So, what is fascia?
Fascia is a 3-dimensional connective tissue interconnecting every cell, muscle, ligament, bone, and organ in the body. Fascia comprises of both elastin and collagen fibres surrounded by a viscous material called the ground substance. The two fibre types allow the fascia to be strong yet highly elastin giving it the ability to move, generate and absorb force, and at times, be the source of pain and dysfunction. The fascia is categorised into the superficial layers, the deeper fascia, and visceral fascia (organs), providing support and functionality to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones as the body adapts under demand.
Fascia contains more mechanoreceptors than any other system in the body. Mechanoreceptors are sensory nerve centres that allow the body to register and respond to pressure and mechanical changes in the body.
Historically the fascia was always seen as simply a ‘filler’ in the body. A substance that would be removed and discarded by anatomists during dissections as an obstacle in the way of seeing muscles, ligaments and bones. Today the fascial network is considered a singular system, a continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. You can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia. In turn, tightness and dysfunction in any structure of the body will involve an element of fascia restriction.
What can you do about it?
Myofascial Release is effective in alleviating the symptoms of:
- Poor posture
- Muscle and joint pain
- Back pain
- Injuries due to poor shoulder or hip alignment
A form of body work, Myofascial Release (MFR) is a safe and effective hands on therapy that returns the integrity back to the fascia and its connection to the surrounding structures. Hands on pressure is applied slowly and in a deliberate direction that stretches and ‘melts’ the stuck down fascia. The pace and depth at which the therapist works is a vital factor, the fascia cannot be forced as it will naturally meet that force in return. Hence the MFR therapist provides a sustained, gentle pressure allowing the fascia to elongate naturally and return to its normal resting length, restoring health and providing results that are both measurable & functional.
See the video below for an example:
Written By Absolute’s Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith