Fascia: Webs within the Body that Communicate

The old song, " Your foot bone is connected to your leg bone." is a reminder that our bodies are designed structurally to move as a whole.  When good communication is happening it's not thru the bones that messages are sent to us exactly, it's through the fascia. Our fascia works like a telephone wire inside of our bodies communicating movement, sensation and energy.  In Chinese medicine it's this fascia that houses the "meridian lines" that make acupuncture/accupressure and reflexology work.  The clearer this communication, the healthier our bodies function and move through life with ease. 


Superficial Fascia runs under the skin - binding it together to form an outer layer of protection and a permeable boundary. This superficial fascia is designed to take in and release ( Taking in sensation and information from outside about temperature/texture/spacial awareness/and the air itself.  Releasing sweat, toxins, waste products, oils) . Visceral Fascia ia located around the organs, holding them suspended and wrapping them in a coating like a blanket inside the body.  Deep fascia is found in the muscles as a dense fibrous tissue that penetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels.  You might think of this as a "Saran Wrap" that surrounds muscles, connects muscle groups and binds blood vessels and nerves.  This tissue creates a webbing that resists itself in a counter movement when we challenge our muscles. 
Fascia is where the memory and emotion of an injury lives. For instance, if you have twisted your ankle many years ago and have since never used that ankle in it's full function, the fascia has "forgotten" how to move in a deep full way.  This can show up as "tight joints" or an uncoordinated movement pattern.  Another point is that it's very easy to feel like your "moving" when in fact that part of the body is being held still, even in walking.  Many people walk with stiff lower backs, barely moving the lower spine.  Our fascia may have years of tension woven into the muscles that can show up as pain, stiffness, and numbness.  The old adage "if you don't use it - you lose it" applies here and reminds us that it is very important to MOVE when you feel an injury, to keep the connective tissue from numbing out or creating a pattern of protection from pain that can further tighten the muscles in less functional ways.  In other words, our sense of a "lack of coordination" is often times a result of under using these important areas of fascia and developing limits in movement over time as the pattern is learned through the connective tissue.  



Here are a few tips to keep our many types of fascia healthy:

1.  Go to your main joints ( ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists) and feel for the fullest range of movement you have available in that joint.  Is there "catching" in the muscles, or sensations of pain or tension?  Often times if we have have pain in a joint it's the joints above or below it that are tight.  

2. Use deep tissue massage, shaking, rubbing, and stretching to squeeze out the muscles.  Visualize the webbing of your fascia releasing the knots.  

3. Practice learning NEW MOVEMENTS every day.  Train your fascia until it feels "normal" and then switch it up again. This not only creates healthy movement patterns, it also stimulates more neurons in the brain and opens up creativity.  GO FOR THE AWKWARD positions and have fun!  Play with it and explore all possibilities.  

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