What is Fascia?

And why is it so important?

Fascia

A fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Like ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons, fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers oriented in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. It is consequently flexible and able to resist great unidirectional tension forces until the wavy pattern of fibers has been straightened out by the pulling force (1).
 

It is the neuromuscular pathway that not only allows our muscles to connect and move with each other but hydrates, circulates and forms the structures for our posture. Fascia can be thought of as a web-like connective tissue that innervates and ties all of the body's systems and parts together into one cohesive unit. It is a vital and severely neglected part of human anatomy.

How does this affect our health?

When our connective tissue, the fascia, becomes damaged, the normal formation of the webbing becomes distorted in a number of ways. These fascial distortions or adhesions, which are dehydrated and dense tissue,  prevent the normal functions that allow our bodies to operate at full efficiency. We should be able to full circulate blood from head to fingertips to toes, move freely without pain or inhibition, hydrate our muscles and organs fully, expel toxins, intake nutrients, breath deeply to our full lung capacity, and many more normal bodily functions. The entire system becomes increasingly degenerated over time leading to a number of preventable diseases and symptoms.

According to the American Fascial Distortion Model Association (2), there are 6 principle types of fascial distortions, each with its own body language, signature presentation and likely outcome with and without Fascial Distortion Model treatments.

Those include:
Triggerband (TB) - most common, twisted or wrinkled fascia along structures comprised primarily of linear fibers (fascial bands, ligaments, tendons)
Herniated Triggerpoints (HTP) - Abnormal protrusions of tissue though a fascial plane, top of shoulder, deep in glute, edge of scapula, deep in tissues of arm and thigh, and the pelvic floor
Continuum Distortion (CD) - Alteration of transition zone b/w ligament, tendon, or other fascia and bone, hurts in one specific spot, can occur alone or there may be many
Folding Distortion (FD) - Three-dimensional alteration of fascial plane, common in tissue around joints, "an aching pain deep in the joint", joints that tend to swell/ache when weather changes
Cylinder Distortion (CyD) - overlapping of cylindric coils of fascia, cause pain in non-jointed areas, responsible for symptoms like tingling, numbness, jumping pain, weakness ; can spread and jump to seemingly unrelated areas of the body
Tectonic Fixation (TF) - Inability of fascial surfaces to glide, frozen shoulders, stiff backs, stiff joints

How Are Fascial Adhesions Formed?

These distortions are formed from stress, poor posture, shallow breathing, unhealthy lifestyles and diets, sports injuries, and repetitive stress injuries. The distortions or adhesions vary in size and type depending on the type of injury or dysfunction that caused them, the length of time since the adhesion formed, and any additional damage that has occurred since.
 

Some of these include but are not limited to:
● Recent or old whiplash injuries
● Lower back stiffness/pain
● Rotator cuff problems
● IT Band syndrome/patellar tracking dysfunction
● Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer's or tennis elbow)
● Shin splints
● Torticollis (wry-neck)
● Plantar fasciitis
● Scoliosis (functional)

● Repetitive Movements

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Throwing Sports

  • Driving one arm

  • Manual labor

  • Typing

  • Phone Thumb

● Excessive Sitting

  • Car

  • Office

  • Home

  • School

Fascial Damage and effects on hydration

Dehydration causes a myriad of issues.
● Fatigue
● Constipation
● High Blood Pressure
● High Cholesterol
● Digestive Disorder
● Asthma and Allergies
● Acid-alkaline Imbalance
● Weight Gain
● Skin Disorders
● Joint Pain and Stiffness
● Premature Aging
● Bladder or Kidney Problems

With extensive fascial distortions and adhesions, the tissue becomes dense, poorly circulated, dehydrated and tight. Proper hydration cannot occur regardless of how much water you may drink if the connective tissue is damaged. This is how you can feel thirsty and lethargic drinking a gallon of water a day. With Fascial Retensioning, damaged tissue is broken up and circulation is restored along with oxygen flow to previously deadened tissue.

The importance of breathing

When Fascia becomes tight and restricted our posture becomes restricted and limited as well. This in
turn causes our breathing to become shallow and limited. The diaphragm can not expand because the connective tissue lining the intercoastal muscles prevent our rib cage from being able to expand to their full capacity. This poor postural position is part of a vicious cycle of tightened connective tissue causing poor postural alignment, restricted breathing, limited circulation, and dehydration leading to even tighter “adhered” fascia.

Consequently fascia needs proper oxygen supply to the adhered connective tissue in order to
break up and release the scarred, distorted and damaged areas. This is why Fascial Restoration has developed and implemented a specific breathing technique for clients to use during sessions not only to
provide oxygen to release these poorly circulated areas but also to restore the body's natural
breathing function and capacity.

How do we heal fascia?

The main limitation of conventional western medicine is the fragmented consensus that the various systems of our body operate independently of each other. As a result, the medical industry has these systems segmented into separate specializations that have no correlation to each other. While changes to lifestyle, diet, and daily habits will prevent regression in the future, non-invasive reviving of the fascial tissue will be required for a period of time to be determined by a physical assessment and consultation. 

This is where Fascial Retensioning comes in. Fascial Retensioning is a manual manipulation of the various layers of fascial tissue and the surrounding area. Unlike most manual therapies Fascial Retensioning aims at the root cause of the dysfunctions that caused the symptoms i.e. the fascial damage and corresponding preventable disorders. The goal is to address the main cause of the dysfunctions that will radiate to the referred areas of pain and fascial distortions. This process provides long term relief, improved posture and revival of the other systems of the body that have been affected by the connective tissue damage.

 

Rolfing vs Fascial Retensioning?

Now, you may be thinking of Manual Trigger Point Therapy, also know as Rolfing. The general idea is very similar, but the techniques that we use are different. We treat all the way through the 3 layers of fascia. Superficial Fascia, which is associate with the skin must be loosened and stretched to allow blood flow through. That blood flow allows us to reach and treat Deep Fascia, which is associated with the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels, much more effectively and with significantly less pain. At this point the third layer, your Visceral Fascia, which is associated with your internal organs, has healed itself for the most part, which allows for manual manipulation of that depth to be much less intense, and in turn, more relaxing.

Another difference is that Rolfing goes through a Ten-Series where session 1-3 is to loosen the most superficial layers, sessions 4-7 are core treatments from pelvis to head, and sessions 8-10 is integration of all the work done to achieve structural integration.

We go through a different process through the body that is more efficient in releasing fascia and pain throughout the body. It is tailored to each person depending on the level and location of damage, however we believe that the sinuses, neck, and chest, which allow full breathing capacity and blood flow to the brain, are most important to allow proper release once we work on other parts of the body. Fascia and muscles cannot release without proper oxygen supply.

Our hips are our foundation of movement. They support the weight of our body and tell our brain which muscles to stabilize and/or mobilize. One of most common surgical procedure for older adults and the elderly is a hip replacement. Our lifestyles today do not cater to our hip health. Most of us sit constantly throughout the day, whether its in our office working, or in a car driving, or in a waiting room, etc. We take great importance in healing the hips and surrounding area as once the foundation is stable and secure, the rest of the structure will be able to build on top of it securely, and more importantly, maintain that structure.

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