Hopping Down the Symptom Trail: Myofascial Release

Judy Lynn avatar

by Judy Lynn |

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You've Got Some Nerves

It seemed to be such a harmless rabbit hole. After last week’s column on Rolfing — and a response divided between those who thought it sounded like terrible torture and those who agreed it was torture but they liked it — I decided to explore some other ideas suggested by readers.

The myofascial release approach

I began this column in the hopes of learning about myofascial release. The next thing I knew, I was reading about how brothers Pierre and Jacques Curie demonstrated the first piezoelectric effect by using crystals of tourmaline, quartz, topaz, cane sugar, and Rochelle salt. The most effective of these were quartz and Rochelle salt.

According to Nanomotion’s impressively scientific piezoelectric effect article (that I struggled to understand): “When piezoelectric material is placed under mechanical stress, a shifting of the positive and negative charge centers in the material takes place, which then results in an external electrical field. When reversed, an outer electrical field either stretches or compresses the piezoelectric material.”

Cool. Visions of X-Men flashed through my mind. Or (nerd alert) did it Surge through my mind? I stopped myself from taking a side tunnel to see if the brothers were related to Marie Curie, but did pause briefly to munch on a carrot while pondering the fact that it took the waging of World War I for science to find a practical application of piezoelectricity and create the sonar device. At this point, I backed my fluffy tail back out of the rabbit hole and refocused on the task at hand.

The myofascial release approach was created by physical therapist (PT) John F. Barnes. According to an explanation of this approach, “Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (X-rays, myelograms, CT scans, electromyography, etc.).”

The myofascial technique taught by PT Barnes (not to be confused with hoax showman Phineas Taylor “PT” Barnum, despite the circus of symptoms that MS employs) involves applying gentle and sustained pressure to the web of fascia, with the goal of pain relief and increased mobility. Thereby, the principle of piezoelectricity is applied — the idea that “a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate.” Viscoeleastic? Stretch! Also cool!

I explored the myofascial release website pretty thoroughly and never did find the bit about somehow harnessing my MS hug to shoot electricity out of my fingertips. Or eyeballs. Or … anywhere. By the way, the site uses the term “straightjacket.” In my opinion, this gives them some street cred in the MS community. They should change the name from MS hug to MS straightjacket, much more descriptive. The website has a searchable list, by state, of physical therapists trained in this technique.

Other rabbit holes …

I ventured down several other scholarly rabbit holes. Once again, there does not seem to be research looking specifically at myofascial release therapy for MS. One study did show that myofascial release techniques reduced pain and improved quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia.

The Journal of Orthopaedic & Physical Sports Therapy published a study that compared a myofascial release leg pull and a contract-relax technique in order to determine the impact on hip flexion range of motion. The study also included a control group that had to just lie there for five minutes. If this had been a study of MS patients, the entire control group would have fallen asleep. Surprise! Both treatment groups experienced a greater increase in range of motion than the napping bunnies. The contract-release treatment group showed significantly better results than the leg-pull group. So maybe they were just … pulling their leg?

As always, if you’ve been patient enough to follow along as I hopped through the information on myofascial release, just remember that we are each unique little rabbits, and what works for one will not work for all. Check with your healthcare provider when in doubt.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Drucilla Likens Pape avatar

Drucilla Likens Pape

I would encourage you to do a bit of serious reading and study if you are going to critique Myofascial Release. Are you aware that the world has come together since 2007 for the sole purpose of scientific and clinical study of this important tissue? The Fifth International Fascia Research Congress will be held in Berlin. For your convenience, I have copied a few paragraphs about this Congress. If you visit Fascia Research Congress, you will find “QUICK ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH” where you can click on any topic for direct access to each section. Thank you in advance for taking the time to review and respond, hopefully in an amended article. Dru Likens Pape “The International Fascia Research Congress (FRC) was created by a multidisciplinary committee of basic science researchers and practicing health care professionals whose respective fields share a common focus and interest in the human body’s soft connective tissue matrix. For the first time, the 2015 Congress also included veterinary aspects of fascia research. An important continuing initiative of the FRC is to foster understanding and collaboration among scientists working in fascia research and the various clinical professionals who address fasciae in their work with clients and patients. The FRC provides high quality conference settings where these usually diverse groups can learn from one another, gain insights that will inform and enrich their respective pursuits, and advance scientific inquiry and applied methods.

