What is Fascia and Why Should We Care?
If I could have every person on this planet study just ONE thing to stay healthy, it would be the fascial system. In a previous post I shared a video by Thomas Myers, who is the fascia expert of our time. He does a wonderful job explaining what fascia is and I recommend you watch that video as well if you’re committed to learning about your fascia. And I wanted to share some of my own thoughts here.
We have more fascia than anything else in our bodies. Fascia (or connective tissue) is the name we give to the web-like structure of tissues that hold us together, from the cellular level to the “sacs” that wrap huge muscle groups.
To the right is a small picture of the fascial system, and you can see how it wraps every individual muscle fibril, fiber, bundle and entire groups of muscles, and then all of that connecting fascia is what turns into tendon and ligament, which in turn attaches to our bones or joints.
All of that fascia is meant to be elastic and flexible and able to move with us freely as we go about our lives and sports. But almost everyone I know today has unhealthy fascia (myself included). Even if you’re not in pain, it doesn’t mean your fascia is in optimal health! And if you are in pain, then your fascia is especially unhealthy and in a state of imbalance.
Fascia is the superhighway for communication from the brain to the body and back again. It houses our nervous system and is the channels through which blood needs to flow to nourish tissues, muscles, joints and organs.
When our fascia is adhered to itself and in a state of dehydration and unhealthy tension then blood won’t flow freely through the body, which can cause all manner of “itis’s” (inflammatory responses like tendinitis, arthritis, bursitis etc). Those knots you feel in your shoulders? That’s not tightness and it’s NOT your muscle! It’s fascia that’s adhered to itself because it’s being pulled on (or overstretched) by bigger more dominant muscles or postural habits, and it’s forming “knots” in an attempt to stay where it belongs instead of being pulled somewhere else.
Imbalances in the fascial system left to right and front to back (leg leg to right leg, or front to back in your legs or upper body) will cause everything from plantar fasciitis to low back and hip pain to shoulder range of motion issues.
When we release tight fascia and put space back into that connective tissue system, blood flows freely, movement becomes fluid and pain stops.
I recently had a client tell me he believes his stigmatism is getting better after just two sessions of opening the fascia in his upper body! I’ve had other clients who came for shoulder pain or migraines tell me they’re seeing better after we unblock the “dams” (tight fascia) blocking blood flow to the ocular nerve!
I could go on and on, and geek out on this all day! But I’ll leave at this for today: fascia is extremely important and if you want to take responsibility for your body’s health, I cannot recommend enough that you start learning more about it and how to stretch it properly and keep it healthy. Which is precisely what I intend to help you do here at Mobility Mastery.