Jane studied Integrated Myofascial Therapy with Ruth Duncan in Glasgow in 2004/2005 before enrolling on the programme of seminars taught by John F. Barnes, the pioneer of modern Myofascial Release, in the United States. She completed a clinical internship at the Barnes MFR treatment facility in Paoli, Pennsylvania, in May 2006 and subsequently continued her training to an advanced level.
Jane began her professional life as a translator in the late 1980s. Long hours at a computer soon took their toll, leading to episodes of back, neck and shoulder pain. By 2000 Jane was ready for a career change and retrained as a remedial and sports massage therapist, working with a varied clientele of all ages and backgrounds. She quickly realised that traditional soft tissue techniques could provide only part of the answer to many of her clients’ complaints and began to focus on myofascial approaches, exploring the role of fascia (connective tissue) as a cause of pain and dysfunction in the human body.
Jane is also a certified Body Control Pilates teacher and a Feldenkrais practitioner. She has a particular interest in movement therapy as a complement to MFR. Both Pilates and Feldenkrais provide a means of helping clients to reinforce the benefits of treatment through enhanced movement ability and better postural awareness.
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a hands-on physical therapy used to alleviate strain, tension and pain in the body. ‘Myo’ means ‘relating to muscle’. ‘Fascia’ means ‘band’ and refers to the body’s connective tissue network. Tendons and ligaments are the forms of fascia that most people would recognise, but they are only one aspect of this complex and diverse soft tissue.
The fascial network is composed largely of collagen and elastin, forming a three-dimensional web that extends without interruption from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. Strong, flexible and resilient, it weaves around and through every living cell in the body including bones, muscles, organs and blood vessels. It supports, protects and connects. Without fascia our skeleton could not stand up and our muscles could not transmit force to our bones to create movement. When healthy, the fascial system functions as an efficient shock absorber, providing a supportive cushioning mechanism that enables us to move safely without restriction or pain. It can, however, be damaged, whether by physical or emotional injury, inflammation or poor posture. In response, the fascial web starts to thicken and stiffen, binding down on internal structures such as bones and muscles. As these are compressed and pulled out of alignment our movements become more difficult, tiring and, ultimately, painful.
The body attempts to compensate for these restrictions, creating further imbalance and tension at sites increasingly removed from that of the original injury. A vicious circle of pain, tension and bracing develops from which it can seem impossible to escape. Helping the body to unravel this web of restrictions and break the circle is the goal of Myofascial Release.
‘Find the pain, look elsewhere for the cause.’
(John F. Barnes)
MFR is a hands-on, whole-body treatment which targets structural imbalances in the fascial network that may be contributing to muscular aches and strains, joint pain and fatigue. MFR aims to restore flexibility and resilience to the body, helping to reduce tension and pain and promote ease of movement.
Although primarily a physical therapy, MFR may also promote change on other levels. It is now widely accepted that human health encompasses spiritual and emotional aspects as well as the purely physical. These additional components can be addressed through MFR by using physical pathways to access and change negative beliefs and attitudes which may, consciously or subconsciously, be contributing to the client’s dis-ease.
Your initial session (usually 90 minutes) will include a case history and postural evaluation as well as treatment. Follow-up sessions may be 60 or 90 minutes in length. Clients are usually treated in their underwear, but some people prefer to bring a pair of shorts and a vest or bra top to the session. A variety of treatment positions may be used: side-lying, face down, face up, seated and standing. This allows the fascial system to be addressed three-dimensionally.
Your therapist’s goal is to create a treatment approach which is specific to you and your particular needs. They will also help you to identify faulty movement patterns or other issues which could be perpetuating your pain/tension cycle and develop strategies to break this cycle. This could be as simple as analysing how you sit, stand or lift and suggesting more efficient ways to perform these activities.