The International FRC has been held in Boston, Amsterdam, Vancouver and Washington, DC and has built a reputation for bringing cutting-edge fascia science to the research, medical and clinical communities.

Dedicated to the newly emerging field of “Fascia Studies”, the fourth FRC, held in 2015 near Washington, DC, continued to provide a forum for high-level fascia exploration. Almost 800 participants from around the world attended the 2015 conference, hosted by the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation.

The 2015 Congress included a special 1-day session on “Fascia, Acupuncture and Oncology” chaired by Helene Langevin, at a Harvard Medical School conference center in conjunction with the Society for Integrative Oncology and the Society for Acupuncture Research. 625 people attended.

The information developed at these conferences is made available through this ongoing website and other available media (e.g., Proceedings Books, DVD Recordings). For more information about materials from past congresses, see the chart below:”

Click topic for direct access to each section

Conference Overviews 2007 2009 2012 2015
Programs 2007 2009 2012 2015
Submitted Abstracts 2007 2009 2012 2015
Publications / Speakers 2007 2009 2012 2015

Judy Lynn avatar

Judy Lynn

Drucilla- Thank you so much for sharing that helpful information. I did not intend for my column to be construed as a thorough literature review, rather it is just a quick glimpse (in a series of three columns) into the question of how fascia and MS may play together. I have been quite excited to learn about this tissue and have plans to try various techniques and tools to release my fascia. I'm optimistic about the results. Thank you again for sharing the resources!

Susan McIntyre avatar

Susan McIntyre


This often-overlooked common airborne pathogen is known to cause and/or gave me symptoms of diseases/conditions of unknown cause, including MS and Fibromyalgia, until I was treated for it.

I’d like to share information I learned during my workplace’s outbreak of an underdiagnosed airborne infectious disease that can cause malignancies, precancerous conditions, rheumatological diseases, connective tissue diseases, heart disease, autoimmune symptoms, inflammation in any organ/tissue, seizures, migraines, mood swings, hallucinations, etc. and is often undiagnosed/misdiagnosed in immunocompetent people. 80-90+% of people in some areas have been infected, and it can lay dormant for up to 40 years in the lungs and/or adrenals.

My coworkers and I, all immunocompetent, got Disseminated Histoplasmosis in Dallas-Fort Worth from roosting bats, the most numerous non-human mammal in the U.S., that shed the fungus in their feces. The doctors said we couldn’t possibly have it, since we all had intact immune systems. The doctors were wrong. Healthy people can get it, too. And we did not develop immunity over time. We'd get better and then progressively worse, relapsing periodically and concurrently every year.

More than 100 outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. since 1938, and those are just the ones that were figured out, since people go to different doctors. One outbreak was over 100,000 victims in Indianapolis.

It’s known to cause hematological malignancies, and some doctors claim their leukemia patients go into remission when given antifungal. My friend in another state who died from lupus lived across the street from a bat colony. An acquaintance with alopecia universalis and whose mother had degenerative brain disorder has bat houses on their property.

There's too much smoke for there not to be at least a little fire.

Researchers claim the subacute type is more common than believed. It’s known to at least “mimic” autoimmune diseases and cancer and known to give false-positives in PET scans. But no one diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or cancer is screened for it. In fact, at least one NIH paper states explicitly that all patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis be tested for it, but most, if not all, are not. Other doctors are claiming sarcoidosis IS disseminated histoplasmosis.

What if this infection, that made me and my coworkers so ill, isn't rare in immunocompetent people? What if just the diagnosis is rare, since most doctors apparently ignore it? Especially since online documents erroneously state it’s not zoonotic.

