• Shari Barta

A Myofascial Release Experiment

I attended my first in-person therapy continuing education class in many years and it jazzed me up. I just LOVE to learn; there are so many strategies out there and I love to soak them all up. I also love to bring new skills to my clinic to help everyone reach their goals. This particular class has completely pumped me up for so many reasons:

1.) I have wanted to take this class for years.

2.) It covered a super-interesting subject: Myofascial Release

3.) I got to take it with one of the pioneers of the industry, John Barnes, P.T.


I came home with my mind blown. As I started to introduce the treatment strategies I learned into my studio, I decided to conduct a little experiment on myself. Spoiler alert: the results were pretty amazing.


Can Clinical Self Myofascial Release Improve the Postural Alignment of the Ribs?


About Proper Rib Alignment and ZOA

Proper postural alignment of the ribs is measured by the angle of the ribcage in the front of the body. It is referred to as the Zone of Apposition (ZOA). The ZOA is the domed vertical area of the diaphragm inside the ribs. If you can imagine a bowl upside down inside your rib cage.

Photo Credit: The Bluffton Sun


When your ribs have a good ZOA, you should measure 90 degrees between the ribs on the front of the body. While 90 degrees is the ideal, tightness can cause you to flare or be a smaller angle.


Proper alignment allows the ribs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor to work together. When this alignment is off, the perfect balance is interrupted and increased pressure begins to form in the intraabdominal space. This can cause us to bear down onto the abdominal walls, low back, bladder and pelvic floor; it’s a common cause of prolapse.


My hope was that this myofascial release method would open my ribs and allow me to stay at the 90 degree position.


Finding My ZOA

I measured my ZOA using a goniometer at the beginning of the test and every few days to measure progress. A goniometer is a tool designed to measure range of motion in the body.

I completed the same set of myofascial release stretches nightly for 5 days. The stretches focused on hip realignment, twist, adductor release and opening the low back and sides.


My VERY Visible Results

Day

Measurement in Degrees

1

120 Degrees

2

109°

4

100°

6

90°

13

90°


Final Thoughts

When I started the experiment, I was hopeful that the new stretching would help—but I never expected this. I have struggled with improving my ZOA since I had my children and sustained a Diastasis Recti. Body-wise, my core looks amazing; I have more core muscle definition, my ribs look narrower, and my bras fit better. I feel more aligned and I have decreased urinary urgency. YAY! I never expected to have a normal ZOA again. Another added benefit to this new practice? I have started sleeping better. As a very stressed out mommy this has been a godsend. I have finally found a way to practice meditation that speaks to me!


Try Myofascial Release Class

I am so excited to start introducing these techniques at the studio. I have added a myofascial release class to our schedule on Wednesdays at 12pm. Come join me and see what this is all about for yourself. Sign up here to save your spot.


I am also offering personalized hands-on clinical work in privates. Please email or call the studio if you would like to schedule one!


Live Long and Strong!


- Shari Barta MS, OTR/L, CPT, NCPT, PCES


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