What Is Fascia?
Nov 30, 2019
Fascia is something that is a mystery to most people and that's hardly surprising considering that until quite recently it was just as mysterious to scientists and researchers too.
Originally, during dissections of cadavers in the anatomy lab, fascia was regarded as little more than ‘packing material’ and discarded in order to get to the so-called “important structures” below. The First International Fascia Conference was held as recently as 2007 at Harvard Medical school and since then ongoing research has emphasized the importance of the role fascia plays in the body.
What Role Does Fascia Play In The Body?
As well as giving the body its shape and support, fascia is a medium of communication between all the systems of the body and is richly supplied with proprioceptive nerves that communicate with the brain. Due to its plasticity, fascia shapes our posture and movement, is both flexible and strong and fascial layers allow sliding and gliding to occur, preventing stiffness.
Tom Myers with his Anatomy Trains concept, identified 12 myo-fascial lines in the body replacing the idea that muscles work individually to move bones and describes the body as one neuro-myo-fascial web. He viewed the body as a dynamic structure that holds us upright by balancing tension and compression similar to the architectural concept of tensegrity. The bones float in tissue as opposed to forming a ‘frame” for the body.
How Do I Maintain Healthy Fascia?
Long term stuck fascia can compromise efficient movement patterns and create postural imbalances, but Pilates provides the necessary tools to address these issues. Moving in many different planes of movement including spinal movements, such as in Pilates helps to maintain the strength and flexibility of the fascia. Made up of approximately 70 percent water, fascia can become stiffer, dried out and more prone to cracking or tearing as we age, so staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help to prevent this. The water needs to be distributed throughout the fascia, which is why movement and Pilates are crucial for initiating this process. Rolling on foam rollers and balls can help to move the fascia encouraging the release of waste products and the replacement of water.
What Are Some Common Fascial Issues?
Plantar Fasciitis or heel pain is one of the most common foot problems and occurs when the thick band of fascia that runs along the sole from the heel to the toes becomes damaged resulting in inflammation, pain and stiffness. There are many varying causes of Plantar Fascitis such as ill-fitting shoes, high impact sports, a sedentary lifestyle, aging and obesity. Pilates and specialised foot exercises can really help with both the prevention and healing process of this debilitating condition.
A tight ITB or Iliotibial Band can cause many issues including knee pain. This band of fascia runs along the outer aspect of the thigh from the pelvis to the tibia and is as thick as the rubber in a car tyre. Keeping this fascia released allows the muscles that attach into it such as the gluteals to function more efficiently. Gentle rolling on a foam roller down the outside aspect of the thigh on a regular basis can help to keep the ITB released. Runners often experience tight ITB's so regular rolling can prevent future issues from occurring.
JS Mind Body Pilates Online provides all the necessary movements for maintaining fascial health so take the free 10 Day trial now
and you can begin the important process of caring for your fascia straight away!