What Is Fascia?
I'm so glad you asked!
As a Myofascial Release Therapist who has addressed fascial issues for nearly 2 decades, I’ve come to learn there are varying degrees of importance when it comes to answering this question depending on who is asking.
So let’s start with the basics.
Simply put, fascia is connective tissue. A giant, 3-dimensional web of connective tissue, in fact. It is EVERYWHERE in the body. From the head to the feet, from the muscles to the bones, from the skin to the cells, from the organs through all of the other systems in the body, there is fascia… connecting every ounce of your being.
If you are puzzled and thinking, “How have I never heard of fascia?”, you are not alone. But it’s not because you missed the fascia lesson in biology… it was never discussed.
If you are curious about how fascia may be affecting your health and well-being, hang on, because it is a wild exploration.
So what does fascia actually DO in the body? As we’ve discussed so far, this web of connective tissue is interwoven into every system in the body and it is the environment of every single cell. Besides the fact that fascia supports, connects, and gives structure to all of the other systems in the body, it is also an impressive communication system.
In a healthy state, fascia should be able to glide and slide around the other systems and structures in the body. Healthy fascia is a gel, fluid-like system that is light-filled and responsive to movement, allowing for a range of motion that lets you move with ease.
Through trauma, overuse, abuse, injury, disease, etc, the pliable, gliding and sliding, fluid-like, supportive web begins to change. It becomes thick and dense. Support becomes pressure. What was pliable becomes stuck.
And now your fascial web is putting pressure on sensitive structures, and you experience symptoms and pain due to fascial restrictions.
Symptoms From Fascial Restrictions
The list of physical and mental implications due to fascial restrictions is long. Because of the nature of the fascial system literally touching every single structure and cell in the body, fascial restrictions can be causing the most common of symptoms or wreak havoc in very obscure ways.
Common physical pain caused by fascial restrictions:
- Back or neck pain
- Muscle pain
- Stiffness and tension
- Limited mobility/ lack of range of motion
- Excessive fatigue
- Pelvic pain/ women’s health issues
Even mental issues can be related to fascia:
- Mental angst
- Excessive worry
- Over stimulated mind
- Under motivated
- Mental fatigue
- Facial pressure/jaw clenching from mental stimulation
- Nervous system fatigue
Fascial restrictions can cause a case of the Spiritual Flu as well:
- Spiritual stagnation
- Loss of direction
- Looking to others for your answers
- Not trusting your inner voice
- Habitually falling into the same patterns
More Than Symptoms
It’s safe to say addressing fascial restrictions can lead to the root cause of your physical issues. Many people enter the world of Myofascial Release and Myofascial Self-Care because of pain. And end up staying for the sheer fascination of discovering their fascial system.
Because what you can open up to is so much greater than resolving symptoms. It is truly a way to discover more about yourself. You decide how deep you want to go! That is the beauty of fascia!
So, what have you done for your Fascia Lately?
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