About Katharine Forrer 

I am passionate about sharing the knowledge that I have gained using Gentle Myofascial Release over the past 25 years.
A picture of Kath treating a patient

A picture of Kath treating a patient

I had my first encounter with gentle myofascial therapy when I was around 20. I must admit to being somewhat cynical. I fully expected it to have no impact at all – after all, the practitioner was barely doing anything – or that’s what I thought.  To my shock and delight, my back pain was resolved almost instantly. At the time, I was studying to become a Drama and English teacher; human movement and wellness were also great interests of mine.  I completed my degree – all the time thinking that when the time was right, I would put time into learning more about hands on therapies.

I studied at the Southern School of Natural Therapies in the early 90s, finally pursuing my interest in Anatomy and Physiology, Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and qualified as a Soft Tissue Therapist after studying several versions of Soft Tissue Therapy at different schools. In 2000 I went on to combine both my passion for teaching and bodywork by lecturing at Swinburne University and then the Southern School of Natural Therapies; developing curriculum for a variety of applications and in line with Cert. IV competencies.

In my practice, I had many satisfying experiences with mothers and babies and found that the “gentle myofascial” approach was essential to helping these women through some very distressing times. The first mother I assisted with mastitis (21 years ago now!) was delighted to find she could use the gentle moves I taught her to prevent the mastitis from returning – she was so relieved and empowered by the experience that she asked me if these techniques were being taught to midwives. It got me thinking…

I have seen wonderful outcomes for a wide range of conditions – from issues associated with birthing, motherhood and babies, to children with anxiety, cerebral palsy and autism, the delicate elderly (frail aged) and those in palliative care – along with post operative trauma; the list is endless. I am passionate about sharing the knowledge that I have gained using Gentle Myofascial Release over the past 25 years. It is my hope that as a result, many people will receive the extra help they need – on a daily basis and as part of an integrated approach to health and wellbeing.

Naturally, this therapy does not replace medical advice or consultation; rather it is a supportive and complementary skill set akin to “acupressure”, “tens machines”, “aromatherapy” and other commonly used methods designed to bring comfort and relaxation when it is needed most.

What is Gentle Myofascial Release?

Ida Rolf, Mosha Feldenkrais, Tom Bowen and others have developed different forms of bodywork that impact favourably on the all encompassing fascia.

Dehydrated and immobile fascia can adhere to itself and other fascial layers, causing collagen fibres to shorten. This gives rise to trigger points, nerve entrapment, blood and lymph congestion and restricted range of movement which equals pain.

Fascial manipulation targets the four types of sensory receptors found in fascia – stimulating the collagenous or colloidal component capable of changing from solid to fluid – thus restoring fascial hydration, elasticity and molecular function.

It has become clear that GENTLE fascial manipulation sits well with other supportive methods, such as tens machines, acupressure and acupuncture – now accepted as safe and effective therapeutic devices.

Katharine offers comprehensive training in a range of specialised modules. Current offerings include Gentle Myofascial release focusing on:

  • Gentle tissue therapy for midwifery, including prenatal and postnatal treatment techniques.
  • Soft tissue therapy for individuals with disabilities and special needs, with outcomes focusing onimproved balance and coordination, improved sleep patterns andbehavioral improvements.
  • Soft tissue therapy for elderly patients aged care workers/nurses. Sleep, digestion, lymphoedema, aches and pains, anxiety neurological disorders and more.
Manoeuvres at the superficial fascia will disturb and free the relation between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilized. The main role of the fascia is to connect. It connects everything in the body: muscles, bones, internal organs and central nervous system. It plays a major role in muscle co ordination, flexibility, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. As shown by the work of Ida Rolf (and many others), fascia also holds memories of trauma (physical as well as emotional)by literally shortening, contracting, torquing and dehydrating. Following a session it is not uncommon for person being treated to feel emotions related to old trauma resurface as adhesions loosen up and scar tissue softens, posture, flexibility and mobility improve without harsh mobilization, deep probing or stretching of the fascia”
— With kind permission from Patrik Rousselot. 2000

According to Professor Robert Schleip from the University of Ulm in Germany….(it was)…” first postulated the presence of sensory nerve endings in fascia in 1899″. Current research recognizes that there are four types of intrafascial mechanoreceptors which respond to touch/stimulus.

  • Golgi Receptors
    • Found close to attachments, aponeurosis, myotendinous junctions, ligaments and peripheral joints –not so much in the middle of the muscle. According to Schleip, they respond to slow, deep stretching.
  • Pacini Receptors
    • Located in deep capsule layer of spinal ligaments and myotendinous junctions (not so much in peripheral areas). They are sensitive to rapid spinal changes “get bored easily” and are sensitive to rapid pressure change. They tell the nervous system what is going on…..stimulation tends to increase local proprioception attention and self regulation. Pressure suddenly releases/responds to stimulation.
  • Ruffini Receptors
    • They are found in ligaments of peripheral joints (not so much dura mater) and outer capsule layers. Stimulation results in global/whole body – overall sympathetic activity…….not just regional. They respond to slow, melting pressure such as lateral shearing.
  • Interstitial Receptors
    • Very densely located almost everywhere, with the highest density in the periosteum. 50% respond to the touch of a painters brush! They are very busy with functions ranging from registering mechanosensory changes, increasing fluid supply/vasodilation, interoception – emotional states, proprioception for movement, receptor sensitivity is modulated feedback by neurotransmitters. Look for changes in autonomic nervous system. The breathing changes, pupils dilate, heat and cold and peristalsis etc. 
Schleip says of fascia “it is the richest sensory organ …even the location of muscle spindles is arranged according to fascial architecture”
— With kind permission from Robert Schleip, The Nature Of Fascia. 2008