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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

White Wolf MFR Keeps Milwaukee Moving

Tony Grimm

by Sheila Julson

When Tony Grimm hears a client describe how chronic pain hinders their lifestyle, he can relate. Before he became a certified practitioner of The John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Technique, he had experienced pain and limited range of motion from being in five car accidents within two years. He was fortunate to walk away from those crashes with no life-threatening injuries or broken bones, but he suffered from whiplash and a torn rotator cuff.

Grimm is a Milwaukee native who holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from UW-Milwaukee. Before the accidents, he had worked in hazardous waste management for both the State of Wisconsin and for Waste Management. After getting banged up, he suffered from chronic pain for many years, but he always found relief after he got a massage.

At age 46, Grimm decided to change his career trajectory. He trained at Milwaukee School of Massage and practiced for several years as a licensed massage therapist. But when he attended a John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Technique retreat in Sedona, Arizona, Grimm was astounded by how much better he felt, and how that particular type of myofascial release relieved his pain more effectively than standard massage.

“Halfway through a treatment, I was able to lift my knee higher than usual. There was a set of stairs on the retreat grounds, and I was able to skip every other step and get all the way to the top without pain,” he describes. “When I got to the top of the staircase, I remember standing there looking down at the stairs and thinking, ‘there must be something to this stuff. I haven’t been able to do this for 20 years.’”

Grimm studied and became certified in the technique in 2012. He continued to practice massage while forming his own myofascial release practice, White Wolf MFR. Last January, he partnered with massage therapists to share space in Maple Grove Massage, in Greenfield. He keeps up with the latest techniques and certifications by regularly attending John F. Barnes seminars.

Grimm describes fascia, which is the body’s connective tissue, as similar to a spider web. “An injury to the fascia is like a ripple in a pond,” he explains. “The force from the injury goes through the body like a wave, tightening the tissue. After a while, it tightens and becomes restrictive, feeling almost like a strait jacket.”

While there are many types of therapy to release fascia restrictions, Grimm says The John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Technique is a more advanced method using steady and sustained but gentle pressure. “After a while, it feels like taffy stretching, because it’s very subtle,” he says. “Fascia surrounds blood vessels, nerves and muscle fibers—95 percent of what we think of as muscle-related issues are actually fascia-related. When there’s an injury, the body tightens up, and then restrictions form. After a while, the body braces and subconsciously tenses, and you start to lose that range of motion.”

Receiving this therapy is similar to getting a massage, but the process does not involve messy oils or lotions, and clients don’t have to completely disrobe. Grimm will first evaluate clients in a standing position to see where the body might be misaligned, such as a droopy shoulder or a cocked hip, and focus on those areas. He’s heard myriad accounts from clients of how much better they feel, or how after receiving treatment they were able to do things they hadn’t been able to do for years. “With myofascial release, pain can actually be gone and not come back,” he adds.

Grimm says this modality can be effective for migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, tennis elbow and frozen shoulder. “When we have accidents, we land on all parts of the body that get broken, and chronic pain results.” He notes that office workers who do repetitious movement on computers, which affects the wrists and hands and can result in slouched shoulders, can also be helped by the technique. However, it does not help with arthritis, diabetic neuropathy or permanent nerve damage.

Grimm stays inspired by helping others feel just as good as he felt when he climbed that staircase in Sedona. “When you have chronic pain that doesn’t let you sleep, it can affect your quality of life,” he concludes. “Myofascial release isn’t a magic cure-all, but it can help restore quality of life.”

By appointment only. White Wolf MFR, 4406 S. 68 St., Greenfield (inside Maple Grove Massage). For more information, call 414-543-0855 or visit