Releasing Pain – the Underground Network of Tissues

Our bodies are brilliant mechanisms of design that keep us moving and functioning throughout our lives.  Yet hectic schedules, stresses and poor habits degrade our resilient but very intricate systems.  Often people are dealing with pain on a daily basis and have no true relief.

Fibromyalgia, once thought to be a very rare disorder, is a word we see constantly in magazine and television ads that are selling pharmaceuticals.  Fibromyalgia refers to persistent, body-wide pain affecting the soft tissues, joints and muscles – fibro (tissue), myo (muscle), algia (pain).

As you know, Evergreen Advanced Bodywork specializes in John Barnes Myofascial Release (MFR) – a therapy using timed stretches and pressure to release the fascia.  Fascia is a fluid and fibrous, three-dimensional tissue that makes up 80% of our connective tissue. This fibrous, fluid, three-dimensional web surrounds, infuses and connects to all our internal structures – muscles, bones, blood vessels; even our cells. Those with fibromyalgia have compromised fascia, which results in amplified pain all over the body.  Any compromise in the fascia – a stiffening or inflammation of it – will result in pain.  Often people have no idea their problems are related to the fascia.

Considering that we are 70% water, and fascia is 80% of our connective tissue, a clear correlation exists between keeping the fascia hydrated and pliable – and being pain-free.

fascia2As explained in this stellar article  from MFR Brisbane, the fascia is our “meta-system,” acting as the body’s vital cell-to-cell communicator.  Dr. Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist at Stanford University discovered that each cell in the body is controlled by its membrane and not the nucleus and its genes. When a nucleus is removed from a cell, the cell survives a few months. Conversely, when the fascia (membrane) of the cell is removed, the cell dies.

The fascial complex of the brain is made up of glial cells, which is part of the “cellular consciousness” of the body. Glial cells outnumber neurons 9 to 1 and are vital to brain functioning, but have long been overlooked by medical researchers.

The Brisbane article further explains how our bodies response systems are thrown off by injury, trauma and stress. Typically stressors trigger our fight or flight response, but there is another, less well-known “freeze” response where changes to the fascia occur at the cellular level. When this happens the tissue transforms from liquid (healthy) to crystalline or a solid (dehydrated fascia).  Fascial restrictions then develop that cause the fascia to stiffen.  Research as far back as the 1960s described it like this: “Where the fascia once glided over the muscles and nerves, it now places crushing pressure at up to 2,000 pounds per square inch.”

Such stiffness and pressure in these tissues is the makings of joint pain, fatigue, inflammation and fibromyalgia. The good news is the fascia can be returned to its normal, healthy state with continuous effort and proper release therapy.

Modern Western medicine may not yet hold a full grasp on the inner workings of fascia or how to see and measure it, but there is no doubt it has significant role to play in overall wellness.  Honor your body by staying hydrated, stretched and positive!

To read further on how fascia works in our bodies:


The Myofascial Release Approach was developed by John F. Barnes.  Evergreen Advanced Body Works specializes in MFR.  Call 901-496-2881 for appointments.

John Barnes MFR Resources

With it’s increasing popularity, you’ve probably heard of Myofascial Release.  Perhaps you’ve read about fascia in an article or heard it mentioned in a news report,  although you’re still not clear exactly what it is or its role in the body.  Maybe you even have several friends who have received MFR, but they all describe it differently.

For a deeper understanding of fascia, what Myofascial Release is, the philosophy of John Barnes’ style of MFR and it’s history, I’ve included a link to John’s archives.  I’m always available to clarify or answer questions as you work your way through the articles.

My current clients may find it helpful to read about some of the topics we’ve discussed in our sessions.  I would love to hear any comments you might have.

Happy Reading!