This 15 year old girl with a 53 degree scoliosis was told by her doctor at a well known and respected children’s hospital that the back brace she wore for the previous two years did not work and her scoliosis was worsening. She was told that she needed surgery immediately to prevent progression of her curve and potential pulmonary problems. Her doctor reluctantly wrote a prescription at the request of her mother, a myofascial release therapist, and she was seen at our Myofascial Release Treatment Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania for a two week intensive treatment program. The photos show the positive structural changes that occurred within the first three days of her program. By the end of two weeks, her scoliosis decreased by 8 degrees. She had an increase in trunk ROM of 25% to 50% in all ranges and increases in straight leg raise mobility of 40-45 degrees each side. She was able to avoid surgery, discard the use of her back brace and continue with her normal, active lifestyle as a high school student athlete.
Valerie McGraw, PT, Director
Myofascial Release Treatment Center, Paoli, PA
Letters of Gratitude
January 29, 2009
I would like to once again express my deepest gratitude for the opportunity and hope you gave my daughter. As you know, conventional medicine does not recognize the possibility of improving the curvature of the spine without surgery. Through Myofascial Release (MFR), you achieved the impossible. My daughter’s spine curvature decreased by 4 degrees in each of the affected areas. Your dedication, care and heart that you and your staff offer to your patients are outstanding. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to entrust her in your care. I believe that MFR can become a widely recognized and available alternative to scoliosis surgery. I do not want my daughter to be the only child suffering from scoliosis to experience the positive effect of MFR. I believe that together we can begin to establish MFR as a cost-effective, non-surgical, long-lasting treatment of idiopathic scoliosis.
Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Practitioner, MFR Therapist
Geoff F. came to Therapy on the Rocks as, in his words, “…a last resort”. A fall at work three years prior stole his life away, left him with constant full body pain, numbness, and the inability to perform the simplest tasks without assistance. After four failed surgeries and attempting numerous forms of therapy with no progress, he chose to come to Therapy on the Rocks. When Geoff arrived at our Sedona Myofascial Release Treatment Center, he was unable to sit, stand or lie down without excruciating pain. By utilizing a team approach, our staff of highly skilled myofascial therapists treated Geoff comprehensively. His pain decreased and his overall mobility began to improve. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Geoff’s photos speak volumes to the power of Myofascial Release for the relief of pain and a return to function.
Rob Maggio, PT
Director, Therapy on the Rocks, Sedona, AZ
Letters of Gratitude
My story is like that of many others who have found Myofascial Release Therapy. After multiple injections, continuous back, neck, and leg pain, and four failed lower back surgeries, I was at the end of my rope in constant debilitating pain. At age thirty-one, my career as a chef was no more, and I was not able to do the smallest of tasks such as make dinner, take a shower, or even walk to the car without assistance. I had tried physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care to no avail. Many doctors thought physical therapy was what I needed, but I was discharged with limited to no progress. My wife returned from one of the Myofascial Release seminars and was motivated and very enthusiastic about the therapy’s ability to help people like me. We decided to take a trip to Arizona for a three week Comprehensive Intensive Program which led me on my path towards healing mentally and physically.
Through the knowledgeable staff at the Myofascial Release Treatment Center, I began to improve my ability to walk and move, as well as release my inner emotions that I was holding tightly inside. By the end of the three weeks, I was able to stand tall and had a feeling of being able to take the reins of my pain and steer them in the direction of hope. My journey of healing and returning to a pain free, functional life has begun. Myofascial Release offers hope to those in severe pain.
I lived in constant and severe pain as a result of an automobile accident. My pain was so severe it left me virtually incapacitated. I could not work, sleep, do laundry, or even lift milk out of the refrigerator. I spent 18 months, in four different rehabilitation programs looking for relief. All types of physical therapy modalities were used including traction, ultrasound, medication, exercise, and TENS unit. None of these treatments were successful. I was told by two different doctors that I had to accept my disability and learn to live with the pain.