Older documents state people who spend a lot of time in a building with roosting bats, in caves, working as landscapers, construction workers, pest control workers, etc. are known to get Disseminated Histoplasmosis, but the info appears to have been lost, for the most part. And now bat conservationists encourage people to leave bats in buildings/homes. What a terrible mistake they’ve made.

This pathogen parasitizes the reticuloendothelial system/invades macrophages, can infect and affect the lymphatic system and all tissues/organs, causes inflammation, granulomas, and idiopathic (unknown cause) diseases and conditions, including hematological malignancies, autoimmune symptoms, myelitis, myositis, vasculitis, panniculitis, dysplasia, hyperplasia, etc. It causes hypervascularization, calcifications, sclerosis, fibrosis, necrosis, eosinophilia, leukopenia, anemia, neutrophilia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia, hypoglycemia, cysts, abscesses, polyps, stenosis, perforations, GI problems, hepatitis, focal neurologic deficits, etc.

Many diseases it might cause are comorbid with other diseases it might cause, for example depression/anxiety/MS linked to Crohn’s.

The fungus is an Oxygenale and therefore consumes collagen. It’s known to cause connective tissue diseases (Myxomatous degeneration?), rheumatological conditions, seizures, and mental illness. Fungal hyphae carry an electrical charge and align under a current. It causes RNA/DNA damage. It’s known to cause delusions, wild mood swings (pseudobulbar affect?), and hallucinations. It’s most potent in female lactating bats, because the fungus likes sugar (lactose) and nitrogen (amino acids, protein, neurotransmitters?), releasing lactase and proteinases to get them. What about female lactating humans…postpartum psychosis (and don’t some of these poor women also have trouble swallowing)? The bats give birth late spring/summer, and I noticed suicide rates spike in late spring/early summer. It’s known to cause retinal detachment, and retinal detachments are known to peak around June-July/in hot weather. A map of mental distress and some diseases appear to almost perfectly overlay a map of Histoplasmosis. Johns Hopkins linked autism to an immune response in the womb. Alzheimer’s was linked to hypoglycemia, which can be caused by chronic CNS histoplasmosis. Cancer is known to occur more often near rivers than in mountains or deserts, just like this infection. The bats eat moths, which are attracted to blue and white city lights that simulate the moon the moths use to navigate. Bats feed up to 500 feet in the air and six miles away in any direction from their roost, but not when it’s raining or when the temperature is less than approximately 56° F. The fungus can grow in bird feces, but birds don’t carry it because their body temperature is too high, killing the fungus.

I believe the “side effects” of Haldol (leukopenia and MS symptoms) might not always be side effects but just more symptoms of Disseminated Histoplasmosis, since it causes leukopenia and MS symptoms. What about the unknown reason why beta receptor blockers cause tardive dyskinesia? The tinnitus, photophobia, psychosis “caused” by Cipro? Hypersexuality and leukemia “caused” by Abilify? Humira linked to lymphoma, leukemia and melanoma in children? Disseminated Histoplasmosis is known to cause enteropathy, so could some people thought to have nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug enteropathy have it and taking NSAIDs for the pain/inflammation it causes, and the NSAIDs aren’t the actual culprit?

From my experience, I learned that NO doctor, at least in DFW, will suspect subacute and/or progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in immunocompetent people. Some doctors, at least the ones I went to, will actually REFUSE to test for it, even when told someone and their coworkers have all the symptoms and spend a lot of time in a building with bats in the ceiling. Victims will be accused of hypochondriasis. In fact, the first doctor to diagnose me was a pulmonologist, and the only reason he examined me was to try to prove that I didn’t have it, when I really did. No doctor I went to realized bats carry the fungus. And NO doctor I went to in DFW, even infectious disease “experts,” understand the DISSEMINATED form, just the pulmonary form, and the only test that will be done by many doctors before they diagnose people as NOT having it is an X-ray, even though at least 40-70% of victims will have NO sign of it on a lung X-ray. It OFTEN gives false-negatives in lab tests (some people are correctly diagnosed only during an autopsy after obtaining negative test results) and cultures may not show growth until after 6-12 weeks of incubation (but some labs report results after 2 weeks).

