Do you know what’s holding your body together! Think again, it’s not your muscles or skin. They weren’t made to do that job, but the “fascia” within your body was. By now you’re thinking, “What in the world is the fascia?”
Well, the fascia is a structure of fibrous connective tissue distributed throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerves. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force.
Does it sound like a well tuned state-of-the-art mechanism to you? It is, but it can go wrong! For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together resulting in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.
Symptoms may be:
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Chronic pain
- Disc problems
- Neurological dysfunction
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Carpal tunnel
- Jaw pain (TMJ)
- Painful scars
- Women’s health issues
- …and more
Move it: First thing in the morning roll around in bed and really stretch out
Stay lubricated: Drink, drink, drink! It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s wet.
Stretch your muscles: Keep the muscles from getting chronically tight.
Stretch your fascia: To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes – relaxing into a hold.
Relax: Fifteen to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up – follow up with 10 minutes of light activity.
Use a foam roller: Be gentle and slow in your movements, and when you find an area of tension, hold sustained pressure for three to five minutes.
Respect your body: Even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time, see a fascial specialist, and join a movement class. Don’t set yourself up for long-term trouble.
See a fascial specialist: Myofascial Release or Structural Integration (Rolf Method) practitioner.
Join a movement education class: The Feldenkrais Method®, Coordination Pattern™ Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga are highly recommended.