Fascia or fascial tissue is connective tissue that runs between everything in your body. It wraps all your organs, muscles & ligaments. It is the fabric that holds us together & literally connects us head to toe. This is why when a bodyworker who works with the fascial system may start to work on areas of the body that aren't painful. Restrictions & adhesion's throughout any area of the body may cause pain elsewhere in the system.
We are often think of the body in pieces: your muscles, your ligaments, your bones but your whole fascial system works together & all of these pieces are connected together by fascia. It not connects & wraps around your muscles but also weaves inside your muscles fibers (see image above), layer by layer. Some layers are superficial, some layers are deep; and you can get sticky, stiff restrictions on different layers of the fascia.
As Tom Myers, founder of Anatomy Trains, puts it:
"Are there really 600 muscles? OR only 1 muscle in 600 fascial pockets"
This drawing explanation is a great way to look at it:
Treating the Fascia:
When it comes to treatment of the fascia there is ongoing research around what we are actually doing to the fascia to "release" it. "Myofascial release" (myo - muscle, fascial - fascia) is a commonly used term for treatment of the fascia. According to Tom Myers, what appears to be happening is when a trained bodyworker is treating the fascia they are hydrating the fascial tissues. Imagine wetting & ringing out a dry sponge. The sponge goes from dry, brittle & stuck to moist, fluffy & moveable. This often happens in the treatment room with clients who receive fascial treatment; they look & feel taller & more open in their body.
It is important to note that treatment of the fascia (Rolfing, Myofascial Release, Structural Integration) is not the same as massage: Deep Tissue or Trigger Point therapy. Whilst the fascia is being touched & moved in massage, if there is no direct intentional connection with the fascia it may remain stuck.
Further studies are pointing to fascia being the missing link between a lot of ailments, health conditions, injuries, ongoing chronic pain & getting well. I have been treating the fascial system for over 4 years now and have seen some amazing results from people who have had ongoing issues that wouldn't go away with physiotherapy, chiropractic or massage. Often times fascial treatment improves the outcomes from these other modalities.
A fascial system approach is an all over, holistic body approach. The results are much more long-lasting!
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