Myofascial Release Therapy

Because You Are More Than Your Pain

Women's Health


Women's Health Issues Treated

Do you have any of these problems? Are they disrupting your life or have traditional treatments felt incomplete?


   Painful intercourse 
•    Pelvic pain 
•    Fibromyalgia 
•    Lymphedema 
•    Mastectomy or radiation scars 
•    Vulvodynia 
•    Sacral/coccygeal pain 
•    Painful fibrotic breasts 
•    C-section, hysterectomy,                   episiotomy scars 
•    Incontinence, urinary frequency/urgency 
•    Cosmetic surgery problems 
•    Menstrual problems 
•    Digestive or elimination problems 
•    Pregnancy pain/Concern about structural implications of birthing 
•    Unresolved back or neck pain

Exerpted from John F. Barnes P.T.

Gender differences
Women tend to have more problems in the pelvic region due to the uniqueness of the anatomy and function of their pelvis. The female pelvis is broader and therefore more easily torqued. The joint surfaces of the female are flatter, therefore more easily moved or sheared during micro or major trauma.

Myofascial release is utilized for the treatment of menstrual pain or dysfunction, back and pelvic pain, endometriosis and other inflammatory disorders. It can successfully address unpleasant or painful symptoms during pregnancy and childbirth, recurrent bladder pain and infection, painful intercourse, sexual
dysfunction, elimination problems, coccygeal pain and painful episiotomy scars. These problems can, in many cases, be substantially alleviated or eliminated non-traumatically and gently-by myofascial release.

Every month when a woman undergoes her menstrual period, relaxin is poured into her system, slackening the ligamentous structures and making her more prone to trauma. Myofascial release has helped many women with menstrual and premenstrual-syndrome symptoms. Just picture the fascia tightening like a powerful three-dimensional net around the pelvic structures. Then when the woman begins to bloat as her menstrual cycle begins, the combination of fascial tightness and increasing internal pressure begins to exert heavy pressure on the nerves, blood vessels, etc., and the cramps begin, the back tightens and all other unpleasant effects are a reaction to the abnormal internal pressure.

Fascia surrounds and infuses with every organ, duct, nerve, blood vessel, muscle and bone of the pelvic cavity. Fascia has the propensity to tighten after trauma, inflammatory processes, poor posture or childbirth. Fascia has a tensile strength of more than 2,000 pounds per square inch.

In other words, fascial restrictions have the potential of exerting enormous pressure on pain-sensitive structures, producing pain or malfunction of the
important pelvic structures. Certainly not all problems have a fascial origin, but restrictions of the fascia are the cause of many problems in a surprisingly high percentage of cases, especially when all the tests turn out negative and medication only helps temporarily or surgery does not change the situation.

For example, inflammatory processes, such as endometriosis, can cause the fascial layers to adhere to adjoining tissues, creating painful symptoms. Many times the fascial tissues will adhere around the bladder and urethral areas, creating an environment for infection, since fascial restrictions impede proper elimination of toxins and waste products from the tissues.

If the fascia tightens around the bladder, it can limit the bladder's potential to enlarge sufficiently, creating the need to urinate frequently, or painful urination. When a woman coughs, sneezes or laughs, urine will tend to seep out since there is no give to the bladder.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Web site lists the following facts regarding incontinence:

• Thirteen million Americans are incontinent, 11 million of whom are women

• One in four women age 30 to 59 have experienced an episode of 
urinary tract infection

• Fifty percent or more of elderly persons living at home or in long-term care facilities are incontinent

• $16.4 billion is spent every year on incontinence-related care; $11.2 billion for
community-based programs and at home, and $5.2 billion in long-term care facilities

• $1.1 billion is spent every year on disposable products for adults

Scars from abdominal or pelvic surgery, trauma or episiotomy scars can also create havoc in the pelvic area, causing menstrual dysfunction, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, constipation, diarrhea or hemorrhoids. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Women'sHealthInformationCenterreports 600,000 hysterectomies are performed per year in theU.S.In my opinion, oftentimes this procedure is unnecessary.