One disease of unknown cause that could be caused by Disseminated Histoplasmosis: I suspect, based on my and my coworker’s symptoms (during our “rare” infectious disease outbreak) and my research, that interstitial cystitis and its comorbid conditions can be caused by disseminated histoplasmosis, which causes inflammation throughout the body, causes “autoimmune” symptoms, and is not as rare as believed. I read that “interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the submucosal and muscular layers of the bladder, and the cause is currently unknown. Some people with IC have been diagnosed with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, and Sjogren’s syndrome, which raises the possibility that interstitial cystitis may be caused by mechanisms that cause these other conditions. In addition, men with IC are frequently diagnosed as having chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, and there is an extensive overlap of symptoms and treatment between the two conditions, leading researchers to posit that the conditions may share the same etiology and pathology.” Sounds like Disseminated Histoplasmosis, doesn’t it?

My coworkers and I were always most ill around April/May/June, presumably since the Mexican Free-tail bats gave birth in Texas during May (and the fungus was most potent), and fall/Thanksgiving to December, for some unknown reason (maybe migrating bats from the north?). We had GI problems, liver problems, weird rashes (erythema nodosum, erythema multiforme, erythema annulare, etc.), plantar fasciitis, etc., and I had swollen lymph nodes, hives, lesions, abdominal aura, and started getting migraines and plantar fasciitis in the building, and I haven’t had them since I left. It gave me temporary fecal incontinence, seizures, dark blood from my intestines, tinnitus, nystagmus, blurry viion/floaters/flashes of light, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, isolated diastolic hypertension, what felt like burning skin, various aches and pains (some felt like pin pricks and pinches), tingling, tremors, "explosions" like fireworks in my head while sleeping, temporary blindness, and chronic spontaneous “orgasms”/convulsions. Suddenly I was allergic to Comice pears (latex fruit allergy or oral allergy syndrome?). I had insomnia (presumably from the fungus acidifying the blood, releasing adrenaline) and parasomnias. I suddenly had symptoms of several inflammatory/autoimmune diseases, including Fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis, ALS, MS, Sjogren’s syndrome, etc. that have disappeared since leaving the area and taking nothing but Itraconazole antifungal.

No one, including doctors (we all went to different ones), could figure out what was wrong with us, and I was being killed by my doctor, who mistakenly refused to believe I had it and gave me progressively higher and higher doses of Prednisone (at least 2 years after I already had Disseminated Histoplasmosis) after a positive ANA titer, until I miraculously remembered that a visiting man once told my elementary school class that bats CARRY histoplasmosis….so much of it that they evolved to deal with the photophobia and tinnitus it causes by hunting at night by echolocation. There’s a lot more. I wrote a book about my experience with Disseminated Histoplasmosis called “Batsh#t Crazy,” because bats shed the fungus in their feces and it causes delusions and hallucinations, I suspect by the sclerotia fungal mycelia can form emitting hallucinogens (like psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine) along with inflammation in the CNS. (Schizophrenics have 2X of a chemical associated with yeast, part of the fungal life cycle.)

Thank you for your time,

Susan McIntyre

P.S. Doesn’t this infection share all the same symptoms with Gulf War Syndrome?

Linda Sawtelle avatar

Linda Sawtelle

Hi Judy,
It is 2019 now - have you had any relief with myofascial release for your MS?

Daniel avatar


"Straightjacket" and other nonmedical terms are used to be friendly with the patient. And as an idea, the term patient is creating on the human brain a pattern of "I'm ill, I need treatment". The fascia community is avoiding these tipes of patterns to start healing from the brain. And after that with fascia.
Also, at the convention is a discussion about introducing new terms in the anatomical dictionary. One that is not helpful in the communication with clients.
Hompe my English is ok. Not a English speaker.


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