Fascia is a specialized system of the body. It is a three-dimensional, densely woven web, similar in appearance to a spider’s web or sweater, that surrounds every other system in our body. It is one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. It provides the environment of our nearly 37 trillion cells and is responsible for providing structural integrity, support, protection and shock absorption throughout our bodies. It’s also the largest sensory and communication system, functioning like fiber optics carrying enormous amounts of information and energy throughout our mind-body.
Healthy fascia is a fluid system, sliding and gliding as we move without restriction. But through life experiences, trauma, injuries, scarring, inflammation, stress, habitual poor posture and repetitive motions, the fascia begins to bind down and solidify, losing its pliability, into what we call restrictions. It becomes a source of tension and puts enormous pressure on our blood vessels, nerves, bones, muscles and organs which can lead to muscle spasms, pain, tightness, fatigue, postural imbalance, loss of movement and other bizarre symptoms. Because the fascia is continuous throughout our bodies, restrictions in one area can pull on another having a significant impact on every system in our body. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
We begin by reviewing your medical history, current symptoms, concerns and goals for treatment. An MFR session will start with a full body assessment including a visual analysis of your posture and alignment lying down and standing. The therapist will then look for “snags” or tensions via fascial restrictions, checking areas of restricted motion or circulation. The therapist will also converse with you briefly at the beginning of each session about your issues, challenges, and symptoms since your last visit. Treatment is hands-on, skin to skin, with light but firm touch. There is no oil or lotion used with MFR because the therapists uses the skin as a lever/handle into the fascial system that reaches deep within the body where significant problems reside. When the therapist has determined where the fascial restrictions lie, through palpating the tissue, they will apply slow, pressure into the direction of the restriction. Each session will be take place in a comfortable, private room and will likely start with you lying down.
The therapist may provide a light, but firm touch, compression or traction (pull) into your tissue for a prolonged period (5+ minutes per technique). This prolonged stimulus allows for release/response throughout the entire 3-dimensional fascial web from head to toe. The therapist will wait with pressure, and will follow the motion of the tissue, barrier upon barrier until freedom is felt. The time factor is essential for lasting results with the feeling described like a rope unraveling, releasing one strand at a time, taffy stretching or butter melting. It may be subtle or quite noticeable. Sometimes initially, there can be discomfort that then subsides as the tissue releases. Somewhere around the five-minute period, there are several phenomena that occur that do not occur with other forms of therapy, massage or bodywork that lead us to what we consider authentic healing.
You may also notice other sensations such as cold/heat, tingling/buzzing, ripping/burning, or a sense of water/air moving through the area, pulsation or vibration. Emotional expression is normal and highly therapeutic during an MFR session. Some patients experience spontaneous/involuntary motion of their body or body part as their tissue system eases and releases stored trauma or experiences. This is called unwinding and is also extremely therapeutic. Also know that it is common to feel a body reaction when coming out of a stretch or release. Some report it as a sense of tightening or some discomfort. This is the natural rebounding of the tissue and is not a cause of concern. Simply remember to ease out of a stretch/release slowly and give your body a few moments to settle and orient to its new position or space. Sessions end with a brief discussion, homework review and Q&A.
The therapist takes a holistic, or “whole body”approach in every session. For example, even if your primary issue is neck stiffness, your therapist may release restrictions in your ribcage, pelvis, or arms because every part of your body affects every other part of your body via the fascial web. To learn more about the John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach, visit www.myofascialrelease.com.
The pelvic floor is a “bowl/basin” of skeletal muscles (we control them) that provide support to pelvic organs such as bladder, uterus, rectum and intestines. The muscles run like a hammock from the front of the pelvis to the tailbone at the back, and side-to-side from one sit bone to the other. Our pelvic floor muscles are like that of a trampoline, as they can move up and down. It also provides bowel/bladder control, allows passage of urine/feces when relaxed, sexual function/pleasure with intimacy, plays a role in breathing, postural support as it is the bottom of our inner core, support during pregnancy and assists with childbirth.
Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is a term used to describe bladder/bowel problems, pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapses, and/or sexual problems related to restrictions or malfunctioning of the muscles and nerves of the pelvic floor. The “bowl/basin” of muscles may become weak, leading to bladder/bowel dysfunction, leakage of urine/stool and/or organ prolapse. The muscles may be overactive leading to dysfunction including pelvic pain. When medical providers and/or specialists cannot find anything on the “inside”, they may consider the “outside” or the muscles of the pelvic floor which act as the gatekeeper to many internal organs and urinary/bowel elimination. In recent years, it has been the field of Physical and Occupational Therapy that has discovered that tight/overactive, weak, uncoordinated muscles of the pelvic floor, lower abdominals, lumbar spine and even the hips are the primary cause of a wide range of pelvic floor symptoms.
Women of all ages experience symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Urinary issues include leaking, urgency, frequency, hesitancy/retention; bowel issues include constipation, seepage and rectal pain; sexual issues include painful intercourse, vestibular pain (pain outside the vagina) and vaginal closure.
Many individuals describe their symptoms/problems as “normal”, as they have been happening for so long. However, this shouldn’t be the case!
Signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include: Pain during intercourse, pelvic/rectal/genital pain, pelvic organ prolapse (feeling of a bulge in the vagina), leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze, feelings of urgency or not making it to the bathroom in time, frequency urination, difficulty emptying your bladder/bowels, feeling of needing to have several bowel movements in a short period of time, constipation/bowel strains, incontinence of gas, unexplained low back pain.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be an uncomfortable subject for people to discuss with their medical provider, family or friends. The best outcomes are achieved when you are fully informed and invested partners in the rehabilitation process. The therapist will closely listen to your concerns and then work together with you to plan treatment strategies which are individualized for you after a thorough evaluation. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging despite what the public is all too often led to believe. Incontinence can be treated successfully with commitment! While incontinence is often the primary reason for treatment, there are many other factors listed that warrant evaluation and treatment. In fact, many conditions affect men and women alike, young and old. More than 25 million Americans have urinary incontinence and the experience can leave them feeling ashamed, socially isolated and depressed. Patients need to know that there are other options other than pads or diapers, medications or surgery. By teaching how to change behaviors surrounding toileting concerns, strengthening, changing muscle function through biofeedback, altering bladder signals with muscle stimulation, and empowering patients with knowledge to alter negative effects of the problem, people gain control and successfully resolve their problem.
On the first visit you will receive a thorough explanation of the pelvic floor anatomy, bladder/bowel function and the role it plays in incontinence or pain. You will also receive education on how to perform exercises at home to reduce or even stop leakage, reduce risk for prolapse, and manage pain symptoms if present. You will learn strategies on how to have better bladder and bowel control that you will use for the rest of your life!
Following your evaluation we will discuss your plan and determine if you want to continue with 1 hour, 90 minute or 2 hour sessions.
You must consider what you are seeking treatment for and how long you have had those symptoms. This can vary greatly depending on the severity and duration of your symptoms, medical complexity, and your willingness to follow through with a home exercise program, treatment sessions and therapist recommendations. Many notice a significant change in symptoms after 4-8 sessions, although some experience improvement after just 1 session. Symptoms can occasionally get worse before they get better, which we call a healing crisis. Once we’ve worked together for a bit, we will be able to discuss more clearly what your treatment plan should be, based on your response to treatment and your goals.
It’s best to wear or bring shorts and for women shorts and a tank or bra. A full body assessment will be completed and MFR is always done with hands directly on the skin. Please do NOT wear lotion or oils.
I accept cash, checks, all credit cards as well as HSA or FSA cards at the time of service. I provide an emailed receipt after each session.
I do not directly contract with insurance companies. You can self submit your treatment sessions to your insurance if you choose. If you get a prescription for Occupational Therapy from your doctor (if required by your insurance), I will provide you with an emailed “superbill” at the end of the month that has all appropriate codes necessary to submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. I recommend that you contact your insurance company and inquire about your Occupational Therapy coverage prior. This works best when you have out of network benefits. Unfortunately, this won’t apply to Medicare patients. Medicare does not accept any outside billing and secondary insurance will not cover what Medicare doesn’t cover.
We take cancellations very seriously at Integrative Therapies & Wellness. Your time slot is reserved only for you. If you then fail to keep that appointment you hinder your healing, the therapist who has saved that time for your appointment, and the patient that may have benefited from the therapy session that you were scheduled. For this reason I require a 24 hour notice for all cancellations. If less than 24 hours notice is given you will be charged 50% of your session fee. If you fail to show for your appointment without notice, you will be charged 100% of your session fee.