In a sense, it still is a gallery. Just like artists, the people there use their hands to create both relaxing and energizing offerings. Indeed, these professionals are skilled in
techniques and certainly, they have a very special feeling for form. Also, visitors feel substantially enriched.
Years back, the small-looking building on Oak Creek at the north end of uptown, where Hwy 89A enters Oak Creek Canyon, was a real art gallery. The building didn't attract much attention,
and most people had no idea what the inside looked like, or that it had three stories that literally hung over Oak Creek. However, one astute out-of-towner knew- and when he heard that the
building was for sale, he wasted little time making an offer, and then completing a purchase.
John F. Barnes, P.T., an internationally recognized teacher who has trained more than 50,000 health professionals, was in Sedona to conduct a seminar on his Myofascial Release Approach,
when the old gallery was listed for sale. Immediately, Barnes turned to his assistant, and told her to “get all the information now!”
Of course, Barnes bought the building and after considerable refurbishing, opened Therapy on the Rocks, a complement to his long-established Myofascial Release Treatment Center in
Paoli, Pennsylvania. That was in 1993, and today this exceptional facility attracts visitors, some for serious treatment and some simply for pleasure, from all over the world. All these
people enjoy the excitement and amazement of the Center's site, where the building appears to be balanced on massive red rocks. They are mesmerized by the beauty of Oak Creek's refreshing,
riparian area - and they are surprised by the outdoor spa on one of the building's five creek-side decks, as well as the outdoor treatment area, which is spectacularly situated on a
red-rock patio adjacent to a relaxing, 50-foot waterfall. Hey, this setting is so comforting, aches and pains almost disappear before you get your “Hanes” off you, and
therapists get their hands on you!
Obviously, Therapy on the Rocks’ attractive “wrapping” is appreciated. Just like at Christmastime, however, it is what's inside the “package” that really
is important. In that regard, score another plus for the Therapy on the Rocks’ credibility. The high quality of Myofascial Release Treatment Centers is exhibited in many ways.
Recently, during a very informative conversation with the Director of Therapy on the Rocks it was expressed that essentially the Center attracts two groups of patients, people who enjoy
the enhanced well-being that naturally complements physical conditioning, and who are both refreshed and relaxed by therapy, either indoors or outdoors, as well as the Center's on-the-deck
spa, and 2) patients who seek treatment for pain, headaches and fibromyalgia, and also for restricted mobility. From the facilities activities and services, I clearly understood that
Therapy on the Rocks is not just a health club, it is a headquarters for professional treatment within the domain of exceptionally qualified physical therapists. Nonetheless, it is
important for residents and visitors to know that everyone is welcome, whether it is for occasional therapy or an extensive therapeutic program.
"There is no denying that our main focus is on the utilization of Myofascial Release to restore patients’ pain-free, active lifestyles," the director reported "This
emphasis is the natural outgrowth of our specialized training; we are therapists who have been taught by John F. Barnes, PT to administer his particular form of physical relief as it is
associated with the fascial system. And proudly, I can report that we have had great success with professionals such as attorneys, architects and accountants, law enforcement officers,
especially after accidents, along with athletes, and housewives."
Because of what was shared with me and what I previously had read about Barnes’ work, I could picture the giant “spider web” or long, narrow “sweater” that
helped hold my body together. In fact, I almost could feel the entangled connective tissue that composed my fascial system when I bent over, raised my arms and stretched my legs. Though I
have not suffered a specific trauma as it relates to bodily injury, I suppose I've experienced stress - and certainly, I'm getting old enough to know about reduced mobility. Especially
with regard to golf, where rotating the shoulders a lot while turning the hips a little, and swinging around the body after extending through the ball, is so important, diminished
flexibility has hurt my game.
As I shared my “problem,” I thought of an old song. I started humming, "Please release me…" - and I actually muttered the first three words. "What are
you doing?" the therapist asked. Then, recognizing the song and words, the therapist said "Okay, I get it, you want a treatment. That's a good idea, let's make an
The Director was confident that I would be “released,” but also explained that I shouldn't expect that one treatment would be sufficient. Hey, I love a good massage, so I
was pleased that it was suggested that I experience a little series of “releases.” More seriously, however, I was extremely curious to experience the difference between massage
and Myofascial Release, so I left Therapy on the Rocks singing my newest favorite song.
Having received treatment at Therapy on the Rocks, what is my response? How do I explain the difference between Myofascial Release and massage? Well, forget about lubricating oils,
gels and lotions. This is not skin care; it's a treatment of the connective tissue that links the muscles and inner organs of the body. It isn't rub, rub, rub over almost the entire body,
either; it's about sustained pressure being applied to specific areas. The therapist works at a different speed, too, or at least it seems that way because what I call “shifting
gears” is much more deliberate. That is, the application of pressure, and then backing off, seems like its being done in slow motion and consequently, I noticed that soothing
sensations lasted longer. I also had the perception that at times, when the therapist was applying considerable pressure, the therapists hands “melted” through my skin and
relaxed other areas of my body, which eased tension at spots that weren't being directly touched.
In his books, Barnes states that "the viscoelastic quality of the fascial system causes it to resist a suddenly applied force." In contrast, his unique approach to Myofascial
Release employs the application of "sustained pressure into fascial restrictions." The effect of the extended time element technically is related to a phenomenon described
thusly: "Pressure applied slowly allows a viscoelastic medium - the fascia to elongate."
Does it work? Yes, as far as I am concerned, it does. I felt greater flexibility, and I am confident that it wasn't my imagination, though mentally I was influenced because I liked the
people at Therapy on the Rocks; I thought the facility was awesome; and I was impressed by the Director, who was well-informed and very professional. My treatment definitely was a
Will a couple of subsequent treatments substantially enhance my appraisal? I expect so, but I'll have to let you know later. Meanwhile, I'll just keep humming and muttering,
"Please release me…"
Is Your “Sweater” Too Tight? Are You Caught In A “Web”?
By Hoyt Johnson for Sedona Magazine