12: Exploring the World of Myofascial Release with Yvonne Vander Heiden

12: Exploring the World of Myofascial Release with Yvonne Vander Heiden

  • Show Notes

    Looking for a natural way to relieve chronic pain and improve your quality of life?

    Yvonne Vander Heiden, COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant)

    Yvonne owns and operates Body & Soul MFR Therapy since November 2019. She has completed Expert Level in Myofascial Release taught by John F. Barnes, PT, international lecturer and the authority on MFR.

    In 2014, she graduated from Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton WI in Occupational Therapy Assistant program. She has worked in home health care, geriatric nursing facilities, and field work at a rehabilitation clinic. Currently, is completing 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training to bring MFR Yoga in the near future.

    Yvonne enjoys treating the whole person, taking into account the spiritual, cognitive, physical and emotional components. She believes in the power of touch, and the importance of being fully present while actively listening to each person as they achieve amazing results.

    Cherie asks Yvonne Vander Heiden about her journey to becoming a myofascial release practitioner, the experiences of her clients, and the healing potential of myofascial release therapy.

    Want to know how you can begin your journey to hope and healing? Visit Elevated Life Academy for classes and free resources for personal development and healing.


    Body & Soul MFR



  • Transcript

    [00:00:38] Cherie Lindberg: Welcome everyone to another episode of Elevated Life Podcast. I'm excited to invite Yvonne Vander Heiden with us today, and we're gonna talk about a healing method that I don't think a lot of folks out there know about. And I really am excited to have her come and talk and share her knowledge and her journey and what got her to become a myofascial release practitioner.

    [00:01:44] So I'm gonna let Yvonne introduce herself and just say a little bit about her business and then I'm gonna ask you some questions about how you became a myofascial practitioner.

    [00:01:57] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Sure. Thank you so much. My name is Yvonne.

    [00:02:00] I'm a Body and Soul MFR therapy and I'm located in Green Bay Wisconsin. I wasn't always an MFR therapist and I started, I wanna say, about four years ago. And my credentials is that I'm an occupational therapy assistant. So I have found through my journey as a therapist in a nursing home we're giving exercises and range of motion and activities for people to go home so they can perform life as you know it. So in my journey, I came across some training on myofascial release. I was very interested in it for my CEUs, to decreasing pain, improving range of motion. And I started using a little bit on patience and I have found an incredible, incredible amount of improvements compared to general OT and PT which I was from.

    [00:02:58] So when I say improvement, I'm saying that patients who are told surgery, I worked on a few patients actually outside of the nursing home. I was doing two things at once. And after. A year worth of treatment. maybe I saw 'em once a month or whatever, and they were able to raise their arm, they didn't need shoulder surgery anymore.

    [00:03:18] The patient went back to the doctor and the doctor says, oh no, you don't need surgery anymore. So, it is fantastic. So it opened up my eyes and like more people need this in their life. And in the traditional OT and nursing homes and Medicare and insurances, you can't normally do a full hour of MFR.

    [00:03:36] So I open up my own practice and you can get a full MFR, myofascial release is what that stands for, here at my office.

    [00:03:43] Cherie Lindberg: Beautiful. So tell me a little bit about your first training. I would love to hear what your experience was like.

    [00:03:52] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Wow. Yeah, it was a big eye opener. I had to admit that. It was out of the ordinary of any other training that I ever had. So I took three classes back-to-back, all at once. And besides the techniques, John Barnes, who's the father of Myofascial Release, was teaching. And he explained in the first class all the technical stuff behind it , why scientists can't find it under a microscope in the fascial system, all of that.

    [00:04:21] But it's when we got to our hands-on experience, it was so much more than treating just pain. And what it brought about is the emotional side of things, the trauma. And it did scare me at first because people were screaming, crying. They were in a different language. It was things that are trapped into your muscles and tissue that were broken open.

    [00:04:45] So I didn't let the fear factor, turn me away from it. If anything, it made me interested, like, what is this? What's going on? Why wasn't I not experiencing it? Because I felt like, oh yes, I have dealt with all my emotional traumas in the past.

    [00:04:59] But these were deep down. And we can go more into my experience later on, 'cause I finally hit my point this past year. Everybody heals at a different point when they're ready. So that was my experience. And then when I went home, I've always had sacral bone pain, right hip pain .

