Fascia is famous. Growing numbers of conferences, scholarly studies, magazine articles, exercise systems, and self-help books are dedicated to the new science of fascia, influencing chiropractic, acupuncture, osteopathy, sports conditioning, yoga, and of course, massage and manual therapy.
It is the Body’s Richest Sense Organ:
Our common sense of anatomy is that we know where we are and how we’re moving from our muscles. If our muscles are smart, the fascia is 10 times smarter; there are nine or ten times the sensory nerve endings in the fascia for every one sensory nerve ending in a muscle!
Fascia, is a densely woven, three-dimensional web of connective tissue that wraps every muscle fiber, every muscle bundle, every individual muscle, and every muscle group. It becomes the tendon that knits in to cover the bones. It covers and interpenetrates every nerve, artery, and vein, all of the internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain, and spinal cord as a single, continuous system.
Fascia distributes tension over and within every part of the body (Tensegrity). It coordinates every move of the body.
In addition to structural functions, fascia also plays a role in emotion and memory. Over time, stress, sadness, anxiety, traumatic experiences or memories and other strong emotional situations cause us to carry ourselves a certain way. These bio-mechanical patterns that we develop in association with specific memories and emotions cause the fascial tissue to “remember” and repeat or even hold as if the memory was happening now.
Healthy fascia is smooth slippery, makes smooth transitions: fast to respond and easily relaxes. It does not hurt, feel stuck, or tear.
Stress, Injuries, emotional traumas, repetitive strains (sports, long car rides, sitting at a desk looking down, holding a phone to your ear with your shoulder, etc.), scar tissue from surgery, lead to a decrease in the health of ones fascia (fascia has memory!).
Unhealthy fascia is gummy and dense—it adheres anatomical structures together, leading to restricted movement, pain, weakness, tendon and ligament tears, fatigue, decreased blood flow, muscular and postural imbalances, sometimes even malfunction of organs and nerves. If you have been diagnosed with a torn _____ (fill in the blank), you fall into this category.
Unfortunately, myo-fascial restrictions do not show up in any of the standard tests (X-rays, CAT scans, myelograms, electromyograms), so myo-fascial restrictions are being completely missed and/or misdiagnosed.