In this age of scientific reason and its emphasis on deductive explanations based on a certain interpretation of the facts, the human factor can often be lost. When I went through physical therapy training, I understood that my oath was to my patient and their well-being. So, when evaluating the value of various treatments, it was important to me to have my clients perceive a benefit, not simply a narrow change in blood chemistry, range of motion, or performance. The patient needed to feel better.
A lot of therapeutic interventions look good on paper, but the real world is always more complex and interconnected than what we strive to simulate in our hypothetical solutions. The real world of the human being requires the use of human intuition, the art of truly listening, the recognition of patterns, and the observation of cause and effect in the moment. Intuition may not explain why something works, but it can guide the therapist and client through complex processes too often oversimplified by diagnostic labels. The use of intuition is central to the art of healing and is at the heart of myofascial release, as taught by John Barnes, PT, the father of authentic myofascial release.
So while science certainly has its place and should be vigorously pursued as one method for discovering truth, it cannot begin to explain the irreducible complexity of what it means to be a human being. Unless you believe a conscious human being is the product of mechanistic interactions, the only real interpreter of humanity is another human with the skills to do so. These skills include empathy, sensitivity, experience, and the art of seeing, hearing, and feeling at the deepest levels. These are skills that dwell in the subjective realm where science can measure phenomena but has no facility for understanding and interpreting the subjective aspects of what it means to be an individual human.
It is these subjective skills that I will explore within this book. It is too easy to get locked into certain ways of thinking and interpreting data. New understandings allow us to reinterpret research and create a dynamic flow of thinking from one understanding to another. In the search for truth, there is no place for ego or pride. We can't hold on to our private interpretations too strongly because they will change. The complexity of these systems is simply too great to hold on to reductionistic "explanations" as absolutes. This reduces so-called science to bureaucratic authority.
Too often, an authority in a field can be blind to alternative routes. It is often useful to step back and build from what is actually in front of us, free of previous assumptions. Interacting with clients will often present new solutions. A therapist who has learned to include subjective information from the client will be able to gain insights beneficial for healing emotional wounds influencing subconscious holding patterns, thus allowing the complete release of the fascial tissue. And by understanding the process of applying the art of myofascial release, you as clients are better able to engage with your part of the healing journey. Understanding the varied aspects of myofascial release will allow you to gain trust in your own intuition. This will give you the insight and the freedom to share important information with your therapist during treatment.
This co-creation by therapist and client together is integral to the healing process. You are just as much an artist as your therapist. In the first three chapters, we will explore the current state of scientific research and have you consider various hypotheses to inspire wonder in the complexity of the fascial system. In the second part of this book, I describe in more detail how approaching myofascial release as an art can serve to provide individualized solutions for the wellness of the whole human being.