Myofascial Balancing (MFB)

Currently, Richard is focusing on mentoring as a way of sharing his knowledge.

With over 30 years experience in a variety of educational settings, Richard has always enjoyed having an on-going relationship with students -- more than the quick rush of a weekend class.

In working together over time, he can support each person's learning as it unfolds at their pace. He enjoys the way questions arise, insights can be fostered and the individual style of a student can emerge.

For individuals or small groups, mentoring is a great way to get right to your questions. Keep the learning efficient and focused on your key interests, then weave your learning directly into your practice. All the while, having Richard as an on-going support.

Contact Richard to talk about the possibilities.

MFB: Centered on Functional Principles

The Myofascial Balancing courses, each dealing with a different region of the body, are based on a few simple ideas, delivered with a good deal of experience and sophistication. Some of the ideas are:

• Muscular stabilization is the force that organizes our bodies in gravity. Improving stabilization is at least as important as improving relaxation or mobility.

• Our neuromotor systems automatically stabilize what we're currently doing. The best way to improve our version of stabilization is to improve our alignment.

• While most therapists learn to evaluate alignment visually, we find that much more detailed and accurate information can be gathered through palpation of standing clients. Learning to palpate in this way often radically improves students’ visual evaluation skills as well.

An Assessment-driven Method

Our alignment patterns reshape our myofascial tissues into unbalanced patterns. The work is designed to keep the loop between evaluation and treatment as short as possible, so that the therapist remains well-oriented and therapeutic goals can be attained quickly. We teach palpatory evaluation of the client’s alignment pattern in standing, and ongoing palpatory assessment of tissue mobility on the table.

A Gentle, Effective and Efficient Method

In our classes, students learn to feel the directional imbalances in the soft tissue and to use gentle techniques to balance the position and mobility of the tissues. We also use the skeleton as a 'handle' and as a guide in evaluating and changing alignment. The work can be directed at deep or superficial layers, as needed. The amount of force used can be varied to be comfortable and appropriate for both the client and therapist. It is also non-lubricated, so it can be done on skin, through a sheet, or through clothes.

A Bridge to Orthopedic Problems

In many cases, orthopedic problems (the ones with diagnostic labels) are simply exaggerated versions of the imbalances present in most people. In other cases, the problems have a different sort of cause (for example, osteoarthritis). It’s extremely valuable to be able to tell the difference! These classes include an overview of common orthopedic problems, including both assessment and treatment options.

Educating the Client

While our primary focus is assessment-driven myofascial work, we also teach simple postural and movement strategies to help clients improve alignment and usage in daily life; we believe this is a critical aspect of successful treatment.

We use stretching and other self-care strategies to reinforce this balancing effect. One of the most useful services therapists can provide is to teach clients how to improve posture and movement patterns in daily life. Students in these classes learn a clear model of posture and movement strategies designed to improve clients’ understanding of their necessary role in achieving long-term results.

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Specific Courses

Myofascial Balancing for the Pelvis, Sacrum and Low Back:

The intricate functional patterns of the pelvic girdle call for our best attention. In this class, we'll look at the relationship between femurs and pelvis and the equally important imbalances within the pelvis and sacrum. This class includes:

• detailed standing evaluation of the pelvic pattern
• joint decompression and balancing for hips, SI joints, and lumbar spine
• treatment of soft-tissue structures: iliopsoas, gluteals, lateral rotators and more

Myofascial Balancing for the Shoulder Girdle, Upper Ribs and Upper Arm:

Good poise of the shoulder girdle can't be separated from good balance of the upper ribs. We'll work on improving this relationship, which is vital for treating shoulder impingement. Impingement is intimately related to most shoulder problems, including tendinitis and thoracic outlet syndrome. This class includes:

• detailed weight-bearing palpation of shoulder girdle and upper ribcage (visual assessment of this area is often misleading)
• joint decompression/balancing for shoulder, AC joint, sternoclavicular joint and ribs
• treatment of soft-tissue structures: rotator cuff muscles, pectorals, upper arm and more

Myofascial Balancing of the Spinal Facet Joints

In this class, we focus on balancing and decompressing the spinal joints, using gentle techniques and simple evaluation protocols. We finds this tool to be extremely effective for managing the everyday "crookedness" that afflicts so many spines. You'll never look at the spine the same way again! This class includes:

• Weight-bearing palpation of spinal pattern, combined with specific vertebral assessment
• Simple decompression techniques to balance spinal segments
• Treatment of soft-tissue structures: ESG, QL, dural membrane, and key cervical muscles.

Myofascial Balancing with joint decompression

Unbalanced joints become "crooked" and compressed simultaneously. As the bones lose their ability to gracefully move around each other, joint dysfunction accelerates. We can focus on balancing and decompressing the synovial joints of the upper and lower extremities. Ignore them at your peril! Along the way, we discuss common injuries and conditions related to balance in each region, such as shoulder impingement, thoracic outlet syndrome, knee arthritis, and more. This class includes:

  • Detailed weight-bearing palpation and evaluation of segmental alignment
  • Specific joint decompression and balancing of the synovial joints of the upper/lower limbs

Myofascial Balancing with myofascial techniques

One of the central aspects of Myofascial Balancing is clarifying the relationships between segmental alignment and imbalances in tissue mobility. Using weight-bearing palpation and palpation at the table, we analyze and correct these imbalances. This class is highly directed at the "big picture" of postural pattern. These techniques use just enough force to effectively mobilize restrictions, so the work is easy to do and to receive.  The class includes:

  • Detailed weight-bearing palpation and evaluation of segmental alignment
  • Palpation at the table to identify specific alignment/mobility imbalances
  • Assessment-driven myofascial techniques to balance soft tissue tracts
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Richard can throw the confusing stuff out and make you realize it's okay not to have an answer for everything. He may be the brightest person I've ever met! He has a fantastic and unique approach to teaching. Adore him! -- Amber H

I learned to be present, focused, at ease. Richard brings a sense of curiosity, ease, joy and humor. A great way to take in complex material. Like other people of his caliber, Richard brightens and brings ease with his presence. As a teacher, he is so easy to learn from. -- Rena R

Publications

• Developmental Considerations in Structural Work with Small Children (pdf)
Article published in the International Association of Structural Integrators Yearbook of Structural Integration, 2013.

• Integrative Pain Management, Chapter 7: Structural Bodywork 
Authored chapter focusing on structural methods and Myofascial Balancing in particular. Handspring Publishing, 2016.

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Supplies

  • Bach Rescue Remedy Cream – Lauren's favorite 'lubricant' for fascial work, precisely because it doesn't lubricate as much as it increases tack: "The herbal remedy also helps client's tissue receive vigorous work without bruising and it soothes my hands too!"
  • Tennis balls, large and small: for self-care stretching the plantar fascia, iliopsoas, IT band, etc: These balls are great – inexpensive and easy to use. We get ours in bulk through Pet Edge.
  • Foot reflexology balls: These are getting harder to find. They are solid and quite dense (not to be confused with the prickly, softer balls that are so popular right now); they are great, when used judiciously, for stretching the soles of the feet while standing.
  • Foam Rollers: Make your own when summer comes around! Take a foam pool noodle (available at Fred Myers, Bartell's or other department stores), cut it to size. Insert a wooden dowel of the same length (available at your local hardware store). A tack or two of wood glue keeps the dowel in place -- and, you're good to go at a fraction of the cost!
Larry and friend - from the classroom, ME 03
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Seattle, WA 98103

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Shoreline, WA 98155

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