September MFR Self Care Tip – The Gluteal Region

Welcome to I AM MFR Self Care Tips

September represents the end of summer, back to school, shorter days and thankfully cooler temps.  For many of us this also means faster paced days, hectic schedules and, undeniably, more stress! What usually takes a back seat to all the “stuff” going on in lives is our own self care. So I offer this bit of hope – we can take care of ourselves without adding too much more to our plate.  Maybe start with 5 or 10 minutes a day for self.  That might be in the morning before it all starts, a break sometime throughout the day, or maybe at the end of the day when we need to wind down before a, hopefully, restful night’s sleep.

So what are we doing and where are we going?  One thing is for sure, many, if not most of us are sitting at a computer, in a car, in school, at the library–wherever there is a place to sit, for at least 2-3 hours a day, which can aggravate the entire area of the gluteal region (buttox).  Any number of activities, postural imbalances, or injury can cause inflammation in this area which often irritates the sciatic nerve that threads through or around the muscles creating pain or burning sensations in the buttock, hip, low back, sacroiliac joint and/or down the back and sides of the leg.

If this sounds familiar, whether you are currently plagued by this, have been in the past, it is always important to give a little love to our back seat, and some of the largest muscles in the body.

Image result for muscles of the buttocks


For those of you that have an MFR ball, dig it out of your kids closet, the dogs bed, or out from under the deep recesses of the couch.  We are going to be using this wonderfully simple tool. For those of you that don’t have one – it’s time to make an appointment for the Myofascial Release Therapy Initial Treatment, and get your complimentary MFR ball, (or just use a tennis ball for now- nothing harder!).

Lets get started.  Make sure your ball has enough air in it that it will provide adequate compression, this will be different for everyone, but it should be ball shaped as opposed to pancake shaped. Once you have your ball sit on the floor or hard surfaced chair.  If you already know this is going to be painful, find a surface that has some give like the couch, a chair with a cushion or the bed. You may even need to use pillows to prop yourself up so as not to apply too much pressure.

Begin by placing the ball under the buttocks and shifting your weight around the ball, moving it from the sacrum to the hip joint and down to the sit bones. Pay attention to areas that are tight, tender, hot or hard.  Don’t worry what muscle you are on, connective tissue is is one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption, by affecting the part you are affecting the whole.

You may need to adjust the air in the ball, either inflating or deflating to find your comfort zone. Once you find a tender point stop rolling the ball and allow the body to slowly to sink into it.  Begin to slow the breath and pay attention to other parts of the body. Notice any place you are holding tension, take a breath and soften. Work through the entire body like this breathing and softening. Now bring your attention back to the ball, allowing gravity to release the fascial restriction. Let your body get heavier, without creating tension.  By allowing this to happen gradually, instead of forcing the body, physiological changes occur within the collagen, allowing the fascia to move to a more hydrated, supple state. Opting for 5-10 minutes, but meeting your body where ever it is, which might be 10 minutes or one minute.  If you find it is just too tender, work on points around the really tender spot.  Many times when releasing one area, another lets go too.  Once you have finished with one side, don’t forget you have another one, and if you just don’t have time, there is always tomorrow.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to drop me a line or you can check out my Myofascial Release page, FAQ page and of course John F Barnes Myofascial Release Therapy website.  See you next month to learn about our breath and letting go with MFR Self Care Tips.

Peace, Love & Healing



Cupping Therapy, Is it for everyone?

I recently finished up my cupping certification in June with the International Cupping Therapy Association.  I had been interested in this type of therapy for a couple of years after I had some limited work done by another practitioner.  She was impressed by the effectiveness of the work in most people and I was impressed at the immediate relief I got from the nagging pain in my hip and quad that is always there after I run. Needless to say I was impressed enough to seek training, but more importantly to ask these questions:  Who can benefit from cupping? Is it/can it be for everyone?

Finish reading and/or go on to the Awesome September Special

The answer to these two questions is: Yes and No.