    [00:05:19] I realized that my right hip is up higher and rotated. So that's causing a torque in your body. Sure, you go to the chiropractor, sure, you go to the doctor. Oh yeah, your hip is higher than the other. But do they do anything about it? No. You learn to manage through life how to work with that.

    [00:05:35] So it's nice to go home feeling like, oh wow, I can walk better now. So that's the physical aspect of it, as well as the emotional aspect of it.

    [00:05:44] Cherie Lindberg: Could you share for our listeners who do not know what fascia is?

    [00:05:48] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Absolutely. Fascia is like the basic explanation is like if you had a chicken breast, lift up the fat and the skin. You see a very thin membrane, it looks like a's saran wrap. I would refer to as like saran wrap in your body, covering your muscles, your bones, your DNA. It goes all the way down the cellular level.

    [00:06:08] And it's from your top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Another way of describing it is a big giant web into your body. So this web is three-dimensional. When you have scar tissue, especially after surgeries or injuries, that tissue can't move.

    [00:06:25] Therefore. Other places in your body has to compensate, causing all the tenderness, angriness in the body. It changes the formation of your skeletal system. So you have to compensate to be able to walk. It's three-dimensional. It can be liquified, it can get really thick and hard, and it also can change shape and form depending on what your body is doing.

    [00:06:48] It's actually phenomenal. Scientists can't see it underneath the microscope, because it's a living form. If it's, gone, like in cadavers, you don't see this webbing-ness because they take it off, they throw it away. Not thinking it has nothing to do in your body, but it has a lot to do in our body.

    [00:07:06] That's where all messages are being transferred. Oxygen, nutrients, water and anything. So it keeps your tissue moving and gliding your bones like it was designed to do it.

    [00:07:16] Cherie Lindberg: It sounds almost like a net keeping all of it together and moving together.

    [00:07:21] Yvonne Vander Heiden: It is. When there's trauma, it could produce like 10,000 pounds per square into your body of pressure when that system can't move. And that's why people hurt so much. Just because they hurt, let's say, on their hip does not necessarily mean that is where the problem is.

    [00:07:41] It could be their back. So it travels throughout the body and we're so used to in this new world that doctors, chiropractors, we all treat the symptoms. Put a band-aid on it, steroids, whatever to make it better, but it's actually coming from somewhere else in the body.

    [00:07:59] And that's what I do. I do an evaluation and I find out where that spot is.

    [00:08:03] Cherie Lindberg: So you try to get to the core of it to release it out of the body so the symptoms can be done?

    [00:08:10] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Absolutely.

    [00:08:11] Cherie Lindberg: Talk about your story, whatever you're comfortable sharing. I would love to hear. You were intrigued. You started to get more training. You're helping other people feel better.

    [00:08:21] We all have our own readiness for healing. You were also curious why you weren't having those kind of releases that other people were having. This year you actually got to feel what that was like.

    [00:08:32] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Yes. So a little bit in the beginning when I was working in nursing homes, I went to school to get my degree as an OTA. I thought that was my retirement job. Like we always do later in life. And it wasn't cut out like I thought it would be.

    [00:08:47] So everything was built by Medicare and everything's by time and minutes, and then they change everything. And you're running ragged in the nursing home just to take care of all these people, rather if they need therapy or not. And I hate to say that, but that's what goes on in the medical fields, in those nursing homes.

    [00:09:03] Sometimes you have to do group training when you need to spend one-on-one. When I found this, I started treating people on the side to see if it's something I want to do. So I start opening my own practice and start word of mouth. And the results are amazing. I cannot tell you how many people are just amazed by this. So my business has grown by word of mouth.

    [00:09:24] In the beginning it was a lot of the physical for me. My hips feel so much better. I'm walking straighter. My hips are not tilted like they used to be. My neck this past year. So before I got to my expert level, which was this past October, and this neck and my shoulders drive me crazy and I know a lot of it's 'cause of the treatments that I'm giving everybody else, but I started going to, one of the requirements is to get weekly treatments.

    [00:09:46] I got weekly treatments all through the summer. Then I went to my MFR three, which is the expert level in Sedona, Arizona with John Barnes. And I also paid for some personalized treatments at their big treatment center.

