Everyone seems to be talking about fascia these days. But what is it really?
Here is a video of fascia inside of a human forearm under 25x magnification.
Fascia runs throughout your entire body like a three dimensional interconnected spider web. Fascia assists in providing stability to your joints and muscles, while helping to hold your organs in place. As you can see in the above video, fascia has a very high percentage of water which makes it fluid like. This helps the fascia to lengthen and glide smoothly.
If a person is dehydrated, you can only imagine how the body might feel tighter and less pliable during movement. When a person incurs an injury, the tissue of the site of injury becomes thicker, less pliable and possibly adhered to nearby structures. The new material the body lays down to repair the injured site has a less pliable composition. This can be helped with treatment massage and Fascial Stretch Therapy.
Below is an image from Thomas Myer's Anatomy Trains book. This is one of the fascial lines that have been discovered through cadaver research. Practitioners like myself have taken this research and applied it to how we work on an individual in our treatment sessions. Having the knowledge and map of how the body is connected as a whole helps us approach the body from a more functional perspective.
How Can I Keep My Fascia Healthy?
Stay hydrated - drink a minimum of half your bodyweight in ounces daily in water.
Move/exercise - proper movement helps to prevent imbalance and dysfunction in body tissues.
Injuries - if you're injured, get the help you need from your doctor, PT or massage therapist to get you back on track. Injuries left untreated can lead to future imbalance, compensation or disfunction.
Breathe - research suggests there may be a close relationship between the neurological system and fascial system. By practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing or "yoga breathing" it will calm the nervous system resulting in less tension in the fascial system.
Do you have a flexibility question for me? Select questions will be considered as topics in future blog posts.