Cupping therapy is a traditional form of bodywork that has been utilized around the world for thousands of years.  It has gained notoriety in the U.S. in recent years from high profile athletes and celebrities displaying the cup marks and lauding the benefits of the work. Athletes and celebrities aside, (because, let’s face it, most of us don’t have the time or resources to do many of the things that they do) can cupping therapy be beneficial to us in our quest towards comfort, pain relief, and health?

It’s a traditional therapy that has been around for thousands of years and still used all over the world. So what’s the deal with the U.S.? Why are we so slow on the uptake???  Well, there’s that word “traditional.”  Equated to ineffectual, antiquated, holistic, alternative (the last two much more positive, depending how you view them).  Many of these feelings/beliefs come from the the Western Medicine vs. Eastern Medicine debate.  Whereas the scientific community does not/ is not able to quantify some of the Eastern Medicine practices or show proof that they work and thus dismissed.  However, we are beginning to see a turn in this thought pattern as more research is emerging about the human body, the mind and the effect on both when we treat the whole person- body, mind and spirit (aka Eastern Medicine).  Don’t get me wrong, western medicine has increased our life span, eradicated disease, and eased our discomforts, but there is a down side. Western Medicine has a fix-it mentality, as opposed to a preventive mind set.  This has led to rising medical and insurance cost, drug addictions, and far too many people who have been left without any help. So, as I start to slide into the rabbit hole of health care I will pull myself back out and continue my thoughts on cupping therapy.

Cupping Therapy creates negative pressure with, yes you got it, cups: silicone, plastic, glass, magnetic and more.  Negative pressure, simply put, is suction.. Negative pressure, rather than compression, lifts the skin and connective tissue (fascia) off and away from the bone,  separating the layers to facilitate soft tissue release, break up restrictions, and increase blood and lymph flow thus restoring the system and creating healthy fascia.  Healthy fascia, by the way, is soft, pliable and fluid-like.  Many of us lacking in that department.

There are different types of cups, for different types of therapy, they can be stationary or moved based on what’s going on in the body and what we want to achieve.  Stationary cups are just that, put on the body for a certain amount of time (usually 5-15 minutes) and then removed, this is generally where the cupping marks come from, which are broken capillaries. Moving the cups creates a pulling action, stretching and elongating the tissue which engages the parasympathetic nervous system allowing the body to enter deep relaxation.  Most people report a pleasant pulling sensation and many fall asleep during this treatment.

While there is so much anecdotal evidence for cupping the research can’t pinpoint any single physiological effect that is taking place in the body, it seems to work at many different levels, which is hard to assess.  What is evident is how people feel after treatment.  It seems to be beneficial for many conditions including musculoskeletal injuries, trigger points, scar tissue, abdominal issues, neurological dysfunction, sinus issues, headaches, muscle aches, delayed onset muscle soreness, high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, Fibromyalgia, neuralgia, and myofascial dysfunction.  While cupping alone can be beneficial, the therapeutic benefits when used in conjunction with massage and Myofascial Release Therapy increase the positive outcome of the therapy.

There are contraindications to cupping therapy, and there are those that should not have it done, but many people believe it is just for the very fit or athletic, which is far from the truth.  While cupping therapy is not a “one size fits all” modality, most can benefit from some type of cupping.  A qualified practitioner is trained to adapt the pressure to each individual. It can be on the obvious areas, like the back and legs, but also the hands and feet, the face, the abdomen, on small areas of scar tissue.  It does not have to be aggressive to be effective, and, like any therapy, it is always very important to let your therapist know what medications you are taking, and any conditions that you have.  If you are not sure if it is right for you, talk to your therapist or your doctor.

So, if I’ve piqued your interest in cupping (or if you have already enjoyed the benefits of cupping and want more) and you are ready to give it try, now is the time.  I really want to share this amazing addition with you and/or someone you know who will benefit from it.  So give it a try with this Awesome September Special.  (90 minute massage with cupping for the 60 minute price). And use the special as many times as you want. But only during September.

Until next month,

Peace, Love & Healing