What is Fascia?
Myo (meaning muscle) and Fascia (meaning connective tissue) is a specialized system of the body that is densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. The changes trauma causes in the fascial system influences comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
In the past and for all medical students, the study of fascia was limited to the dissection of cadavers in which the fascia was dead and cut away to study the parts, without recognizing the system as a whole. Today, and thanks to the work of a French hand surgeon by the name of Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau, we now have a magnified view of fascia in it's natural living state. This has helped confirm what bodyworkers and therapists have intuitively felt under their hands for centuries.