The Mystery of Fascia!
Have you ever heard the term fascia before? The fascia is still a medical mystery, it envelops all of our body and yet most of us have never heard of it before!
This tissue has been medically neglected in the past but its fast becoming researched as it it has a massive impact on our biomechanics. The best way to describe fascia is as a thick, tough, fiborous connective tissue, that like a muscle contracts and relaxes. It also has sensory receptors that detect pain and aid in propriception.
It forms like a web around the body, layer upon layer in all different planes, this enables it to carry important information around our bodies. In fact new research is suggesting it's faster than the nervous system at this job.
There are three different types of fascia:
1. Superficial: Surrounds the face, neck and sternum
2. Visceral: Surrounds the organs
3. Deep: Surrounds the muscles
Fascia envelopes all muscle and is called the myofacial. A healthy myofascial system is important for movement quality. The body needs to be able to move in all planes and a tight and restricted fascia will prevent this from happening freely and without pain. In addition, tight fascia will cause a lack of mobility will impinge on maximal strength. Thus, a tight fascia will impinge both strength and movement quality in muscles.
A tight fascia can compress organs and stop them working optimally, for example a liver that has fascia problems will not be able to flush toxins as well as a free fascia.
A healthy myofascial system will also benefit the mind as it surrounds the brain. I believe that the body, mind and soul are as one (or at least that's what we are aiming for), and so a myofascial system that is free and pliable helps in the quest for an agile and open mind, body and soul.
Through balanced training ie both strength and mobility work, we can ensure our fascia is as healthy as possible. Next time I will talk more about the problems that we can encounter with our fascia and how to overcome them.