What is Fascia?
Fascia is the incredible biological fabric made of fibrous, stretchy, sticky wet proteins known as collagen and elastin – the building blocks of the human body. We can think of this system as the cling wrap that quite literally holds us together, encasing every muscle, nerve, organ, bone and more. The fascial system in one 3D network responsible for movement, stability and maintaining posture which is why it is essential to understand it’s connection when assessing the root cause of pain and dysfunction.
Three Types of Fascia
Superficial fascia is beneath our skin storing fat, water and allows the passage of lymph fluid, nerves and blood vessels. It also provides insulation and cushioning to act as a protective padding.
Deep fascia is strong fibrous tissue that encases our muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels. Though there is an absence of blood vessels, it is full of receptors that detect and report the presence of pain.
Visceral Fascia is the deepest of all 3 layers which holds organs within their cavities.
How does fascia effect movement?
Through it’s wet sticky, elastic nature, the role of fascia is to slide, glide and move without any restriction helping muscles and bones perform movement without restriction and with proper alignment.
It is when muscles become tight and sore from bad postural habits, suffering an injury, repetitive movements or even dehydration, this stretchy sticky fabric can become dry, tight, thickened and when re-generated, disorganised creating scar-tissue or adhesions.
Imagine putting on a full body lycra suit.If there is a strong restriction such as a pull in the fabric around your mid area it will affect your movement, stability and create absolute chaos with your posture resulting in dysfunctional movement patterns and pain. Krause, Wilke, Vogt, Banzer (2014) discuss how tension placed on the fascial system can cause misalignment in joints resulting in pain and excessive tension in other areas of the body. This includes patella tracking issues such as iliotibial band syndrome, Plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow and more.
Massage and Myotherapy
At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy, Jian utilises specialised techniques such as Myofascial Tension technique (MFTT), Myofascial Cupping Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation to help reduce fascial adhesions and restrictions, address postural imbalances, improve range of motion and help clients manage their pain.
Utilising manual and instrument assisted therapies, massage and Myotherapy can help target the deep fascial layers that aims to manipulate the fascial system to help improve elasticity, hydration levels, and range of motion.
In the meantime, stretch, keep hydrated, spend some time rolling out any tension you may have on the foam roller and of course come and visit Jian at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy.
Krause, F., Wilke, J., Vogt, L., & Banzer, W. (2014). Intermuscular force transmission along myofascial chains. A systematic review.
Paoletti, Serge (2006). The Fasia: Anatomy, Dysfunction & Treatment. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press 151-161. ISBN 0-939616-53-X