Last week, we discussed acupuncture as an alternative treatment for a variety of medical problems.  

Another such treatment is a procedure called Myofascial Release. This has also helped my close friend with her treatments.

I have asked Jeremy Gustin, who is giving her these treatments, to explain it to you. Jeremy D. Gustin has been a licensed massage therapist for 12 years, practicing Myofascial Release techniques for 10 years. His comments follow. 


Myofascial Release is a therapeutic technique used to treat pain, restrictions and imbalances in the body. Originally developed by physical therapist John F. Barnes, who, having suffered injuries and the resulting dysfunction within his own body, began his journey into Myofacial Release techniques to move his body out of pain and into his pre-injury state. In doing so, he began introducing specific pressures and movements into the soft tissue structures of the body resulting in this very effective technique we know today.

Myofascial Release — or MFR — is a whole-body approach using hands-on evaluation and treatment of the whole human structure. MFR focuses on the Fascial System, a tough connective tissue spreading throughout the entire body in a continuous three-dimensional web. Healthy fascia has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.

However, when a body experiences physical trauma or inflammation, the fascia becomes tight and restrictive. Because the fascial system is uninterrupted throughout the body, fascial restriction creates tension in other areas of the body resulting in pain, headaches or limited range of motion. Structural imbalances occurring from fascial restriction range from dental misalignment, osseous (bone) restriction, leg length discrepancy and pelvic rotation, just to name a few.

When trauma occurs, the fascia reorganizes itself along tension lines of support inside the body in an effort to protect from further trauma. This fascial reorganization can affect tissue physiology, slowly tightening the body into dysfunction. Flexibility and freedom of movement are lost, leading to further trauma, pain and limited movement. 

In time, fascial restrictions create symptoms of pain and limited range of motion distant to the original area of injury. Using localized treatments for these symptoms will only produce temporary results because of the imbalance in the fascial system, which remains untreated. 

The goal of MFR is to remove fascial restrictions and restore balance in the body. Once the body is in balance, it can begin to heal and return to the pre-traumatic state.

MFR techniques and exercise can improve the vertical alignment and lengthen the body, providing the essential space for healthy functioning of the osseous (bone) structures, nervous system, blood vessels and organs. 

An MFR treatment begins with a visual postural analysis of the patient, palpation of the soft tissue by the therapist to find the fascial restriction, and an analysis of the patient’s cranial sacral rhythm. 

Upon finding the fascial restriction, the therapist will apply pressure into the fascia, pulling fibers straight; the elastic component is slowly stretched until a firm barrier is felt. Sustained pressure at the barrier for a period of 90 seconds to 5 minutes will cause the fascia to release. 

Through multiple sessions, the therapist reevaluation and proprioceptive senses nurture the “feel” to properly complete the MFR techniques and ultimately alleviate the patient’s pain and dysfunction. 

The MFR technique, in conjunction with neuromuscular therapies, mobilization and manipulation by skilled practitioners utilizing a total approach treatment of the physiologic system yields impressive, clinically reproducible results.


If you would like more information about MFR, contact Gustin directly at or myself. And for more information on Myofascial Release, you can go to www.myofascialre

Dr. Michael M. Warren is Ashbel Smith professor of surgery at University of Texas Medical Branch Division of Urology. Write him at

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