My injury was three years old and I had spent over $30,000.00 when I arrived at the Myofascial Release Treatment Center. It was my last resort. The Myofascial Release intensive program that I went through changed my life. After only seven days at the Myofascial Release Treatment Center I was able to turn my neck around in circles.
“The Myofascial Release Treatment Center took the time to evaluate my entire body; it is a very special place, where they treat you as an individual. The therapists are highly trained professionals and the entire staff is the nicest and most considerate group I have ever run across. Thanks to them I have a chance to start a new life.
For the first time in the past 50 plus years, I finally discovered the right place with the right therapists who knew the right treatment for my back, neck and lower extremity problems. It is John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release® Treatment Center.
I am a 75 year old retired physician who has been through all the MRI’s, ultrasounds, massages, heat therapy, muscle relaxants, acupuncture, physiatry, orthopedics, braces, decades of stretching and other exercise at home, etc., etc., all to no avail. Two initial days of Myofascial therapy revealed the incredible potential healing power of Myofascial Release. It was the first time that I experienced relief that didn’t disappear after just a very few hours. My neck moved at least 50% better, and the sore muscles were more comfortable than they had been in the last 25 years. Two weeks later it was still improving and I felt comfortable signing up for the Comprehensive Intensive Program.
Each treatment sessions stated with a fresh evaluation of the existing problems, and then treatment is focused on releasing the fascia in the troubled areas. The therapists welcome patient’s questions, comments and complaints regarding how they feel before, during and after treatment, They are very encouraging, helpful, highly experienced and inspired in me a great sense of confidence and admiration. There is also a wonderful program for teaching home exercises specifically designed for each patient’s particular problems.
I am absolutely elated with the results I have achieved. I stand straighter, my back and neck are more supple and comfortable, and I feel stronger that I can now return to a more active lifestyle. As a physician, I sincerely believe that John Barnes has revolutionized the theory and treatment of many pain disorders. I will always be deeply grateful for my treatment and experiences at the Myofascial Release Treatment Center for this truly life changing adventure. Thank you, John.
Alan Levine, MD, New Jersey
In October 2006 I received biopsy results confirming breast cancer, specifically “infiltrative ductal carcinoma”. I wasn’t completely shocked by the news as I had received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2003 in my other breast. My treatment at that time consisted of a lumpectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and six weeks of radiation. When my surgeon called with the biopsy results in 2006 and wanted to schedule me the following week for a mastectomy, I was stunned and overwhelmed with fear. The several weeks of appointments, scans, and biopsies, both needle and surgical, had been physically and emotionally exhausting, but I assumed all along that I would be given treatment options. I had heard how emotionally devastating mastectomy surgery could be and I was also concerned about potentially having to deal with lymphedema and/or loss of upper body strength, but my surgeon insisted that because I had two cancerous tumors, I had no choice.
Fortunately, as a massage therapist I had attended several of John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release® seminars to learn and experience this healing therapy. If I had to go through surgery, I knew I would cope with it better and recover faster if I received MFR therapy beforehand, so I postponed the surgery and scheduled an intensive at John’s Eastern Myofascial Release Treatment Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania. After just one day of treatment, the larger of the two lumps felt smaller and by the end of the week it was difficult to locate. I was very excited and encouraged by this result. After feeling such positive change in just one week, I certainly wanted to give MFR therapy more time for further improvement and I chose to cancel the surgery.
However, my surgeon did not share my excitement and insisted his ultrasound results indicated the tumor was the same size or larger. He also declined my request to order another MRI for comparison purposes and I decided it best to find another doctor.
I have had no further surgery since the biopsies in 2006. I continue to return to John’s clinics for MFR therapy and I use MFR techniques to self-treat regularly. My mammogram and ultrasound results from June 2008 indicate “benign findings bilaterally”. My blood work tested in October 2008 is all within normal range and my oncologist told me, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”
It’s been three years since my diagnosis and I’ve only had JFBMFR as treatment since my biopsies. My recent scan results not only “indicate no suspicion of breast cancer”, but also that the two areas that were once of concern are “stable or regressed”. One “lesion does appear conspicuously smaller” when compared to the ultrasound of a year ago.
