Get to know your FASCIA: 6 critical roles of connective tissue and the ECM

Fascia is the most abundant tissue in the human body. Fascia (otherwise known as connective tissue) wraps every nerve ending, every fibril of muscle tissue, every fiber and muscle bundle; it turns into tendon and forms your ligaments; it wraps your bones and organs…basically it is everywhere! Fascia is meant to be elastic and flexible and able to move with you through life. However, most adults have unhealthy fascia because we haven’t learned to take care of it starting when we’re young.

Through overuse, underuse, stress, trauma, repetitive motion and daily habits your fascia loses its elasticity. When this happens it loses its water content and gets “sticky”, creating a velcro-like effect where neighboring pieces of fascia begin to glue together.

When fascia gets unhealthy (it can become dehydrated, brittle, thick, stringy, ropey or adhesed in balls to name just a few possibilities), fascia can restrict blood flow through your body, block the flow of nerve communication, irritate muscles, pinch or compress nerves and stress your joints. One or more of these scenarios is enough to cause a pain signal, and whether you get a pain signal or not is dependent on your nervous system and neurology.

Fascia has some really important roles to play in your body:

Fascia is a separator and connector – separating all your different parts from each other, while also connecting them: muscles to bones to nerves to blood to organs, head to toe, brain to gut and back again.

Fascia responds to chemical messengers like stress or fear, and can contract independent of muscle tissue to protect you.

Fascia contains something called the ECM or extracellular matrix, which is composed of collagen and glycoproteins. The ECM is the superhighway in your body for communication between brain and body, as well as between different cells in your body. The ECM takes waste excreted from cells and ushers it out of the body. There are a ton of roles within the ECM alone, and I won’t go into all of them here.

Fascia needs to be watery and fluid, allowing muscles and fascial fibers to GLIDE. When you have fascial glide you have efficient, fluid movement and are less likely to get injured.

There’s also a massive relationship between fascia and your lymph system – your lymph system lives within the superficial fascia (the fascia closest to your skin). So healthy fascia is critical for being able to detox effectively.

Ahhhh! Fascia has so many important roles. These are just a few.

What is your #1 takeaway from this video? Which of these roles do you think is having either an impact on your health and well being? How can you support your fascia, so your fascia can support you?

Share your thoughts below!

  • Cheryll Evans says:

    Love the comments as well As someone who has pretty much always had chest pain on the left side and suffering severely from shin splints at the moment I am willing to try anything. Have fibromyalgia which is well well controlled but I am sure contributes to lots of my muscle issues

  • Shannon says:

    I am so interested in this Fascia thing!! I would also like to know how to hydrate the Fascia.
    I have had so many weird symptoms over the last 20 years, I’ve sort of figured out that I have some type of Connective Tissue Disease, but I am now thinking I could solve my issues with everything I’m learning about the whole topic of Fascia release/hydration, etc. Keep the info flowing! My mother in law has horrible back pain & is now seeing a therapist who is working on her Fascia release & she is feeling so much better already.

    • Hey Shannon, the hydration thing is really about opening the fascia in a specific way, by shearing the stuck fascial fibers. This activates new fasciacytes, which in turn synthesize hyaluronic acid…which in turn imbibes the water you drink, hydrating your fascia and providing water on tap for your cells, which procure their water from the ECM (fascia).

      • Ann Marie Falkman says:

        Elisha – are u saying that the only reason for the body not to be properly hydrated no matter how much water u drink is because of tight fascia? (I thought there was some biochemical reason..).
        Loved the informative video!

  • cliff says:

    another over looked point is your psychological make up. who are you to you .I found out that a prime candidate for this condition is person with co-dependency we give of ourselves and take on others dark energy in order to save them at the cost of our own health. overtime our nervous system sees every thing as as fear and stares to act in response to it It cant take any more it is in overload IF we add to it over done athletics and repetitive wok patterns which can cause the FASCIA to be compromised and later on these are the ares where the pain will come when the FASCIA concludes that the environment is not safe. conclusion get help to see who you are your personality traits
    get your self out of any stressful jobs, relationships that turn your pain on
    become sensitive to your environment and make your home a place you feel safe . i have balloons
    all over my house as a example
    get a sauna and clean out the junk i have one and it has help me as a positive routine in my daily life
    i believe that the release lies within our belief systems i will write more on this as time permits me

  • Patty says:

    Recently diagnosed with myofascial syndrome

    Most interested in how to hydrate fascia and the lymph system connection.

    Is there a diet that best supports fascia?


  • Betty says:

    Your video turned in a lightbulb as to why cranio sacral combines so well with fascia release. Especially the part about emotions snd safety being responded to by fascia, independent of physical stressors.
    I share your fascination for fascia. Thanks for your videos

  • Karen Tucci says:

    How do you hydrate the fascia?

  • This morning I was thinking I wanted to know what on earth fascia was actually made from and that I would research that.

    How awesome that was answered today. Thank you.
    I still think there’s more you’ll be learning and teaching all of us because there’s some other something that makes it so incredibly strong. My guess as a newbie to all of this – is keratin (a subject I have studied with great interest, too!)

    Your six points of fascia overview hit all points for me in my own going journey back to well being – especially the lymphatic system. When you mentioned “ropey” in connection with hardened fascia it put a few more puzzle pieces together for me since years ago during a breast exam the nurse-practitioner used that adjective to describe what she felt under the skin and I vividly recall she noted that on the left side….

    This is really relevant to each of us navigating our wholeness.

    Now that I have studied the lymph system ad-nauseum, I know one of the largest “lymph ports” of drainage is in the left mid-chest region…right about where one might pin a piece of jewelry on a shirt, as a way to describe the spot.

    I have had great compassion for folks on blogs with left chest pain left unexplained by health care professionals. Sadly, usually those folks are considered hypochondriacs – a shaming name allopathic medicine likes to stamp on patients when they are inept and uncaring about getting to the bottom of a patients problem.

    Ths is shameful for allopathic medicine, not for nice folks trying to feel better. (Don’t get me started????)

    Quite clearly this mid left chest disconcerting pain is fascia getting our attention in that critical area! Wish I had the time to tell the wonders uncovered in my lymph research and personal experiences….

    So, what to do about THAT, lovely lady?

    We know breast injury can CAUSE cancer. So how do we release fascia there, without doing ourselves harm?

    (By the way, you can’t make videos too long for me! I am smitten with my newly discovered fascia!)

    Warm Regards And Hugs To You


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