What is Myofascial Release?
The most abundant protein in the body- collagen- together with elastin and a gelatinous ground substance, creates a continuous matrix in our bodies. This matrix has many names; yet, what ever we name it makes less difference than what it does in our bodies- both beneficial and non-beneficial. Functionally the fascial system, as we have come to call it, creates our form, our strength and protection. It is a kind of filler connective tissue that binds the spaces between the cells and glues us together. As taught to me by my mentor- the tensile strength of this protein system is up to 2000 pounds per square inch. That is strong! Many people claim fascial adhesions and restrictions cannot be changed because of this toughness. The beauty of the Myofascial Release technique of John F. Barnes, PT is the gentleness and great respect it conveys toward the body. It turns out that if the body is not threatened and feels safe, the tissue can be affected and health can be restored. I have found this to be true literally countless times over the past 19 years of clinical practice. A gentle yet firm and consistent pressure is applied to the restricted areas and, given enough time, the collagen will break apart and the system then has a chance to return to the desired homeostasis.
Below are two articles I wrote on this subject for the San Luis Obispo County “Information Press.”
You Tube German video of fascial research (English subtitles) here
You Tube video of magnified fascia here (fascinating!)
You Tube “fireside chat” by John F. Barnes, PT (my mentor) part one here
You Tube video JFB “fireside chat” part two here
What is Lymphatic Drainage Therapy?
Lymphatic Drainage Therapy works with the water systems of our bodies. The lymph system consists of vessels that carry lymph (liquid with suspended solids) from our tissues back to the venous system. This system consists of vessels, nodes and lymph fluid. The lymph system not only cleans up our cellular environment, but it also plays an important role in our immune system.
The vessels are found everywhere in our bodies that blood veins, arteries, and capillaries are found. Vessels consist of lymph capillaries, pre-collectors, collectors, and trunks and ducts. The organization is such that vessels gradually get bigger as more and more material is swept up. The lymph fluid is collected from the interstitial tissue (area between the cells) via “tissue channels” (that are about .1 to 10 microns in diameter and resemble a watershed of the Earth), by the lymph capillaries, (also fragile, only 15 to 120 microns in diameter when filled). Capillaries form a tight web-like network between the dermis and the epidermis of the skin. Material is then passed onto pre-collectors which are larger with a thicker endothelial layer and a few muscle cells. Next is the larger still collectors, which are the main transport of the liquid (100 to 600 microns diameter) and are found in the fatty tissue. They are more complicated in their structure, containing an inner, middle and outer layers. Pre-collectors and collectors send material in one direction to surrounding lymph nodes.
Lymph trunks and ducts are the largest vessels, are structured similar to the collectors and carry lymph to the deep venous system at the base of the anterior neck.
Lymphangions are found in the muscle layer of collector vessels, trunks and ducts, and are worth noting. It is widely taught that the lymph system does not have its own pumping ability (like the heart serves for the circulatory system), but this is not so. Just like the heart initiates its own pumping action (SA node, AV node), lymphatic collectors are made up of small muscular units that have a self pacemaker ability. They are also connected to the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems, which means they will affected by stress.
Lymph nodes are found mostly in the abdomen and neck, but also in the main creases of bone articulations (except the wrists). There are normally 400 to 700 nodes in the human body. They range from 2 to 25 mm in size. They serve to filtrate our bodies liquid, concentrate the lymph, destroy unwanted invaders, and produce lymphocytes, an important white blood cell.
Not quite finished! Come back later to read the completion of this article.
I work in my office Monday through Friday and am so happy to serve you.