Fascinating Fascia: Maintenance and Influence
When we hear the word “fascia,” we may have an almost uninspired response. Among structural therapy, massage, fitness trainers, anatomy lovers, etc., it is a hot buzzword used repeatedly in some form or another. However, I hope you are continually fascinated as we expand our knowledge of fascia (the undivided, whole web of fibrous connective tissue). Gaining awe-inspiring insights to this amazing vital organ is garnering much enthusiasm, as it’s crucial to every life movement.
Of all the many descriptions of fascia, my favorite is “The Fuzz” coined by Dr. Gil Hedley. In a very short period, the interface between organs, muscles, tendons and ligaments grows “fuzz.” This fuzz is the fascial membranes binding or solidifying. The thickening may begin as soon as our bodies are immobile, hindered or limited due to lack of movement, injury, surgery or posture, at any age or stage of life. What action are you taking to keep the fuzz from forming?
We can take responsibility to reduce or remove fascial entrapment. I frequently share this with my clients: think of some physical or mental behaviors you accomplish daily with minimal or no effort to maintain your body. Some of these actions may include brushing your teeth, bathing, eating or hydrating. We cannot perform these maintenance items on Sunday and expect to be good for the rest of the week or more! Maintaining our fascia must be a daily regimen.
Matted, interwoven fascia won’t go away on its own and we are gambling with potential complications, which may affect our health. If we don’t take corrective action, the problem shall become worse, leading to muscle imbalances, loss of flexibility, chronic pain and limited range of motion. Yes, we are all getting older! Nevertheless, it is important to encourage our clients not wait for pain and discomfort to overtake their bodies and then affect their quality of life.
Taking care of our fascial tissue can be simple. The best pieces of advice I share with my clients are:
When we are properly hydrated and fueled with healthy choices, the body responds favorably to movement. I’d like to share just a few techniques to reduce or remove a restricted fascial system.
1. Whole Body Movements: Engaging long myofascial chains using a wide variety of vectors in angle, temperature and load. This may also include varying complexity of movements requiring adaptation such as rolling, climbing, crawling.
2. Self-Myofascial: Hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Many of us are familiar with foam rolling, assisted hand roller or use of other pressure point devices.
3. Fascial Stretch Therapy®: (My personal favorite) is a scientific, table-based neuromyofascial manual therapy. The approach starts with assessment and treatment at the deepest part of the connective tissue system: the joint capsule. It progresses through all the layers of fascia, ending with the superficial layer. Where the central or peripheral nervous system is restricted or not optimal in movement, proper neural mechanics is restored. Muscles that were inhibited are activated while those that are over-activated are normalized.
Ultimately, our goal is to plan a safe, successful and positive experience, so it can be beneficial to carve out the time to complete the Daily Readiness Observation (DRO) to determine a client’s readiness in relation to fascial maintenance. This tool enables us to learn the mental, physical and emotional state of our client for that day, which assists us with preparing or modifying our current plan to meet their needs. For example, a client has scheduled a Fascial Stretch Therapy session and reports notable stress, pain and limited sleep. Prepare the client to enter a parasympathetic state which encourages rest, avoid painful areas or lighten up the touch, and if they choose to fall asleep, keep then safely strapped in on table.
My desire for health/fitness continues to grow stronger every day. I continually find the human body fascinating and love the path of educating myself in all areas of anatomy and physiology. While gaining new “brain power,” I am enthusiastic to share this expertise with clients physically, mentally and emotionally. I strive to provide cutting-edge health/fitness knowledge and service no matter what level of fitness.
My specialty and passion is providing training, general health/nutrition and Fascial Stretch Therapy to 50+ populations. Although most of my clients are active adult seniors, I am fortunate to work with many individuals encountering mild to severe obstacles. These demographics may include male, female, mobile, immobile, medical, physical and/or emotional struggles. I assist homebound to individuals requiring hands-on assistance once in my care. Needless to say, my services and clientele are varied and broad. First and foremost, I effortlessly deliver commitment, compassion, love, respect and patience to everyone.
My programming and approach to support and service the most active individual to the least physically limited is unique and challenging yet very rewarding. I am consistently and creatively implementing new methods and behaviors to apply healthy movements at any level.