Myofascial Stretching is a unique self-treatment technique that follows the principles of Myofascial Release (MFR) as developed and taught by John F. Barnes, PT. Myofascial stretching results in permanent lengthening of the body's connective tissue and can dramatically improve health and quality of life. The techniques employ sustained pressure using a small inflatable ball and active elongation into restrictions in the fascia.

If you have used a foam roller for myself myofascial release and to massage, stretch and release your muscles, you will find that this is a natural progress and a very complimentary form of self-treatment. On the other hand, if using a Foam Roller is much too painful, hard or intense, using a small inflatable ball, commonly referred to as “the yellow ball” should be much more to your liking. Using an inflatable ball can get into some of the more specific areas and will allow you to work on some of the areas of your body for which the foam roller is too hard or provides too much pressure. An inflatable ball's pressure and size can be adjusted with a small air pump and ball needle.

Myofascial Release is not only an awesome and highly effective treatment technique to receive during a therapy session, it can be used at home and this is what makes it stand out from the crowd. Self Myofascial Release using a small inflatable ball feels good, can reduce your pain and symptoms as well as prevent them in the future.

I teach all of my patients how to use a ball, but you do not need an appointment with me or another therapist to learn how to do this at home, and this is where the meeting yourself with Myofascial Stretching at home plays a significant role. You can buy a small approximately approximately 4 inch inflatable ball at any department store and use it to release your muscles, fascia, knots, and restrictions. Place the ball on the floor and lay on it, lean against it on a wall, or sit on the ball and find the place that “hurts good” and stay there for 3-5 minutes until you feel multiple releases in your body. Treating yourself at home also includes learning how to stretch the fascia, by holding a gentle stretch for a minimum of 90-120 seconds, which is different than a muscular stretch.

If you want to expand your understanding of Myofascial Release, have questions about self treatment, your condition or feel that you are unable to completely release your body, an appointment with a trained therapist should be your next destination. You can find a therapist trained by John Barnes at the Myofascial Release therapist directory .

As always, please use common sense, do not work, exercise or treat yourself through sharp and shooting pain and if you feel like your problem or pain needs further evaluation by your physician or physical therapist, please contact your physician or schedule an appointment with a physical therapist of your choice.

Myofascial stretching is beneficial to both the person who has chronic pain, muscular tightness and / or postural dysfunction and for clinicians to provide to their patients for home exercise programs. It will benefit anyone with pain or tightness. This type of home based self-treatment can also eliminate many of those aches and pains that you were told are part of the “normal” aging process and you just need to live with. Just maybe, you do not!

I recommend working through the body, head to toe, and trying something new each day. Then you can go back and repeat the techniques / stretches that made the biggest difference or change in your body and the way you feel. Another option is to start with techniques for areas of your body where you currently feel tight, tender, or stuck. However, you should be sure to work all areas of your body as the fascia permeates your entire structure, and a release in your feet can affect your neck.