Much like how the nerves of a leaf connect and animate it branch to tip, so too is the system of fascia within the human body. This hidden system of fascia: complex, woven, like layered webs; is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue which covers and connects muscles and organs, the whole system of nerves. (1) Keeping this hidden system healthy is important both for your body’s overall wellness, your physical comfort, and even your emotional well-being. If you are feeling tight or sluggish, try one of these ways to nourish the health of your fascia:
Healthy connective tissue starts with hydration, be sure to drink plenty of water in these winter months where wind and rain add extra stress to the body. You can also hydrate your body with movement. To circulate the fluids in your body, be sure to get active as often as possible. For example, bundling up for a nature walk, heading to a warm gym, and using gentle Yoga flows at home or your favorite local studio. In the office, we use the Wobble Chair exercises to get circulation flowing to your spine and carry nutrients to your vertebrae. Similarly, movement helps stimulate the hydration of your fascia. Work on your flexibility and musculofascial hydration with this yoga routine.
Foam rolling is a popular and effective way to connect with your fascia. The pressure of the roller can stimulate healing, helping, for example, the fascia in tight IT bands to work out the strain and become more smooth, supple, and less painful. Be sure to learn Proper form so as to prevent injury and bruising. We are currently offering a monthly class to teach a full body foam rolling routine. Check our calendar for dates and contact us to reserve space for yourself. You don’t need to be a current Practice Member to attend this free class.
Myofascial release is a way of freeing up tightened or bound fascia and is often stimulated by applied pressure on fascial adhesions or tight spots, similar to acupressure. Pressure can be applied by an instrument or the practitioners’ hands, or even feet, and sometimes also with movement. You may already know that Dr. Strachan does specific treatment for Plantar Fasciitis, and this technique is a form of myofascial release. We have seen people limping, unable to run, bike, or even walk comfortably have vast improvements in even a couple of sessions. The pain associated with fascia that is bound up or traumatized is not limited to the feet. In fact, myofascial release techniques are also utilized in Chiropractic and Massage Therapy. You can do a self-myofascial release routine with tennis or racquetballs, or with foam rollers as mentioned above. Be mindful to learn a safe routine so that you do not cause further injury. For more questions on this, please contact our office or a practitioner near you.
There are some psychological and spiritual theories which suggest that stress, trauma, and shock can cause physical patterns of strain in the body. Think about hearing a loud crash as a child and the natural, physical reaction of cowering and shrinking away from the loud sound. Depending on how this gets categorized in the mind and held in the body, the loud sound heard as a child can be held in the body, likely stored as an adhesion in the fascia, and triggered and re-enforced by later loud sounds. One of the practitioners addressing the realm of psychosomatic stress and specifically how it affects the fascia is Judith Blackstone, Ph.D. You can listen to a podcast of her theories and meditative Realization Process if this avenue is of interest to you. The purpose of addressing this approach is to access another way to free up the fascia, where psychotherapy and meditation may be avenues to uncover and release these stress patterns held in the fascia.
Surely, we can feel it when we hold stress in our body, it could create shoulder tension, headaches, or even chronic low back pain, depending on how we bend, sit, stand or react to outer and inner stress. When seeking emotional avenues of fascial release, we can also examine self-judgments. Many of us have internalized judgments against us via media or other children when growing up and held certain beliefs against ourselves and thereby within ourselves. For example, thinking one is too fat. There is a lot of fat shaming in our culture, both via the media and person to person. We speak to this specifically as one of the benefits of foam rolling or myofascial release is said to be the reduction of cellulite, or at least its appearance. While this promise may have vast emotional appeal, we encourage you to consider this passionate call for self-love and acceptance by Fascia expert Elisha Celeste. Read more and watch her video at the Mobility Mastery blog link here. Inspiring!
We hope this article has inspired you to try a couple new ways to free up your fascia, become more mobile, flexible and hydrated, and really come home to your body.
Remember that you are supported on your healing journey!