F is for Fascia

Since becoming a soft tissue therapist I’ve become more and more interested in fascia, its role in the body and what a therapist, can do to effect it.

Fascial release is a powerful treatment in restoring range of movement and you may like to know more about how  it can help you.

What is fascia and where is it?

Your superficial fascia lies just under your skin and contains dense connective tissue as well as fat. It provides shock absorption, space for accumulation of fluids and metabolites, stores fat and provides insulation.

Your deep fascia is unified, communicating network of dense tissue, containing collagen and elastin fibres and ground substance, which is gel like fluid.  It’s like a body stocking which connects and surrounds your muscles, joints, organs and brain, holding them in interconnected pockets.  It contributes to the shape and function of your body; stabilises posture and is subject to the constant pull of gravity. It is shaped and affected by patterns of activity and occupation.  Stress, injury, surgery and inflammation all affect it and can cause distortions which can affect areas of the body quite distant to the site of the restriction (or ‘snag’).

So how does it get stuck and affect my movement?

We spend a lot of our days now, sitting at desks and at home which means fascia can become ‘stuck’ and unable to glide between the muscles freely.  Think about how you feel stiff after getting up from sitting at your desk for several hours or maybe first thing in the morning when you get up!  Sitting for long periods in the same position means that the fascia can thicken, reinforcing poor posture.   In this great video ‘The Fuzz Speech’ Gil Hedley explains how important movement is and what happens when the ‘fuzz’ builds up. (Warning before watching the video contains images of cadavers.)

https://youtu.be/_FtSP-tkSug

So after watching the video you can see how important movement is and how we can ‘unstick’ some of these areas naturally, but sometimes those areas become too stuck, thicken and need a helping hand (fascial release) to unstick them and break down the thickened areas.

What can a soft tissue therapist do?

The techniques used by a soft tissue therapist can break down ‘the fuzz’ between muscles and allow the gel like substance within fascia to become more fluid so the muscles can once again glide and move freely like they should. What’s more, these techniques start to have an effect straight away and can continue to work for 2 or 3 hours after your treatment.   If your injury is the result of postural habits or repetitive strains this movement will allow you to begin exercises or make postural changes to bring about long term improvement.

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