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#FastFasciaFacts EP07 – Collagen + Hyaluronic Acid, Plus Fascia’s Mind Blowing Proof Resilience

By October 30, 2019Fascia

FASCIA FACTS:

  • Fascia (connective tissue) contains fibroblasts that synthesize collagen and components of the ECM (extracellular matrix). 
  • Fasciacytes synthesize HA (which imbibes the water you drink and helps hydrate every cell of your body). 
  • When it comes to fascia, it has a mind blowing “proof resilience” of 2,000lbs. 

Why the above matters:

Fibroblasts are morphologically different from Fascicytes (which I’ll discuss below). Fibroblasts are the main cell in your body responsible for synthesizing collagen, which is the most abundant protein in your body. Collagen is made of amino acids, is the main component of connective tissue and it’s found in abundance in tendons, ligaments, cartilage, your gut, intervertebral discs and blood vessels. Fibroblasts in fascia respond to pin and stretching methods. Knowing about the differences between fibroblasts and what they offer in terms of pain relief and human optimization, compared to fasciacytes and what those cells offer, is (I believe) key to getting the result you want.

What exactly do these newly discovered fasciacytes respond to, in order to synthesize hyaluronic acid endemically? Remember, hyaluronic acid is responsible for muscle, nerve and gliding, cellular hydration and fascial resilience (which we’ll talk about below).

Collagen is important because it contains the protein building blocks for repair; collagen rich bones, tendons and ligaments will be strong and likely resistant to tears. However, collagen is very “gluey” and I believe when fascia lacks hyaluronic acid (and as a result, water) and contains too much collagen in comparison, this is when fascia starts to stick to itself in dense ropes or knots. 

Hyaluronic acid (otherwise known as hyalurnon, which I am calling HA for short) is critical for smooth muscle gliding, wound healing, protection from free radicals and fascial hydration….to name just a few key points. Muscle and fascia gliding of course is critical for optimal movement function, and a LACK of this gliding can result in fascia thickening or hardening. This is your body’s best attempt to maintain function despite a less than ideal inner environment. But fascial thickening or hardening can lead to pain in and of itself (remember: your fascia contains its own pain receptors), potentially implicit in fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and connective tissue disorder to name just a few. 

A few episodes ago you learned about the Fasciacyte. This is a newly named cell that lives in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of your fascia. Fasciacytes are responsible for fascial gliding through their production of hyaluronin. HA is critical for smooth joint articulation (it’s the primary ingredient in synovial fluid, and synthetic versions of HA are being injected into joints for pain relief….but your body can produce its own HA without any negative side effects!) 

HA gives your fascia its plump, supple, soft, hydrated look and feel. If your HA stores never dwindled you would look 25 at age 80! Ladies – have you noticed how many face creams claim to contain HA?!

Your body can produce its own hyaluronic acid, giving you a youthful appearance if you learn how to help your body create deep HA wells. Fountain of youth anyone?!

On a more practical level, an abundant HA rich ECM will help you heal wounds quickly, since HA plays a key role in angiogenesis (new blood vessels forming from older ones to speed skin and wound healing). HA also scavenges the body for free radicals – damaging to DNA and healthy cells, and believed to contribute to premature aging and diseases like cancer. Thus, HA may be critical for disease and illness prevention (or reversal). I’m practically falling off my chair right now in excitement learning all of this alongside you, because I’ve wondered for years if maintaining healthy fascia could help prevent certain neurological diseases (like Parkinson’s) or aid in cancer healing…but I didn’t have the science connecting the dots. 

Last point here – and it deserves its own bullet point: cellular hydration. If you’re dehydrated, you get sick. If it persists, you die. As most of us know, humans can go a LONG time without eating. Not so with water. We need water. We are supposed to be up to 70% water after all. Yet a lot of modern humans are hovering around 55% water. And sure, it’s important to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day. HOWEVER – and this is super important! – if your cells can’t GET the water you’re drinking into themselves, it doesn’t matter how much water you drink, you’re still dehydrated. 

Imagine this: you are essentially a giant paper bag filled with water. If you lose the water, you shrivel up and look like a crumpled paper bag. That youthful appearance we all chase as adults? At the root it’s about cellular hydration (and HA). If you want youthful resilient fascia that can withstand enormous demands (in the form of stress, physical load, intense activity etc) then you better be willing to help your fascia create HA. This could get super sciency, but I’ll leave it at this: HA imbibes water wherever it lives (in cartilage, joints, fascia, gut ECM etc). The amount of water in a given area (cartilage, fascia etc) determines its resilience. We’ll talk more about resilience next week 🙂

In material science, the term “resilience” refers to a material’s ability to absorb energy when elastically, and release that energy upon unloading without deforming. The irony here is that fascia is, by nature, designed to resist being deformed (even if the deforming is more like re-forming, and for its own good). Even when it’s severely unhealthy (dehydrated, brittle) and unable to do what it once could for you, it still tries to protect you. That’s your body working on your behalf. The chemical messengers YOU send to your body will, in part, determine whether that protection mechanism gets switched ON. If you’re afraid of your body, if you’re afraid of the sensations you feel during a massage or on a foam roller, your body will go into protect mode. 

In material science, “proof resilience” defines the maximum amount of energy that can be absorbed by a material up to its elastic limit, without creating a permanent distortion.

Fascia has been proven able to withstand up to 2,000lbs of force!

So when fascia has proof resilience, that means you could have an adolescent elephant standing on your IT BAND and as soon as the elephant steps off, you should be able to release that energy without any permanent distortion occurring! I’m JESTING of course, but technically speaking your fascia is capable of absorbing up to 2,000lbs of mechanical stress or energy without injury. 