I know this is a lot to wrap your head around even for JFBMFR therapists who see healing “miracles” in your treatment rooms every day. I went through it, felt the healing from within, and felt the lumps change and soften, and still, when confronted with the monolithic health-care system, would question the healing that I knew was taking place in my own body. My experience has been that the health-care industry generates tremendous fear, especially regarding cancer and I wondered how they could possibly help me when they are so full of fear themselves. Lucky for me, I was able to get to intensives. I’ve also found some ‘diamonds in the rough’ along the way like my oncologist and some of the physicians I currently see. I didn’t have the courage or vision when this part of my journey began to hope or believe that I could heal from cancer, but one step at a time with JFBMFR I’ve witnessed exactly that.
When I read John’s books and articles now, I get more of it. I used to kind of gloss over the “cellular level” stuff; “It (fascia) can have a profound influence on cellular health and the immune system.” from Myofascial Release the Search for Excellence.
We can heal on a cellular level with this work. I’ve taken the long way around getting this message.
When people ask the “Aunt Sally” questions, I believe they/we are looking for hope when, in my experience, the “traditional” health-care system tends to reduce hope and increase fear. So for those who may ask, “Has JFBMFR ever helped anyone with breast cancer?”…the answer is YES! Thank you John.
“You Were Once Born Wild Do Not Ever Let Them Tame You”…A Renegade Patient
“Well Healed” is a term that came to me after completing a session of Mr. John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® to health care at Therapy on the Rocks in the red rock high desert country of Northern Arizona.
Upon standing upright after a “therapy session” where my body hung upside down, half of my body on and half of my body off the treatment table, I managed to stand erect and walk for the first time in many years. Within a short period of time, I walked “heel to toe” and could feel my heels sensing the floor beneath me, which had been completely foreign to me for such a long time. I was learning and being facilitated to feel my own healing. You have to “Feel to Heal”. Hence came the term…getting “Well Healed.”
Two months of being treated by the “hands” of this “Renegade” physical therapist and his team of therapists did more for me than some of the finest and most prestigious medical physicians in North America (to view letters please visit getwellhealed.com.) This is manual medicine at its best. This is not “alternative”. It is Authentic. It is real. It genuinely delivers long-term health care benefits to anyone…efficiently, effectively, safely, and adequately. I am walking and talking proof of the benefits it may offer to anyone to improve, and possibly extend, anyone’s overall health. It truly is the “missing link” in health care.
Mr. John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® to healthcare may be the single most important advancement in all of health care in over 50 years. I intend to share my personal experiences in both conventional medicine and alternative medicine that led me on a path to authentic healing. No pills or scalpels needed.
I came to Mr. John F. Barnes and, his team of world class therapists in both Sedona, Arizona and, Paoli, Pennsylvania for relief of my extreme and painfully crippling condition resulting from a long “undiagnosed” often “misdiagnosed” neuromuscular-muscle skeletal disorder. Had I not discovered Mr. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® to healthcare, I may very well be confined to a wheel chair or…even worse…dead.
I once referred to Mr. Barnes as “Merlin the Magician”, another time as “Moses”, and another as “Michelangelo”. In reality, he is “John”. Many occasions, being treated by Mr. Barnes, or one or more of his well trained team of therapists was nothing short of incredible as my health would dramatically “shift” under his large, powerful, yet angelic- like hands of a true master, although John would not consider himself that way at all. There was no medicine, magic, or miracles. The sky did not explode with clasps of thunder and bolts of lightning, the earth did not tremor or shake…the only voices heard were my own. This was very real and authentic. I could feel this was different than anything else I had ever encountered in over 20 years time of receiving many modes of manual therapies.
