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Fascia

Fascia Health – By May Lim

Fascia Health is the new paradigm of health. The discovery of the human fascia system in the past 50 years is one of the greatest discoveries in anatomy which changes the way we look at our body.

For several hundred years, anatomists and surgeons like me have neglected this tissue (Fascia) since it does not seem to be something that is there. But the fact is that it is not just something – it is everything! ”

– Dr. Jean Claude Guimberteau

 

Fascia is a connective tissue. A connective tissue is one of the four major classes of tissues in our human body. It maintains the form of the body and its organs, and provides cohesion and structural support for our tissues and organs.

Fascia is a unified web of connective tissues, extending continuously from head to toe, muscles to bones. Due to the different densities, textures, molecular and cellular components, we can perceive fascia as five layers in our body :

  • Skin
  • Superficial Fascia
  • Deep Fascia
  • Muscle
  • Bone

 

Imagine an orange. Think of the white part of an orange (pectin) that wraps around the whole fruit is like our superficial Fascia. Deep layers of pectin that separates the orange is like the deep fascia which separates our organs,  nerves, and muscles.

Simply put, instead of separate body parts, think of our body as one connected body stocking which surrounds and infuses every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, organ, all the way down to the cellular level.

Key functions of Fascia:

  1. Fascia holds our entire body together. It is comparable to a cobweb of hard and soft components, threads as strong as steel yet super flexible holding our body together by way of biotensegrity (tension + integrity) as opposed to compression.
  2. It facilitates movement, posture, balance, proprioception and helps us cope with pressure of gravity.
  3. It is a communication center. Fascia facilitates all communications between every single body part. There are 6 times more nerve receptors in the Fascia than in the muscles, and communication in the Fascia is 15 times faster than in the nervous system.
  4. Fascia inflammation and pain. Scientific research have shown that inflammation in Fascia leads to pain of the lower back, tennis elbow and frozen shoulder; as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. Certain fascia manipulation methods have shown to turn off pain receptors in the Fascia, increase circulation and decrease inflammation. In regular yoga classes for healthy bodies, we can maintain good fascia health by using self massage (myofascial release) to release tension before inflammation accumulates.

Fascia Health 101 Guide:

1 Move. Moving helps to loosen adhesion or fuzz formed when our body is static eg overnight or injured. This is why you naturally stretch upon waking up and why you should move even after an injury.

2 Bounce & spiral. These movements help to recondition the “spring” in the elastin fibers of our fascia. Elastin fibers appear 30% more in your torso is more elastic than the collagen fibers. 

3 Hydrate. The gliding surface between layers of Fascia need lubrication to glide like the use of WD40 to door hinges! Long-held Yin Yoga poses will help increase hydration.

4 Stress. Applying appropriate stress on joints, bones,  in Yin Yoga and Myofascial release will help to trigger collagen fibers production of our fascia. 

5 Gentle and Slow. Fascia resists aggression and they respond slowly. So less is more is the way of Fascia.

6 Rest. Best way for our tissues to rehydrate. 

To me, fascia is the dwelling place of our entire intelligence, intuition and feeling, an extension of our innate wisdom if you will, and it is fascia, which what makes our body as one inter-dependent system. We are One within and without.

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