“Love is our basic and most important nutrition and healing power. Without love life is a struggle” – John Barnes PT
There is magic and healing in touch; In love; In human connection.
I spent 4 days last week completing my level 2 training in myofascial release (MFR) with John Barnes- the pioneer in the field- exploring how using MFR can be used to treat the whole person. Witnessing how the body can heal itself when the client and practitioner are open to the process and are willing to trust one another has been an incredible experience that I am so excited to be able to share with the Pilates in the Grove family. As a practitioner who always struggled with a “traditional” approach to healing I was consistently being told that I needed to “be less intuitive and more scientific” and “don’t work so far outside of the box”.
In my humble opinion, helping people to heal isn’t just about knowing which exercise to do or knowing every attachment site of every muscle in the body- it’s about treating the whole person. As an MFR practitioner I encourage my clients to connect with the emotional facet of pain and dysfunction to help promote healing and facilitate the manual fascial releases that I’m performing. When this synergy between client and practitioner occurs and the mind and body are being treated simultaneously the possibilities for healing are truly endless. I am amazed on a daily basis how much change and healing can happen when the whole person- mind body and soul, gets incorporated into the process.
“You treat a disease: You win. you lose. You treat a person: I guarantee you win- no matter the outcome.” – Patch Adams MD
In the last week alone I have had a client trust me enough to allow my hands inside her mouth for 45 minutes to treat her headache. I had a woman in her 70’s ask for help with her pelvic floor strength – not for incontinence – but because she wanted to improve her sex life. I opened my arms to offer a hug to a tearful pre-teen scared of a scoliosis dignosis. These moments are why I get up in the morning, they are why I went to PT school and they are what makes my job the best job in the world. And now, in addition to all of the incredible evidence based and research based treatments I have learned in graduate school and in 9 years of clinical practice in almost every physical therapy setting imaginable, I am proud to add another skill set to my PT “toolbox”. And I’m excited to see how adding in this incredible approach into my practice will further enhance the healing that happens.
So- to my wonderful, inspiring clients I ask: Take a chance. Open your heart and mind to a new way of thinking about healing; consider making space for trust, vulnerability and emotional release. Once that shift happens the possibilities for healing are truly endless.
“Healing is more than feeling better; it is about getting better at feeling!” – John Barnes PT
Stephanie Sprout DPT, PMA®-CPT
For more information on myofascial release here are a few resources and articles you may find helpful:
Barnes MF, Gronlund RT, Little MF, Personius WJ. Efficacy study of the effect of a myofascial release treatment technique on obtaining pelvic symmetry. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 1997;1(5):289–296.
LeBauer A, Brtalik R, Stowe K. The effect of myofascial release (MFR) on an adult with idiopathic scoliosis. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2008;12(4):356–363. [PubMed]