Scar Tissue                                                       

Scars affect soft tissue in all of its layers,  from superficial to deep within the body. Many women have experienced some form of physical trauma, injury, surgery, or difficult child birth. Some active scars may date back to early childhood. Many have had surgical procedures that might include but are not limited to: Beast surgery, Mastectomy, Lumpectomy, breast implants, hysterectomy, episiotomy, and cesarean section. Some have scarring and/or adhesions from inflammatory processes such as endometriosis.  In post surgical mastectomy and lumpectomy many women are left with scarring and fibrosis (scars from radiation burns) that can cause a myriad of problems. You may have pain, tenderness, pulling, numbness, nerve sensitivity and immobility. Scar tissue can restrict motion and postural positioning.                                                     

Coccygeal disorders
Another common problem we encounter is coccygeal disorders from trauma, pelvic torsion and childbirth. A malaligned coccyx can cause a multitude of problems in the pelvic area, including some of those just mentioned, as well as back and neck pain or headaches due to the influence of the dural tube.

When the coccyx moves closer to the pubic symphysis, the musculoaponeurotic fibers from the pubis to the coccyx become so slack they lose their tonus. If the origin and insertion of a muscle move closer together, a great portion of the muscle's power is lost.

Typical symptoms of a sacrococcygeal lesion in a female subject are the inability to sit for long periods of time, declining quality of sexual relationships and cystitis. Problems with the coccyx can lead to a general decrease in mobility of the entire body, and it should be checked in people who are devitalized or suffering from general depression.

The Missing Link

The non traumatic, gentle nature of myofascial release is reassuring in that the patient need not worry, since these effective procedures will not worsen the patient's symptoms or cause harm.

Myofascial release can free the structures producing pain and also relieve the emotional pain associated with past unpleasant events or traumas. The painful memories or emotions from beatings, rapes, molestation or miscarriages seem to be stored in the body's memory.

Many times the woman has dealt with these situations intellectually, but on a subconscious level, the body (the myofascial structures in particular) seems to store these past painful events. As myofascial release frees the adhered tissue, the trapped emotions and painful memories fade away, leaving the person with a sense of peace. This return to balance is like letting the steam out of a pressure cooker. The comments I hear quite frequently from my patients are, "I finally feel like myself again" and "My sense of calm has returned."

Myofascial release is a state-of-the-art therapeutic approach. Myofascial release is not meant to replace the important techniques and approaches you
currently utilize, but acts as an important expanded dimension for increasing your effectiveness and permanency of results in relieving pain and restoring function, quantity of motion and quality of life.


Overview: Urinary Incontinence in Adults: Clinical Practice Guideline Update. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Web site, Accessed Feb. 8, 2008.
Tissue memory:
Oschman, J. Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heineman; 2003. Barnes, H. Healing Ancient Wounds.' The Renegade's Wisdom. Paoli, Pa.: Rehabilitation Services, Inc., T/A; 2000.
Pelvic pain:
Wise, D. A Headache in the Pelvis: A New Understanding and Treatment for Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes. Fourth edition. Occidental, Ca.:NationalCenter for Pelvic Pain and Research; 2006. Barral, JP, Mercier, P. Visceral Manipulation.Seattle,Wash.: Eastland Press; 1988.





John F Barnes, PT, L.M. T, N C. TM.B., has instructed more than 50,000 therapists 'worldwide in his Myofascial Release Seminars. He is president if the Myofascial Release Treatment Centers in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and Sedona,
Arizona. He is the author of Myofascial Release, the Search for Excellence (Rehabilitation Services, Inc., 1990) and Healing Ancient Wounds, the Renegade's Wisdom (MFR Treatment Centers and Seminars, 2000).

For more information visit 
Read Barnes' blog, ''Myofascial Release, " at




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