If you want OPTIMIZED fascia, you need to activate as many fasciacytes as you can all over your body, because it’s the water content of your fascia that is largely responsible for its elasticity and ability to absorb and release energy. Conversely, if your elastic limit is 10lbs then you know your fascia has a ways to go before it has proof resilience again (you had it as a kid). You can reverse the age of your fascia and create resilience and proof resilience if you’re committed. And faster than you think. However, as we’ve talked about before – whether you get there or not is largely determined by your nervous system (as I mentioned above). 

Share your takeaways below, I love nerding out with you. 

18 Comments

  • Connie says:

    How can I increase hyaluronic acid in my body? I have sticky and ropey fascia in my traps.

    • Hey Connie – I have a few videos that describe how to do this (increase your HA content), but it’s essentially through compression and shearing of your fascial system that you create your own HA. The Fasciacytes within the ECM (extracellular matrix) synthesize your endemic hyaluronic acid. The Fasciacytes are activated through compression and shearing of fascial fibers that are stuck together. Wherever you have dense ropes, adhesions (knots), compress the fascia and try to shear the fibers. All of my fascia release videos on this blog and YouTube channel show you head to toe techniques for this.

  • Deborah Winchester says:

    Fantastic info as always Elisha, so much to absorb! Thank you for sharing.

  • Johan says:

    Fascia release every evening with the foam roller and basket ball for me, and whatever tools i need.

    Thanks for the detailed blog post

    And drink 2L+ water with added mineral salt of course every day

  • So how does the water we drink, get “drunk” by the cells? There’s a step I think I’m not getting? Thanks

    • Geo massage says:

      Osmosis

    • Hi Adjeley – the water you drink gets “drunk” by your cells like this: the cells pull water from the ECM (extracellular matrix) to hydrate themselves; the ECM absorbs the water you drink; when the ECM has a high concentration of HA, more of the water you drink is absorbed rather than getting peed out right away; and HA is synthesized within the ECM by Fasciacytes, the cell devoted to fascial gliding; Fasciacytes are activated through compression and shearing of fascial fibers (my theory). Hope that helps clarify!

      • Thanks Elisha for your response. OK I will continue to shear away and hopefully restore some elasticity to myself and my clients. Thanks for the gift of the way you break it all down into chewable pieces that I can absorb. Be well and blessed be!

  • KAREN DANCE says:

    What a machine we are. Fascial stage 2 for me. I get ” withdrawal” when I don’t keep it up when life gets super busy. Love the info. Thanks
    I share your sites with as many people as I can.
    Karen

    • Thank you Karen! Like everything healthy, we need to continue fascia release to maintain optimization…it’s not a one and done thing (just like eating healthy, moving our bodies, meditating etc). You’re doing great!

  • Carrie says:

    If people are wanting to look younger facially what would you recommend that works.You mentioned that in your article. We hear about collagen but does one massage their face alot?
    I heard one lady does this a fair bit and may help but I would think obsession may not be healthy either.
    Any thoughts regarding actual practices that work? Thank you

    “HA gives your fascia its plump, supple, soft, hydrated look and feel. If your HA stores never dwindled you would look 25 at age 80! Ladies – have you noticed how many face creams claim to contain HA?!”

    Thank you

    • Hey Carrie – yes, there is “facial yoga” which I think is what you’re talking about? I am with you in not believing obsession with youthfulness (external, as in “looks”) is healthy. Personally, I plan to embrace aging with as much acceptance and self love as I can. And while I am not a massive bio-hacker, I will also do my best to continue to pursue FEELING my best as I age. To me, feeling healthy, mobile, agile, strong, fluid etc is more important than looking young. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of advice about this for looking younger, other than – you could play around with some facial fascia release using your fingers. Maybe I’ll make a video about this 😉

  • Sally Sporer says:

    Hey Elisha,
    Long time since we’ve talked, but I am keeping up with the release work and just loved all you shared in this video. I’m definitely in the camp of dense, fibrous fascia that is dehydrated. My body needs and loves the release work on a regular/daily basis. I am keeping up with the self-help, seeing Jason and look forward to digging into the partner course as soon as my husband can join my body needs and loves the release work on a regular/daily basis. I am keeping up with the self-help, seeing Jason and look forward to digging into the partner course as soon as my husband can join in with me. Sending love and best wishes to you and Stephan ! Sally

    • Nice to hear from you Sally! I miss our group calls 🙁 It has me considering a monthly membership, though I’m not sure I have enough people to make it worthwhile for us all. I’m so glad you have Jason, and are loving the self help! Sending love your way too. XO

      • Sally Sporer says:

        Elisha, it’s good to hear from you too. You’re not the only one who misses our group calls. I’d be interested in a monthly membership if you get a large enough group to participate. In the meanwhile, thanks for all you keep sharing on Mobility Mastery. XOXO

  • scott carrigan says:

    Hello Elisha… I purchased the training and have applied the C&S technology almost daily since.
    I am very satisfied with my choice. The positive results are on going. In freaking credible.!!!
    It’s no exaggeration, ….mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally transformational. Energy level up
    Recovery time down. Performance levels increasing,
    Zero injuries And I have saved a ton of money.
    Very grateful and Very happy for the pointers to
    Learn, retain, maintain, and gain more health and wellbeing. 😉
    Thank you
    Scott
    Ps…. and I’m really just getting started…so exciting!
    I owe you one…!

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