What is Fascia I hear you ask ?
Fascia is a continuous piece of fibrous material that wraps the body just underneath the skin. It is one of the least understood tissues in the body. Just as vital as bone and muscle, fascia permeates nearly every aspect of the human form. Healthy fascia is as important to well being as healthy muscles; fascial imbalances can lead to a host of physical problems, from chronic pain to limited range of motion.
In the broadest sense, fascia, (pronounced FASH-uh), is a thin layer of connective tissue that encases every muscle in your body. If you’ve ever cooked a chicken breast, you’ve seen fascia—it’s the thin, clear film on top of the meat, and also the clear tissue that connects the skin to the muscle (meat). However, there’s more to it than that; muscles themselves are made up of smaller bundles of fibers covered by fascia, and each individual muscle fiber is itself encapsulated in its own layer of fascia.
Imagine a handful of strands of spaghetti, with each individual strand wrapped in cling film. Then surround this bundle with another layer of film, combine several dozen of these bundles together, and seal the whole package. This is how your muscles are structured, and the fascia, including tendons and ligaments, is the “glue” that binds it all together. In fact, if you could remove all other tissues and leave just the fascia, it would conform exactly to the shape of all your muscles, organs, and connective tissue. It would be a perfect replica of your body.
Fascia, like other connective tissue, can change in response to repeated stress or injury. Just as tendons may thicken in response to repetitive motion or lifting heavy weights, fascia may thicken and stiffen in areas where it is repeatedly exposed to stress. This results in areas with less flexibility, and can contribute to limited range of motion and improper movement patterns. In time, all these factors can result in chronic pain and even injuries. Many conditions, such as frozen shoulder, have a fascial component. Other conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, in which the plantar fascia in the sole of the foot becomes inflexible and suffers micro-injury, are fascia-related. Fascia may also lose flexibility due to inactivity. Your muscles may get stiff when you sit or stay in any one position for too long, and your fascia does, too. These small restrictions can change the way you move and cause physical stress on different parts of your body that may kick off a cycle of injury.
New research is showing us just how important Fascia is in relation to the healthy use of our body. The fascial system requires hydration and not just from that glass of water you should be drinking as much as possible. Yes, you need to be hydrated, but if the connective tissue is bound up, then it's not getting that hydration. You have to work on your tissues to unbind the sticky bits in there. Movement hydrates your tissues. Varied movement and varied tempos will hydrate your tissues even more. Find movements that are the opposite of what you do in your day to day activities. For most of us this means lateral movements and higher intensity movement.
Consider that tight IT band you might have for a moment. Do you ever experience knee pain? Think they might be related? The answer could very well be yes. When one part of the body is under stress it effects all surrounding parts which in turn effect the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones around it. The domino effect begins via the fascia.Our understanding of the fascia and it's relationship with the rest of the body is growing as new research is published.
What I hope you take away from this is that your fascia is important, its hydration and pliability have a great effect on the overall health of your body. Using regular massage will help keep your fascia in good shape, and that in turn will effect the rest of your body, simply because it is all connected.
Regular massage will also give your body added flexibility and stretch, helping to reduce areas of stress and tension and free up areas where the body has developed some limitations in it's usual range of movement. Especially good to regenerate areas after operations and in conjunction with Physios, to realign scar tissue and help maintain a healthy flow of blood and oxygen around the body.
Book in today, here at Chorlton Massage and see what a difference a massage treatment can make.
Email:- email@example.com or text Craig on 07926 790607.
Many thanks to Wikipedia, Orthology.com and Krystyn Strother for the use of their information on this subject.)