I am pleased to announce my new e-book Connect: A Practical Guide to Fascia is now available for purchase online. But first, let's take a look at the article that inspired it all!
What IS Fascia?
What is Fascia and how does it work?
Fascia (pronounced fash-ee-uh) is composed of an elasto-collagenous complex. This complex creates a three-dimensional web in the body without interruption. It can be described as a mobile connective tissue that envelops the body from the top of the head to the tips of the toes.
Fascia surrounds and permeates every organ, muscle, bone, and blood vessel superficially
and down to the cellular level. It serves to work as a support system in the body and to protect its structures.
Picture the skeletal system, aka the skeleton. Our skeletal system cannot hold up without soft
tissue, meaning that without our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia we would just be a
bag of bones. Fascia is the matrix that holds everything together and yet separates it at the
same time to create space and functionality.
Objectives to Attain in Fascia Therapy
Understanding the basic anatomy of fascia is especially important for massage therapists
because every massage has a direct effect on the fascial system, even if that was not the
intention of your massage and even if you are using massage oil.
As soon as you touch or apply pressure on the body, the fascia recoils. When you release that
pressure and let it go, the fascia elongates, and the tissue will be longer after the release. This spring-like action is due to the hydraulic effect occurring in the collagen and elastin fibers. The collagen fibers are pliable yet tough, while the elastin fibers are expansible and at the core of the complex. These fibers are gelatinous and create a wavy impression when touched; therefore, the effect that massage therapy has just on the derma is significant.
It is also important to understand the different layers of fascia, which come in three main types: superficial, deep, and visceral. Superficial fascia is related to the outermost layer, mostly the skin, while the deep fascia surrounds more profound tissues, such as the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Finally, visceral fascia is related to all the organs and all the different systems the fascia holds together, such as the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the digestive system. Each layer is stacked on top of the other with a sheath wrapped around each member. I bet a simple effleurage does not seem so dull anymore!
I describe more about each layer in my e-book Connect: A Practical Guide to Fascia.
Contraindications of a Myofascial Release
There are occasions when it is contraindicated to touch the area; the reason being that a
person may have a condition that may become aggravated by the application of the massage.
The first sign of this may be regional and topical, such as an open wound, a suture, an
infection, or a healing fracture. In such cases, avoid the region and move superior to the
affected area—there are no restrictions to massaging other surrounding parts of the body.
However, you are restricted in performing any type of massage therapy or fascia therapy when there is an acute life-threatening problem, such as an aneurysm, pneumonia, or stroke.
Benefits of Fascia Therapy
The touch used during a fascia therapy session is a gentle, sustained pressure to be held until the myofascia releases. The many benefits of this intuitive touch include:
Releasing of holding patterns in the body and releasing of endorphins.
Identifying lines of tension.
Releasing adhesions and restrictions.
Transporting metabolic material through the body.
Helping to handle trigger points.
Dispersing restrictions from area to area in the body, creating openings.
Changes the molecular structure on a cellular level through the wavy impressions created in fascia therapy.
Enhancements to the body’s ability to self-heal.
As we can see, fascia is a very complex network that holds the body together. It can change in size, shape, and depth according to stress and tension factors. It responds to even the lightest level of touch and brings awareness of the body through touch. My final piece of advice (for now) when applying pressure to the fascia system is that you can never go too deep, only too fast.
If this article was a great introduction for you to understanding the vast fascia system or whether you are an already experienced massage therapist, bodyworker, yogi or fitness professional, then this book is for you!
Connect: A Practical Guide to Fascia is an educational guide including a practical section on how to perform a full-length massage using only fascia therapy techniques. I also discuss the different elements of connective tissue, pathologies of connective tissue, proprioception, and the power of intention. I hope you enjoy your copy, please like and spread the word, every share counts and would mean so much to me!
Available for purchase right here on thebodyblog.ca/shop.
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Finally, I want to thank everyone who helped with this e-book including Massage Magazine, my editor, my beautiful colleagues, and most of all, my always helpful husband. Thank you so much.