    [00:10:00] In an MFR-III, it's more than just physical aspect of things. It's also more about the emotional, like we had a day of no talking and reflect and feel the vibrations. And if you have never been to Sedona, you have to go there just to feel what the energy level is like out there. But that alone with all the treatments opened up a different area in me.

    [00:10:24] When we go into healing, I'm also as a patient focusing where they're at and being present. So the big thing is, is being present and not thinking about your to-do list. What you're gonna do today is being at that moment, what is going inside your body and focus.

    [00:10:41] And it's really hard to focus because we are so busy. But once we get to the quiet side, the healing side, you can get to that part of your healing in your own body along with a therapist and no expectations.

    [00:10:56] Sometimes there's dialogue, the therapist knows what to say and they are there for you emotionally. It was just an amazing experience that it opened up some things, but it wasn't until this past November, so that was October and I'm like, oh man, the shoulder and neck is still bothering me.

    [00:11:11] I'm gonna get two or three more classes. These are repeat classes. We could take as many classes we want. The second time ,around it was amazing. Whole new experience. And this time we got to the emotional state. And what happens is that a lot of trauma came up.

    [00:11:27] So, I did have such a good childhood and a lot of us don't. But if you imagine if you're a little girl, if you were scared, what did you do? You tense up, you're shaking, you feel everything inside your body, right? So couple of these experiences, my body starts shaking like crazy, out of the blue and sometimes violently.

    [00:11:47] And the only thing I can think of, it brought me back to being scared. And so your tissue will store all this trauma, even though in my brain I dealt with it as a child. I passed it. I'm trying to help other people. My tissue says Uhuh. We still have this in our tissue. It's like a boiling pot with a cover on it that someday someone's gonna lift up, which is a therapist who opens up all that fascia and then all of a sudden all this steam comes out and everything's coming out with a like crazy.

    [00:12:22] And my body was just letting go. I did a couple more treatments. I'm like, okay, what's more, gimme some more. What else is in there? It was amazing. 'cause at first, you know, I felt it come in all the chakras in your body.

    [00:12:32] So mine started from the bottom chakra. And then. over a span of weeks in treatments, it moved up to my chest, and my chest would quiver back and forth, back and forth . When I went to that training in November, it was my upper chest and my throat, and I could feel a scream once to come out so bad, but my scream still has not come out because I was always a good girl, always kept my mouth shut.

    [00:12:54] It's gonna get there. But then I could feel it just moving up through my body. Not everybody's going to experience this, like I said, four years for me. And now I can truly understand somehow people will feel this way. That's my personal experience. The patients coming in have different experiences.

    [00:13:12] Besides the shaking, our body does a thing called unwinding and I don't wanna scare people 'cause this is all affected healing until you actually experience it and feel it. You'll know what it means. But your body will move in different areas. Your whole body just moves like a cat that stretches in all kinds of weird positions.

    [00:13:30] Our bodies will do the same thing. Some people, when I treat them, if they're really in tune in the body, they will start unwinding right away. Some come in, they don't feel anything. They can't even feel where I'm at. So everybody starts their journey in a different place.

    [00:13:44] Cherie Lindberg: Right. It sounds very developmental too. Wherever they're at, some people are more aware, others don't have body awareness. And Peter Levine, who is a somatic experiencing therapist, has a lot of videos out there where it shows the jerking and the shaking and the releasing coming out of the body. So I totally understand what you're talking about and the unwinding that connection. Yes.

    [00:14:07] He also has Healing Trauma, it's a little book. There's a bunch of body awareness exercises in there. And again, learning how to release very gently. So there's different temperatures or intensities that you can learn to slow it down a little bit for those that might be a little bit more overwhelmed. I embrace violently jerking now when I get there. But I remember the first time that happened. That was scary, like you were saying, because I'm used to being in control of my body and I had no control. It was doing its thing and I'm like, what is going on? So I understand being fearful of it because we don't talk about these things.

    [00:14:45] We don't openly as a society talk about these things. And that's why I wanted to have you on here is to talk about myofascial release because these healing methods where we're going into the body deeper can help people with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, things that are chronic for people that they can get significant relief instead of going on all these drugs.

