Self Care

The Healing Journey

john picRecently, I attended MFR II with John Barnes in Captiva, FL.  The question was raised, “How long will it take me to heal, when will I be done?”.   As MFR therapists, we constantly work on our own healing processes.  Healing is a journey of discovery.  There is no focus on the outcome, just a willingness to feel and become more aware.  Once we are aware of what is happening in our bodies and minds, we can decide what to change, what to let go of, and what to embrace.

How long does it take to learn something new?  How long does it take to let go of old belief systems and open to new possibilities?  How long does it take to heal physical and emotional trauma?

As long as it takes us to feel, to soften, to open.

John shared this poem with us at the seminar.  I think it encapsulates the idea that we have what we need to change/fix/heal inside ourselves.  It is a message of hope.

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But,  it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in.  It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.  I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Cold and Flu Season is here!

It’s that time of year, cold and flu season.  There is no “magic pill” to cure a cold or the flu.  It usually just has to run its course.  So I’m always looking for natural remedies to feel better and shorten the duration of symptoms.

Woman with tissue and hot drinkEven better, I do all I can to boost my immune system and get plenty of rest.  As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

I recently found this great article with lots of tips from the UK.  I’m intrigued by the Wet Sock Treatment, and may just try it out the next time I’m feeling under the weather.  Let me know if you try any of these suggestions and how they work for you.  Please share with us if  you have any great home remedies or tips that you swear by.



Does Foam Rolling Really Release Fascia?

Foam rollers are the hottest tool for self-care today. Many of my clients say they have watched videos or read instructions in magazines and use them for self-myofascial release. However, they only get limited and temporary relief from tightness. It looks simple enough. What could be going wrong? Does foam rolling even release fascia?

To figure that out, we need to understand fascia. Fascia is a three-dimensional web of tough connective tissue. It pervades the entire body down to the cellular level. You have probably seen it before in the tough, glistening layers of a steak. Or in the thin, white, sticky layers of chicken that are difficult to cut. Repetitive stress, injury, trauma, or disease processes cause fascia to solidify and harden. A classic example would be a tight, hard IT band. Tight fascia pulls on adjacent tissues, and in our example of the IT band, could lead to knee pain, a pulled hamstring, pelvic rotation, hip pain, etc.

foam femaleFascia is made of collagen, elastin, and a gel-like ground substance. For permanent, physiological change, the collagenous portion of fascia must release. Research* has shown that the collagenous component of fascia releases with a low load of pressure over an extended period of time (minimum 3-5 minutes). This is the method used in John Barnes Myofascial Release. Any releases that occur before 3-5 minutes affect only the elastic component of fascia.

When we understand fascia, it is easy to see why my clients weren’t getting a true release. In demonstrations, foam rolling is done much more quickly. It is also done with an aggressive amount of force. This means that only the elastic component releases. Fascial creep eventually causes the tightness to return. Just like a rubber band that stretches, but then shortens to its original length.

So do I tell my clients to toss their foam rollers? Not at all! They can be helpful tools for self-myofascial release if used properly. Follow these principles used in John Barnes Myofascial Release:

foam female2• Find an area of tightness or tenderness with the foam roller.

• Wait a minimum of 3-5 minutes for the release to begin. (This will feel like butter melting or a piece of taffy being gently stretched)

• Follow the release three-dimensionally to the next area of tightness or tenderness, then repeat steps one and two.

• DO NOT force the tissues.

• Stay aware of what you are feeling at all times.

Don’t have foam rollers at home? Use these principles with any self-care tool including Nola Rolas, 3” or 4” balls, tennis balls, or racquetballs.

I would love to hear about your experiences with self-care and the results you’ve gotten. Your questions are always welcome.

*From research presented at the International Congress on Fascia. For more information visit

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” Anais Nin

What the heck am I doing writing a blog? That’s the question I keep hearing over and over again in my mind. I’m a total introvert and an unusually private person. This is definitely NOT in my comfort zone.

roseIt’s taken a long time for me to get here. Like most of you, I’ve had my share of emotional and physical trauma. At an early age, I learned the wisdom in hiding, becoming invisible. The safety in not being seen. And it worked for a long time….or so it seemed.

Then I began to study John Barnes Myofascial Release. I realized that if I wanted to become a true master of MFR (not a superficial dabbler) I needed to work on myself. One of the first things we learn in John Barnes MFR is that “you can only take people as far as you are willing to go”.

What does that mean? Well, if I won’t commit to my own personal growth, even if it is uncomfortable, can I really help anyone else on his or her journey? Unless I challenge belief systems that don’t work for me anymore, can I honestly ask my clients to? I’ve had to nudge myself along these last four years, slowly revealing layer after layer. Now it is time to blossom and expand to my full potential in order to help others do the same.

So, I’ve let go of the outcome and here I am, open and exposed. My hope is that by being “seen” on this blog that I can spark discussion. I’m not interested in just writing a series of lectures. I am, however, interested in hearing your comments and insights so we can learn and grow together.

It’s a huge risk for me and I would be lying if I said I weren’t afraid. But that’s kind of the point isn’t it? No one grows in his or her comfort zone.

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