John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Approach®

May 1, 2022
A mountain lion perched on the limb of a tree, watching those go by.

As I've spent the last few weeks considering what I could possibly share with the audience regarding Myofascial Release, or the clinical significance of proactively managing your body's own response to stress, and pain management for that matter, I'm also deciding in what ways I could possibly open up on the significance of John's place in my life, how it's led me to this moment in time, and how I'm able to honor that wisdom and strength that John has bestowed upon so many of us.

I should probably begin this discussion with sharing the fact that I am a student of the John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Approach®.  This means, among other things, that I am a paying member of the audience and while the most transformative, and ultimately, most comprehensive healing experiences of my life have taken place while learning under this informal tutelage, I have been given no special status, ranking, or treatment while attending his seminars or healing center(s).  This being said, and without misrepresenting our relationship, John, and his cougar, are parts of me in ways that none other could possibly provide.

I reluctantly say that John's work is shamanism with a medical license mostly due to the fact that John does not teach shamanism, nor will working with Myofascial Release necessarily teach you how to communicate with these totemic allies.  Those skills are best served in a traditional shamanic setting, which we'll get to at a later conversation.  John teaches Myofascial Release, a technique that he is most often credited with pioneering and was largely influenced, as best that I can tell, from the Structural Integration work of Ida Rolf; the myofascial trigger point therapy of Janet G. Travell and David G. Simons; and what's probably Upledger Craniosacral Therapy, that when combined with his many years of experience as a physical therapist, has helped to form the basis for this powerful and comprehensive healing system.

I was first introduced to this cougar energy by way of the wolf totem, and in the years before receiving my education in massage therapy.  This introduction was mostly formed during the years that I had spent working in a shamanic manner, and by this I mean the active process of dreaming, and the process of providing ceremonial work, that I had come to the conclusion in my life that if I were not to change a course of action, that I would be forever stuck in modern suburbia.  I had been working in automotive sales in the time after I left my undergraduate studies at Kent State, and while learning how to negotiate a win for the house, a win for the customer, and hopefully a win for myself, had proven itself to be a positive experience in its own right, it left me with the sense that if I were to do nothing, that I would miss an otherwise unforeseen opportunity that remained outside of my awareness at the time.  The idea of settling down petrified me to the extent that it wasn't if I were to be happy or not, it was the lingering doubt of: “What if I miss?” what if I miss this opportunity that is coming upon me, and then I'm only left with a dissatisfied family life, a mortgage payment, and the daily grind of 12-hour work days.

During the late summer and early autumn timeframe of 2003, I found myself asking, “What else is there?” or “How else can I live my life?” and it was during this time of being complete in Columbus, and looking for an opportunity in ways that I had not yet experienced, that I found myself working in a ceremonious manner and asking the universe for both a vision, and for clarity's sake, on what my life's purpose was, and what choices I needed to make in order for them to happen.  In the weeks prior I had visited my spiritual family in Kent, as I found myself working with the idea of becoming a massage therapist.  While another healer in our circle had been to school for massage therapy, and encouraged its use with Reiki and hands-on sessions, it was never an obvious career choice for me.

I had met Bill, a local psychic reader that I was encouraged to connect with, alongside several members of our circle, and by default, the extended members of that circle.  He was an older, bearded, gentleman that was somewhat well-known at the local reader's circuits, and one that I was eager to check in with.  Although I had given and received my fair share of readings at the time, it had been several months since I had checked in with upstairs, and felt this would be a good time to begin making sense of my place in life and career choices.  Having been noncommittal with returning to school, not to mention massage school, and my own sense of what could become a palpable gender bias as a working therapist, I had already enrolled once only to put it off, and was now debating on if I wanted to attend school for anything.

Discussing myself, and where I was at the time, Bill's reading proved itself to be life changing:

     "If you don't go now, things can't happen."  He said calmly, as if to reassure my uncertainty.

     "And there's a man that you should not go into business with.  You will know who he is.
     The temptation will be there, but he will set you back for years."

As the reading continued I found myself surprised with not only the simplicity of how Bill communicated, but also how true of a chord he had struck inside of me.  I had known, since my youth, that there was something profound in me, something different, yet I didn't know what, nor what needed to happen in order to catalyze these future events.  From my time spent working with The Circle of Living Spirit, and my time spent providing shamanic healing sessions, I had known that I was gifted with my own intuitive and creative abilities, and I had come to know that I had been called into this line of work.  Of course, at one level of consciousness, or another, I do recognize a choice on my behalf, but that choice is in fulfillment of a bigger picture, a larger plan that I don't always recognize in the here and now.