The Fascia System

by | Apr 24, 2020 | Yoga

The site of pain is not always the site of the injury.


In our latest installment of learning something new at home, let’s talk fascia!!!!!! (thanks to the request/recommendation from one student!)    This is a HUGE topic, so I will do my best to communicate what I know to help you in your day to day life!
“Fascia tissue is a sticky, web-like substance that attaches underneath the skin and is literally everywhere in the body.  It both separates and connects the muscles and the organs, bones, veins, and brain.  It runs from head to toe, fingertip to fingertip, surface to deep.  It has qualities like plastic wrap and can be likened to a giant spider web.  Some have described the way it runs throughout your body like a system of highways on a U.S. map, with roads and complicated interchanges.  It’s not just on top of everything; it’s under, in between, and throughout everything. If we were to extract the fascia system from the body fully intact, it would look just like a 3D cotton candy mummy.  It exists as one single unit without interruption, penetrating, connecting, and separating every single part of the body. ”  Ashley Black
Fun Facts:
  • Fascia LOVES movement
  • Fascia LOVES you to be hydrated
  • If your biomechanics (movement patterns) are pretty crappy, your fascia comes to the rescue to hold everything in place.  That is its job, and it does a damn good job, but we don’t want it to accumulate all on one area.  For example, a Dowagers hump is a collection of fascia that collects at the back of the neck if someone’s heavy head is tipped too far forward for too long.  The fascia comes to the rescue to help hold the neck in place.   The problem?  The fascia doesn’t have the same blood flow as muscles, and nerve function gets cut off.   Using the actual muscles is so much better!!!!
  • Fascia is like duct tape all throughout the body, so it can ball up and grab and trap things like toxins, lactic acid, medications and food additives.  That doesn’t even include the emotions trapped in those areas!
  • Working your fascia stimulates nerve activity and activates blood flow which awakens the unused portion of muscle.   Newly accessed muscle fibers that haven’t been used in a while are tired, weak and droopy.
  • Tight fascia disguises a muscle weakness.  For example, if your hip is unstable, the brain will tighten and clamp down around the hips to stabilize.  Something has to come in and save the day!
  • Tight fascia can pull you out of alignment and cause restrictions elsewhere in the body.  For example, if you pull a sheet on one end, it will affect the rest of the sheets evenness.   It’s the reason someone can have a structural adjustment, then the next day be right back to where they started; the tight fascia pulls the body back out of alignment.
  • When you reveal a weak atrophied muscle, that may have been asleep for years, you pump the area so full of blood that muscle fibers can grow.    When you re-establish blood flow and neurological connection, it can help tone the muscle.
  • If fascia is locked down, it’s the body way of screaming at you, which equals to PAIN sensations. In other words, “Stop what you are doing and pay attention to me!!!  Let’s figure this out together!”
  • Whatever you do from the outside, nothing will help until you have proper blood flow on the inside.   (think face creams – you can put as much as you want on your skin from the outside, but until you massage the face and work the tissue, it won’t have the blood flow to keep the skin with healthy collagen to deliver vital nutrients to the cells).
  • There are four types of fascia and even though they are connected as one, but are found in different parts of the body, with different compositions.
  • Your body is made up of more than 37 trillion cells (blood, skin, muscle, and fascia). These cells are organized into systems.  Fascia is a communication system that interacts with ALL the systems of the body.    What is cool is that if you were to look at the matrix of a body and the organs, it is a web of fascia that holds up things like our organs.  They don’t just suspend in space!
  • Heating up fascia (sun, infrared sauna, exercising) changes the properties of it, making it more pliable to do manual therapy.  

  • Collagen fibers that lie down after a cut, injury or surgery, can be thick and quite uneven if not taken care of.  That is why massaging and stretching the area, getting blood flow to the surface of the skin, and activating the nerves are important to avoid thick adhesions.
  • We want springy complaint fascia, so it can respond and adapt to our movement better.

This picture was a game changer for me.   What we don’t see underneath the skin is good blood flow to a muscle.  It is being choked out by poor patterned fascia that is taking over the function of the muscle, but not functioning like a proper muscle does.

More resources:
Video:  The Fuzz Speech (disclaimer- A cadaver is used in the video)
Enjoy your discoveries!
Lisa 😉
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