When I mention Block Therapy, I normally get asked “What is Fascia?” And that’s not surprising, because it’s still very unknown and research is in its infancy
Human anatomy is complex and has many interconnected systems and parts, all of which must work together for optimal health.
The fascial system doesn’t get much attention from doctors or patients alike, but understanding what it does can be crucial to the quality of our lives. Traditionally, the medical industry viewed it as a dissecting fabric within us.
Fascial tissue is found in every organ and tissue throughout the body. It is also the densest network in our body. Fascia is like a web that connects our bones to muscles.
Think of it as your internal “skeleton” providing support to all its other structures.
Fascia is a tightly packed structure composed of fine collagen fibers in an orderly wavy pattern. This orderly wavy pattern is what gives its flexibility; the more chaotic the fibers become, the less flexible it is
Fascial tissue is found in every organ and tissues throughout the body. It is also the densest network in our body. Fascia is like a web that connects our bones to muscles.
Think of it as your “skeleton” providing support to all its other structures.
Fascia is a tightly packed structure composed of fine collagen fibres in an orderly wave pattern. This orderly wave pattern gives its flexibility, as fibres become chaotic, the less flexible it becomes. Fibroblasts create the collagen fibres connecting bones.
Fasciae differ from ligaments and tendons because they are located differently in our anatomy.
The fascial tissue that covers all of our muscles and organs, it’s called “subcutaneous.”
The function of the Fascial System
We depend on our fascia for our everyday well-being, like giving shape to parts or providing protection for internal structures.
Some call fascia the “second brain,” because it has nerves that send signals to the spinal cord and brain. It also contains blood vessels and lymphatic channels, making it almost as sensitive as skin.
Fascia serves as a storage medium of fat and water; as a passageway for lymph, nerve, and as a protective padding to cushion and insulate.
It helps keep our bodies warm or cool. When it’s cold outside, our skin gets red because there is more blood flowing near the surface where the fascias are located.
Fascia also helps protect our organs by giving them space and padding so they don’t get injured or diseased. Without fascia, our muscles wouldn’t be able to contract or relax. We would be a blob of tissues, blood vessels, muscles, and bones.
Fascia is rich with nerves, which provide a pathway for nerve signals to flow to the brain. Clearing up these tissue helps create bodily awareness (proprioception) and our ability to control our movements.
We know that it affects all our muscles, bones, nerves, and every organ throughout our body and is crucial to our overall health.
Research has recently made this important discovery: fascia stores and releases chemicals for eons, which is why we need to maintain a healthy balance of these fluids in the body. Fascia research is still in its infancy but it’s promising to say the least.
How does your fascia become unhealthy?
It isn’t our fault that our fascia becomes unhealthy. The very nature of our environment creates unhealthy fascia.
Our fascia is constantly under stress, through poor posture and constant tension, causing it to dehydrate and become stiff, restricting the flow of blood and oxygen.
Our fascia needs movement to remain hydrated and healthy. Unfortunately, most of us live very sedentary lives.
Why should we care about scar tissue?
Scar tissue has positive and negative impacts on fascia health. Forming scar tissue is a natural part of the body’s healing process.
When fascia is injured or damaged, the body produces collagen fibres to repair and strengthen the affected area. This collagen forms scar tissue, which bridging the gap, restoring structural integrity.
However, excessive scar tissue causes challenges for fascial health. Scar tissue is typically less elastic and flexible compared to healthy fascia. It can restrict the normal movement and glide of fascial layers, leading to stiffness, tightness, and limited range of motion. This can potentially impact joint mobility and muscle function.
Scar tissue may disrupt the interconnectedness of fascial planes. Fascia serves as a continuous web throughout the body, linking various structures. Excessive scar tissue can create adhesions or fibrous connections between neighboring fascial layers or surrounding tissues.
These adhesions can restrict tissue mobility, impair circulation, and potentially contribute to pain and dysfunction.
Impact of unhealthy fascia on our organs
The impacts of unhealthy fascia on the functioning of our organs are significant. Fascia acts as a supportive and connective tissue, enveloping and sustaining organs in a structural framework that allows them to move and function with ease.
The development of dysfunctional or unhealthy fascia can disrupt optimal organ functioning in several ways.
Firstly, unhealthy fascia can cause restrictions or adhesions around organs, limiting mobility and reducing natural movement, leading to decreased organ function.
Secondly, fascia plays a crucial role in maintaining proper organ position and alignment. The displacement of organs as a result of fascial tension or imbalances causes undue stress on surrounding structures, which can disrupt physiological processes.
Thirdly, unhealthy fascia can affect organ circulation and nutrient exchange by compressing blood vessels and lymphatic channels. Lastly, fascia acts as a vital communication network in the body, and disrupted or unhealthy fascia can interfere with signalling between organs.
To ensure optimal functioning, regular practices that promote fascial health, such as massage, myofascial release, proper posture, and regular movement and stretching, are crucial.