Imagine your skin is like the rind or outside peel of an orange. Underneath is a thicker, white fibrous layer that lies almost immediately beneath the peel. This layer is what is referred to as the Fascia in humans and animals alike.
Just as that thicker layer completely surrounds the inside of the orange, the same holds true to your own body’s Fascia.
We all have a layer of Fascia directly beneath the skin that completely envelopes the body giving another protective barrier between the skin and the deeper soft tissue.
The vitality and strength of your Fascia is the key to good health and synergy throughout each system of your body.
How does Fascia affect you?
Fascia provides a protective sheath around your entire body as a whole and also surrounds each organ and muscle for protection from outside trauma. Fascia also plays an important supportive role to the musculoskeletal system by enabling you to perform functional activities like going from sitting to standing and being able to walk, jump and run.
Blood, nerves, and muscles are enveloped and penetrated by Fascia, allowing your muscles and organs to glide smoothly against each other. Fascial adhesions and distortions can cause poor blood flow, weaker nerve impulses, limited flexibility and range of motion as well as a host of other physical ailments.
Pain and Fascia
Chronic pain, tightness and discomfort are likely caused by unnecessarily distorted or impaired Fascia. Distortions in Fascia can pull, twist and compress the body into misalignment reducing one’s range of movement which can cause poor posture, discomfort and pain.
Studies show that Fascial tension in one structure – such as the knee – can cause tension or issues in adjacent structures such as the hip or ankle. Some common conditions include Plantar Fasciitis, IT Band Syndrome and Frozen Shoulder, which are all attributed to distortions in the body’s Fascia.
Nerves & Fascia
When the Fascia is tight it can constrict the nerves and actually block off the nerve signal! The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS: The nervous system that controls bodily functions not directed by conscious thought – i.e. breathing) is directly connected and has innervation with the body’s Fascial system.
Blood & Fascia
The Fascia facilitates the flow of your circulatory system. Veins and arteries run through the Fascia and if the Fascia is tight or adhered, it causes restriction – like a kink in a garden hose. This can lead to poor blood flow, which means less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to your cells.
Have you ever been sitting with your legs crossed and your leg falls asleep? Are your feet and hands constantly cold? This is due to tight Fascia clamping down and impeding the blood flow.
There is a solution.. keep reading..
Skin & Fascia
The condition of your skin can be affected by the state of your Fascia. There aren’t many people who understand the impact of blood and Fascia and how they relate to the quality of the skin. Elastin and Collagen are two proteins which are essential to maintaining healthy, youthful skin. Nutrients are carried through the blood to the skin and when the Fascia is distorted it limits the supply of these proteins. This can cause a decrease in cell turnover which is responsible for the natural healthy glow we all strive to maintain.
Many people try to treat their skin from the outside when it’s what’s going on inside that determines the overall health of the skin. If you want youthful, healthy skin, take care of your fascia and keep the blood flowing!
Cellulite & Fascia
Believe it or not, even those pesky dents and dimples that we all know as “cellulite” are also due to unhealthy Fascia! Most people think cellulite is purely caused by excess body fat when in reality it is caused by distortions in your connective tissue – aka. your Fascia! When the Fascia is adhesed it can pull the skin inward and as the fat pushes through the Fascia it creates the dents and crevices we call “cellulite”.
Anyone of any age, size, fitness level or body type can have smooth skin if they have healthy Fascia.
Whether you are the poster child of healthy living or suffer from a serious health condition, we all do little things every day that can negatively impact our fascia. Most of us are unaware that the way we walk, stand, and even sit can hurt our Fascia. Each step you take with poor form or symmetry will create a micro trauma in the body that your Fascia will have to compensate for.
If you have an old injury that never properly healed, your Fascia is working hard to make up for the imbalance.
Fascia is protective by nature and it will adhere to protect or atone for imbalances. Imagine that your Fascia is putting a band-aid over every micro-trauma! The band-aids are piling up and eventually you have a big, adhered mess!
This “mess” is what’s better known as tight distorted Fascia.
Releasing Fascia and Easing Pain
Myofascial Release work begins with finding the areas of the body that contain tight and distorted Fascia. As a Massage Therapist I always ask my clients where they suffer pain and discomfort whilst assessing their posture and general health. Once on the table and treatment begins I will intuitively feel my way around the body, assessing each major muscle group from head to toe.
Releasing the Fascia involves applying and holding direct pressure to an area until the Fascia loosens. This loosening often feels like an unwinding or softening of the tissue. Sometimes the Fascia will release in one area only to move to another and when this happens I follow the tightness, continuing to work until it has been released.
There are times when Myofascial release can be painful however; over time as the body begins to heal and the Fascia is restored to a healthy state, the level of pain will ease significantly.
As with any massage, I always advise my clients to drink plenty of water afterwards as this helps the body excrete any toxins that have been released during the treatment.
Combining Myofascial Release treatment with Yin Yoga is by far one of the best ways to ensure your body remains youthful, radiant and in peak condition.
For more information – please click here to contact Santarita at Om Yoga Shala – Gold Coast, Queensland.
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