Have you heard about fascia ?
Nothing connected with the fascism, do not worry.
Fascia is the stringy, slippery connective tissue that holds parts of our bodies together (primarily contains collagen). Fascia is a general term for the extracellular matrix of fibers that surrounds all cells and envelops muscle fibers, organs, bones, blood vessels, nerve fibers, as well as the entire body under the skin. This kind of tissue is the most common in our bodies, however we know very little about it.
1. Muscles and fascia.
Speaking about muscles in a human body (in biological sense) we usually associate it with the picture of the skeleton covered by the red massive layers. These red muscles are connected to bones. According to professor T. Myers, the author of “Anatomy trains”, muscles could not be attached to bones directly. The fascia envelops the muscles inside and out, and where the muscle increases, the fascia outside and outside the muscle twists in the tendon. Our brains do not operate all the 850 muscles in our bodies separately. It does not think in terms of biceps and deltoids, but there is one muscle housed in every fascial pocket. Ultimately, the brain creates movement by conducting large fascial networks and individual motor neurons, not to individual muscles listed by a human body.
2. Fascia is not only the enveloping material.
Until recently, fascia was seen as a kind of wrapping material that envelops other tissues in the body. It is now known that fascia is a regulatory system in our body. Fascia - not just passive wrapping material, and living biological tissue, which distributes the load and directs movement in the body, reacts and remodels if the forces applied to the body change.
The connective tissue network can function as a general communication system in the body, and directly affects the functioning of other systems. The nervous system, circulatory and fascial systems are tightly interconnected and work together as a well-coordinated team. When something changes at the level of the fascial system, everything else in our body also changes. Researchers argue that the fascial network corresponds to the map of acupuncture points and meridians, and the impact on these points leads to changes at the cellular level, which in turn spread to the level of connective tissue. A similar effect is exerted on the connective tissue during yoga or external influences during massage and physiotherapy.
3. Chronic pain.
In a healthy body fascial tissue stretches and moves without restriction. But with age, after traumas, stress, poor posture, the fascial tissue loses its elasticity, becomes tight and limited in mobility. This helps to stabilize the body during an injury, but it also makes the body a prisoner of chronic tension and deformities. which are difficult to fix. Imagine this with the thin silk suit you are wearing. If you pull on one end, the tension will show up throughout the suit, causing skew and discomfort.
Now when having pain in lower back, one can understand it could be not the lower back itself, but tension in other parts of her/his body.
Fascial tension patterns are transmitted throughout the body and affect its entire structure. They are one of the causes of chronic pain (migraines, chronic low back pain, rheumatism and so on). Thus, body work techniques that directly affect fascial tissue are more effective than work at the muscle or skeletal level, the effect of which is short-term.
4. Face muscles do not have fascia.
To sum it up, when we are only thinking about achieving trained and hard muscles, improving our cardio stamina or making cross twines, we underestimate the role of fascia. A wholesome and well-trained fascial tissue is not only important for those who do sports or practice yoga, it is essential for everyone who wants to keep body healthy and functional. And it goes without saying that doing asanas is one of the tool which can help to keep fascia in tonus and tuned.