

Check out our website at, Email us at

or call 619-823-9478

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