This is EPISODE 03 of our #FastFasciaFacts series, where I list 3 important facts about fascia and then give you my theory about why each one matters and how to use this knowledge to heal faster and achieve optimal health.
- Your lymph system lives inside superficial fascia.
- Fascia has 10x more proprioceptors than muscle fiber.
- Fascia has its own pain receptors
Why this matters (my theories):
1. Your lymph system is responsible for detoxing you effectively, whether from toxicity like heavy metals or infectious invaders that could kill you. The main function of the lymph system is to carry infection fighting white blood cells throughout your body. But the lymph also carries waste and other unwanted substances OUT of your body. The lymph lives INSIDE your superficial fascia – the fascia closest to your skin – and is composed of lymph nodes (that collect waste) and lymph vessels (the part that moves white blood cells or waste around the body). What is most important for you to understand is lymph can’t move itself, it has no pump. What moves lymph is the muscles and fascia – through movement like exercise, OR by manual movement (like fascial release or lymph massage). If your fascial system is congested – what do you think happens to your lymph system?
2. Proprioception is the ability of your brain to detect your body in space and conduct movement; it’s also how your body assesses your posture and alignment at any given time, and is largely responsible for good BALANCE (super important period, but critical as we all age!) Proprioceptors are the nerve messengers that conduct movement by cueing muscles and fascia to contract. The fact that you have TEN TIMES as many proprioceptors in your fascia than muscle fiber should really get your attention if you want to move well. For all of you athletes, this is critical. Your movement potential is dependent on healthy fascia. Your balance is dependent on fluid healthy fascia that can effectively communicate nerve impulses.
You can get “faster” and “stronger” by releasing fascia (freeing up your movement potential and optimizing those nerve communication channels).
If the whole proprioception thing really interests you, check out this older blog post and YouTube video all about proprioception and movement potential.
3. Fascia has its own pain receptors. I believe this is one major cause of myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia etc. What you’re actually feeling is pain at the site of restriction which is within the soft tissue (not bone, nerves or other common sites of injuries and widely acknowledges sites of pain). This kind of pain can be body-wide too, rather than isolated to one location.
Of course, it may be far more complex and involve trauma patterns or chronic fear/stress; or your fascia may be perceiving pain the soft tissue directly due to not feeling safe in your own body or life (this is really common in any of us with a history of trauma, abuse or shame).
When you experience the freedom that comes from effective fascia release, you’ll start to actually feel your fascia getting unhealthy again…
It will ache, or feel restless (restless legs anyone?!) and you may even start to crave the weight of compression. This is true whether you have a diagnosis like myofascial pain syndrome or not. As a quick aside, I dislike labeling pain as a disease, syndrome or anything like that. You feel pain. That’s it. Your body is getting your attention, and there are solutions for every message your body sends you.
Your turn! What are YOUR theories about fascia (maybe your fascia in particular), given the Fascia Facts I shared today? Do you agree/disagree with my theories!
Share below 🙂