Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Special Projects, Story Telling, and Myofascial Release

I talked about a project I was working on in my last post and it is finally finished! As I talked about my work in my last post I mentioned John Barnes, a physical therapist who has profoundly influenced my life. I have taken seminars that presented his version of myofascial release for almost 15 years. In that time I have learned many things about the mind/body connection and how we can provide a way for both of these to go through profound changes within a unique healing environment. Going through school we talked a lot about how the mind and the body were connected and true healing had to include both the mind and the body. Unfortunately we didn't learn any methods to treat both.

What John Barnes has done, through his own experience, intuition and experimentation, is to create the unique treatment method called Myofascial Release. There are older forms of myofascial release, that some of you may have heard about, that often force the body system. Myofascial release, as John teaches it, is not always pain free, but the force used is always gentle and never forces its way through. It also addresses the mind as it dwells in the body through unique methods called unwinding and rebounding. While these are difficult to explain in words, the experience can be quite profound. It also allows the treatment to go deeper and provides more permanent results.

A therapist, using myofascial release, can treat many problems that often require surgery or other more invasive treatments that are often less than ideal solutions. I have helped clients avoid rotator cuff repairs, back surgery, neck surgery, carpal tunnel surgery, and surgical releases to tight areas such as the plantar fascia, lateral patellar tightness, and frozen shoulders. You can read more about this treatment by reading the articles at the myofascial release web site.

Through the years I have asked John about how he came up with many of the ideas contained in his treatment methods. In his story I gained not only answers, but I got to observe the process that John went through. Its not a linear path. It has many branches and some dead ends. The essential ideas that interested me were how he integrated these experiences into useful treatment methods.

John uses a teaching style that allows a person to develop an awareness that allows a great deal of creativity and intuition to play a larger role in treating these complex problems that people present. So much of this understanding, for me, came through hearing John tell his own story. I wanted this to be available to not only other therapists, but to clients as well.

On March 2, 2007 my brother Stew and a crew we assembled were allowed to come to John's house and interview him. As he sat in front of his fireplace, his story unfolded in his own voice, in his unique way. My plan was to make this interview available to everyone. This interview is now available as a DVD for anyone to hear and experience.

Even if you don't fully know what myofascial release is, this is a fascinating story. There are many things to resonate with. In the professional world myofascial release is becoming more and more known because the results are powerful and even more so with a skilled therapist. John has been asked to give 8 hour presentations to the American Back society a number of times and there is standing room only. This is attended by physicians, therapists, and chiropractors from all over the world. But, I believe that it is important to now educate a wider audience to this treatment method. This was one of my goals for this project. I wanted to make myofascial release more accessible to the general population. I believe story telling is an effective way to do this.

In terms of satisfaction, this work has been something that I have gained great enjoyment from. It continues to challenge, inspire, and change me. When I decided to go into physical therapy in high school, the work I do now is what I envisioned myself doing then. It has provided me some of the deepest spiritual connections that I have experienced in my life. It still surprises me and provides a lot of joy.

I encourage you to read the articles and if you are a visual learner or want to hear it from John himself, get the DVD.