This is our 8th and FINAL #FastFasciaFacts episode! Thank you so much for nerding out with me the last 8 weeks. If you’re looking for previous episodes, search YouTube for #FastFasciaFacts and you’ll see the previous episodes.
Our final episode packs a punch 🙂
I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed creating it for you.
Fun fascia facts:
- Tendons and ligaments are fascia (connective tissue) – denser more fibrous, but still fascia.
- Fascia contains a multitude of – and prioritizes responses to – interoceptors. You have more interoceptors within your fascia than proprioceptors (and you have 10 times as many proprioceptors in your fascia than muscle fiber, so this is a LOT of interoceptors!)
- Optimal fascia is made of up to 70% water.
Why the above matters:
1. Tendon and ligament injuries (like tendonitis or tendonosis, or ligament tears like the ACL in the knee, etc) are a huge part of common injuries experienced by human beings. Often, these injuries are treated in western medicine as exclusively relevant to the injured tissue without taking into consideration its relationship to the whole. Take tendonosis for example: it is described as a chronic condition involving the deterioration or decline in collagen within the tendon. Common western medical opinion is that tendons take a long time to heal because blood flow to them is so slow. In the case of ligament tears (like the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL in the knee joint), the common medical theory is the injury is typically caused by twisting or repetitive pounding movements (think basketball, running or soccer), and can be prevented with strength training and more rest.
Here’s the thing:
Tendons and ligaments are fascia…much more fibrous and dense than the kind of fascia found in the muscle belly. However, it’s critical to remember that tendons form FROM within a muscle belly – all the fascia that wraps a given muscle’s fibrils and fibers, bundles and the whole muscle group come out of that musculature and attach to a given bony attachment site. Ligaments are more “free formed,” forming from and attaching to your bones. In my opinion, ligaments will take longer to heal than tendons for this reason, while tendons can heal very rapidly with fascia release of the musculature it originates within (please remember this is my opinion and clinical experience, not medical science). Still – ligaments can heal a lot faster than western science assumes, when you effectively release the fascia surrounding the ligament/joint.
Take the case of tendonosis above: collagen exists within the fascia that is your tendon, and also outside of it in the extracellular matrix. Your tendons need to have access to that ECM to self repair. Your ECM needs access fresh blood to replenish itself. You learned in a previous episode about the difference between fasciacytes and fibroblasts. It’s the fibroblasts that synthesize collagen, and fibroblasts respond to pinning and stretching (while I theorize that fasciacytes respond to loaded compression and “shearing” of the fascial fibers).
In both cases (ligament and tendon injuries), what they need is blood, and a healthy ECM surrounding the injured area. They need hyaluronic acid, which we talked about in a previous episode too, to heal rapidly. HA is synthesized by the fasciacyte. As you can (hopefully) see, your tendons and ligaments don’t exist in a vacuum, they are part of a larger system and beholden to the health and rules at play within the entire system.
If you want healthy tendons and ligaments, maintain healthy fascia throughout your entire body. And if you want to heal an injury, release as much fascia around that joint or tendon/ligament as possible.
2. Interoception is your felt sense (sensory perception) of everything that happens inside your body, and consists of feeling sensations like hunger, warmth, cold, feeling at home or ill at ease etc. Interoceptors are free nerves endings (non myelinated, like proprioceptors). Because these are free nerve endings, there’s a delay in processing the message between your body and brain. This has a lot to do with YOU. Proprioceptors are constantly detecting your physical body in space, and in relation to itself (your alignment of shoulders over hips for example) and they conduct movement. According to Dr. Schleip, a fascia researcher in Europe, 80% of the peripheral nerves found in fascia are free nerve endings, and of those 90% are interoceptors! Why are there SO many more interoceptors in your fascia than other kinds? I believe it’s because we are built for self-consciousness, or self-awareness. You can’t have a personal “awakening” without interoception; you can’t become a self aware or more conscious individual without interoceptors working to help you understand yourself.
Whether you feel at home in your body or at war with it will certainly be felt on that interoceptive level.
If those nerve endings exist in such rich quantity in your fascia, do you think they impact your fascia? I believe they do.
I believe what you FEEL about yourself and your level of self-awareness will profoundly affect the quality of your fascia…which in turn impacts the quality of your life. You may even become “psychic!” Or at least, you could prevent illness and disease (watch the video for full explanation). I also believe this interoception network within your fascia is largely the place from which your intuition, instincts and spiritual wisdom attempt to talk to you.
3. You are made of more water than any other substance – anywhere from 55-70%, depending on gender, age, lean muscle to fat ratios etc. The average is considered to be 60%. When you were a newborn baby, you were as much as 93% water!! What?! No wonder babies look so plump and are so physically resilient. Human beings need water for a few primary functions according to science: as a solvent for the transportation of nutrients; to facilitate excretion; temperature regulation; joint lubrication and shock absorption. I would like to add I believe it also serves to transmit energy (like thoughts, emotions, sensations, instincts and intuitions both subconscious and conscious) throughout your body with rapid speed. Most of this water LIVES in your fascial system, primarily in the extracellular matrix which consists of 70% water (the rest is collagen and glycoproteins etc). You need a certain amount of water to exist at all times WITHIN your cells (intracellular hydration) or you would die. Cellular dehydration means potential death. Your cells OBTAIN the water they need from the water that exists in the ECM, which in turn imbibes it from the water you drink (remember: hyaluronic acid imbibes water). So cellular hydration is dependent on fascial hydration. I’ve been saying for years than healthy fascia is your best shock absorption system, and the science backs this up. If your fascia is dehydrated, you cannot absorb impact (energy) without potential damage.
In order for you and your body to achieve and maintain homeostasis – the proper balance of physical and chemical conditions to sustain life – you need healthy fascia that contains a high water content.
The higher the better (not to be confused with water intoxication, caused by drinking too much water at once, which can actually kill you). You need well hydrated cells, and a well hydrated extracellular matrix – both of which become optimally hydrated when your fascial system is optimized.
THIS WATER + HA/COLLAGEN is also what absorbs mechanical stress coming into the body, creating a very effective shock absorption system.
And finally, I believe this high water content allows your CONSCIOUSNESS to travel at top speed, creating faster “processing” of information coming to and from (and through!) your body. When you have a high water content combined with an empowered self consciousness (self awareness or “I” consciousness) you may even change your molecular structure, vibrating at a higher frequency than if you were more fibrous, dense and material in nature.
Please share your thoughts below!