For over a decade I had experienced sporadic episodes of bone deep, excruciating, crippling, and agonizing pain. It could last minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and eventually years. Many times I felt as if “lightning bolts” of pain were “shooting” through my testicles, spine, and all of my extremities as my motor function and coordination deteriorated and declined. My skull, neck, and ribs felt like they were being crushed, and at times breathing and thinking were a struggle. My skull and brain felt “compressed” and “tight”. Deep squeezing, changing pain throughout my whole body would come and go. I battled fatigue, disorientation, and dizziness, along with sensations of numbness and tingling that ran through my body. It was if my whole body was “short circuiting”. I had multiple incidents of “stumbling”, “shuffling”, “staggering”, “falling down”, and “stubbing my toes”, causing them to crack and bleed. Often, my left foot would “split” open as if my foot had “burst”, and, “slip-fall” accidents were not uncommon, they were the norm. Yet a clear definitive “cause” could not be determined to explain my bizarre symptoms. Over many years, I slowly was becoming “crippled”. Hunched over, my spine was compressed and rotated like a “corkscrew.”
Finally, I collapsed in 2002. This led to the discovery of an undiagnosed and often misdiagnosed “neuromuscular- musculoskeletal disorder” which eluded some of the finest physicians and medical clinics for over a decade. The reason or cause was most probably due to a “near drowning-near death” parasailing accident, multiple motor vehicle accidents, head injuries, and trauma that were not recognized. I had never been evaluated, diagnosed, or treated properly. No physician ever took a complete medical history. The reason is that no one had a thorough understanding of the Myofascial system of the human body, especially the way this “Renegade” therapist knows all too well, and even has expanded upon previously known knowledge.
Few, if any, physicians ever “laid a hand” on me during many evaluations. If they did touch me it was most likely with an instrument, device, machine, or a syringe. I was able to pass most medical evaluations and examinations. Until I was introduced to, evaluated, and treated thoroughly with Mr. John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® to healthcare did I finally receive a legitimate explanation and effective therapy that treated my “whole mind-body”. Mind-Body medicine is offered by many; however, few if any come close to what this “Renegade” therapist and his staff of many very talented therapists perform, which is nothing short of extraordinary manual medicine. For each one of them, including the “Big Kahuna” himself assisted me in recovering myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach® is Authentic Healing that works. This is not complimentary or alternative, of which there are many options that do work, but do not last. From my experience, I have yet to learn of anything in the conventional health care model/system that “teaches” one how to actually heal. As far as I know, it does not exist in the conventional health care system. Most alternative methods require multiple disciplines which may require considerably more time and money long term…and without lasting results and benefits.
In a sense, it still is a gallery. Just like artists, the people there use their hands to create both relaxing and energizing offerings. Indeed, these professionals are skilled in techniques and certainly, they have a very special feeling for form. Also, visitors feel substantially enriched.
Years back, the small-looking building on Oak Creek at the north end of uptown, where Hwy 89A enters Oak Creek Canyon, was a real art gallery. The building didn’t attract much attention, and most people had no idea what the inside looked like, or that it had three stories that literally hung over Oak Creek. However, one astute out-of-towner knew- and when he heard that the building was for sale, he wasted little time making an offer, and then completing a purchase.
John F. Barnes, P.T., an internationally recognized teacher who has trained more than 50,000 health professionals, was in Sedona to conduct a seminar on his Myofascial Release Approach, when the old gallery was listed for sale. Immediately, Barnes turned to his assistant, and told her to “get all the information now!”
Of course, Barnes bought the building and after considerable refurbishing, opened Therapy on the Rocks, a complement to his long-established Myofascial Release Treatment Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania. That was in 1993, and today this exceptional facility attracts visitors, some for serious treatment and some simply for pleasure, from all over the world. All these people enjoy the excitement and amazement of the Center’s site, where the building appears to be balanced on massive red rocks. They are mesmerized by the beauty of Oak Creek’s refreshing, riparian area – and they are surprised by the outdoor spa on one of the building’s five creek-side decks, as well as the outdoor treatment area, which is spectacularly situated on a red-rock patio adjacent to a relaxing, 50-foot waterfall. Hey, this setting is so comforting, aches and pains almost disappear before you get your “Hanes” off you, and therapists get their hands on you!