    [00:15:11] And I'm not saying that there aren't certain circumstances where medication is needed, but there's a lot you can do naturally to heal the body. So can you share a story of hope and healing of somebody that you worked with where myofascial release like really helped them?

    [00:15:29] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Well, there's all kinds of stories. So I had one person who's kind of does like Shama work. Hers was very interesting. I could put my hands on her body, work on the spots. I look at the body, I see what sticks out by my intuition. That's what I would work on. But then I let that patient tell me what's bothering them. What's hurting? So she would tell me, okay, my shoulders been really been bothering me, and I lay my hands on her and I do my technique.

    [00:15:55] And then all of a sudden she transferred into another dimension. She must help spirits pass over, that type of thing. She would go back in time during an event. Her eyes are open. She goes, oh my goodness, this is happening right now. And take this knife out. Take this knife out.

    [00:16:14] So I imagined there's a knife right where I was at, and I pulled it out. And actually John Barnes has exactly the same story too. If I didn't see John Barnes talk about this, I would not know what to do. But this person, it actually happened. Wow. Were they relieved afterwards?

    [00:16:30] Just being there present with her in her imagination. I helped her with that and she got through it. So that is, I wanna say one extreme.

    [00:16:38] Cherie Lindberg: So yeah, this could be past lives, if somebody thinks of it that way. It could be a shamanic journey if other folks think of it that way. It could also be epigenetics, cellular memory from ancestry. It is unusual and it does surprise people, but these things are real.

    [00:16:57] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Yes. And I'm glad you brought that up because even when I go to classes. I remember there was a therapist she was going through, like she was being raped.

    [00:17:06] She was going through this horrific moment, screaming, being held down. But in her lifetime, she was never raped, even as a little girl. Somewhere in her ancestry that had came up. So it was somewhere in the past. This is the type of things that we experienced and I think when us therapists are all together in a room, John keeps us close.

    [00:17:28] Our table was close. All this energy comes up that we feel it, and then we just let go.

    [00:17:33] Now, another case. I had a gentleman with a really bad knee replacement, and he's young. He's like in his. early fifties. And he came to me and it looked like he was walking like his leg off to the side. Like he had a kickstand because he could not have that leg underneath his hips to be walking with a good pace. His hips were totally off. He could not flex his knee 90 degrees, nor could he straighten his knee. So I worked with him, I wanna say, for a year and a half, and come to find out, PT had a hard time with him. The surgeon even put him back under again and forcefully bent his knee, which is I think is why we couldn't really get it to where it needed to go.

    [00:18:20] But when he was done with me, we were able to have him walk with two legs. He also had a foot drop in the beginning. His foot drop no longer was there. His knee flexion and extension definitely improved. It wasn't a hundred percent, but man, it was totally improved compared to what physical therapy could have done.

    [00:18:38] So there's two different extremes.

    [00:18:39] Cherie Lindberg: So that's beautiful. The body can heal if given the right circumstances. It knows how to get there. We just have to help and nurture it along to get to that place.

    [00:18:52] Well, Yvonne, we are gonna make sure that we have your website and your contact information on the podcast page so that everyone knows where you're located in case they wanna reach out to you. Is there anything that I haven't asked you that maybe you'd wanna share about being a myofascial practitioner?

    [00:19:13] Yvonne Vander Heiden: I guess the biggest question everybody asks me, how long does it take? Well, everybody's healing journey is different, and you have to go into with an open mind, without expectations and just let go. And that takes time to let go a lot of things. But I recommend your first time four to six weeks in a row, because it will be a journey of a roller coaster ride.

    [00:19:36] There might be one week that's better than the other, but it's like peeling the layers of an onion, that one layer at a time. Every treatment is different on each person. I will feel things underneath my hands, and a lot of times the patient will feel the restrictions being released also in their body.

    [00:19:54] People who wanna get better, they have patience to get better. So it's not a quick fix technique like going to the doctor. If that's what you want, then you probably don't wanna see me. But if you wanna take the journey to really unravel what's going on in your body, then this is the place to be.

    [00:20:14] Cherie Lindberg: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your story and your experience. I hope that this might get people to reach out to myofascial practitioners and give it a try.

    [00:20:28] Yvonne Vander Heiden: Thank you so much for having me on today.

    [00:20:31] Cherie Lindberg: You are welcome.