Why Fascia Matters
10 years ago the yoga world was all about core. Now, it seems that fascia is coming up more and more. Conversations amongst my yoga teacher friends and an abundance of fascia vocabulary getting thrown around in classes that I have been going to. Problem is nobody is really talking about what it is, how it functions, or what it does and doesn't do. Below, you will find a brief explanation of what fascia is and why it matters to you and your overall wellbeing.
Most of what you will hear about the fascia is that it is a continuous piece of fibrous material that wraps the body just underneath the skin. This is true of the superficial fascia but it is important, even for a basic understanding, to know that the fascia is much more than that. The fascia weaves its way into the body and forms the architecture for the soft tissue deep inside. Fascia connects muscles to bone and bones to bones by way of tendons and ligaments, respectively. It helps hold your organs in place and even helps support the bones of the spine via your spinal discs.
Fascia is everywhere, and new research is showing us just how important it is in relation to the healthy use of our body.
Hydrate Your Insides...
The fascial system requires hydration and not just from that glass of water that I know is sitting next to you right now :). Yes, you need to be hydrated, but if the connective tissue is bound up it's not getting that hydration. You have to work on your tissues to unbind the sticky bits in there. Myo-fascial work and Structural Integration are two of my favorite ways.
Put Your Right Foot In, Put Your Right Foot Out...
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.
The Leg Bone Is Not Connected To the Hip Bone...
Well, it is but via the fascia and the tensegrity model. This model is important for us to understand as it shows how important the fascia is to the overall health and wellbeing of our muscles and bones. This really is where the meat of why fascia matters is. Think about that tight IT band you might have for a moment. Do you ever experience knee pain? Think they might be related? How about that little fender bender you were in years ago and got whiplash? Do you experience neck or shoulder pain today? Think those 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. Vary your movements and allow yourself long stretches like a yin or restorative yoga class at your local studio/gym.