Obviously, Therapy on the Rocks’ attractive “wrapping” is appreciated. Just like at Christmastime, however, it is what’s inside the “package” that really is important. In that regard, score another plus for the Therapy on the Rocks’ credibility. The high quality of Myofascial Release Treatment Centers is exhibited in many ways. Recently, during a very informative conversation with the Director of Therapy on the Rocks it was expressed that essentially the Center attracts two groups of patients, people who enjoy the enhanced well-being that naturally complements physical conditioning, and who are both refreshed and relaxed by therapy, either indoors or outdoors, as well as the Center’s on-the-deck spa, and 2) patients who seek treatment for pain, headaches and fibromyalgia, and also for restricted mobility. From the facilities activities and services, I clearly understood that Therapy on the Rocks is not just a health club, it is a headquarters for professional treatment within the domain of exceptionally qualified physical therapists. Nonetheless, it is important for residents and visitors to know that everyone is welcome, whether it is for occasional therapy or an extensive therapeutic program.
“There is no denying that our main focus is on the utilization of Myofascial Release to restore patients’ pain-free, active lifestyles,” the director reported “This emphasis is the natural outgrowth of our specialized training; we are therapists who have been taught by John F. Barnes, PT to administer his particular form of physical relief as it is associated with the fascial system. And proudly, I can report that we have had great success with professionals such as attorneys, architects and accountants, law enforcement officers, especially after accidents, along with athletes, and housewives.”
Because of what was shared with me and what I previously had read about Barnes’ work, I could picture the giant “spider web” or long, narrow “sweater” that helped hold my body together. In fact, I almost could feel the entangled connective tissue that composed my fascial system when I bent over, raised my arms and stretched my legs. Though I have not suffered a specific trauma as it relates to bodily injury, I suppose I’ve experienced stress – and certainly, I’m getting old enough to know about reduced mobility. Especially with regard to golf, where rotating the shoulders a lot while turning the hips a little, and swinging around the body after extending through the ball, is so important, diminished flexibility has hurt my game.
As I shared my “problem,” I thought of an old song. I started humming, “Please release me…” – and I actually muttered the first three words. “What are you doing?” the therapist asked. Then, recognizing the song and words, the therapist said “Okay, I get it, you want a treatment. That’s a good idea, let’s make an appointment.”
The Director was confident that I would be “released,” but also explained that I shouldn’t expect that one treatment would be sufficient. Hey, I love a good massage, so I was pleased that it was suggested that I experience a little series of “releases.” More seriously, however, I was extremely curious to experience the difference between massage and Myofascial Release, so I left Therapy on the Rocks singing my newest favorite song.
Having received treatment at Therapy on the Rocks, what is my response? How do I explain the difference between Myofascial Release and massage? Well, forget about lubricating oils, gels and lotions. This is not skin care; it’s a treatment of the connective tissue that links the muscles and inner organs of the body. It isn’t rub, rub, rub over almost the entire body, either; it’s about sustained pressure being applied to specific areas. The therapist works at a different speed, too, or at least it seems that way because what I call “shifting gears” is much more deliberate. That is, the application of pressure, and then backing off, seems like its being done in slow motion and consequently, I noticed that soothing sensations lasted longer. I also had the perception that at times, when the therapist was applying considerable pressure, the therapists hands “melted” through my skin and relaxed other areas of my body, which eased tension at spots that weren’t being directly touched.
In his books, Barnes states that “the viscoelastic quality of the fascial system causes it to resist a suddenly applied force.” In contrast, his unique approach to Myofascial Release employs the application of “sustained pressure into fascial restrictions.” The effect of the extended time element technically is related to a phenomenon described thusly: “Pressure applied slowly allows a viscoelastic medium – the fascia to elongate.”
Does it work? Yes, as far as I am concerned, it does. I felt greater flexibility, and I am confident that it wasn’t my imagination, though mentally I was influenced because I liked the people at Therapy on the Rocks; I thought the facility was awesome; and I was impressed by the Director, who was well-informed and very professional. My treatment definitely was a pleasurable experience.
Will a couple of subsequent treatments substantially enhance my appraisal? I expect so, but I’ll have to let you know later. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep humming and muttering, “Please release me…”
Is Your “Sweater” Too Tight? Are You Caught In A “Web”?
By Hoyt Johnson for Sedona Magazine