Fascia is the dense connective tissue that runs throughout our body making us the shape in which we are. It is made of three things:
- Collagen which is the most abundant protein in the body and also found in bones, muscles, skin, tendons. It is increasingly used for medical and cosmetic purposes and helps heal and repair the body’s tissues as it naturally declines with age and also with a diet high in sugar, smoking. When we stretch the fascia it actually produces more collagen so we can repair the body and look younger without any of the nasty chemicals found in manufactured stuff – strong fibres
- Elastin which provides the fascia with the ability to stretch and recoil which is very important and is what we are aiming to do in our sessions – elastic fibres
- Ground substance holds it all together and together they form an extracellular matrix – extracellular molecules secreted by cells that provides structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells.
There are three types of fascia:
- Superficial which is just below the skin, and holds little pockets of fat. The reason why our palms and soles of our feet are tougher is because it is thicker in these parts. Some functions of this are it facilitates the movement of the skin, conserves body heat.
- Deep fascia which surrounds our muscles, nerves and bones and this is what we will be working on whilst stretching. This is what defines our shape, controlling our posture. It is like a back up strength system to the muscles, proving extra surface for the muscle attachment and assists muscles in their actions. Fight or flight the fascia tenses up and then when released can result in extraordinary feats that people aren’t usually capable of. Bruce Lee’s one in punch.
- Visceral fascia which holds organs in place and protects them
Without fascia we’d be a puddle on the floor, we can’t change our posture without improving its quality, it is an adaptable living structure. So if we have a posture where our shoulders are hunched forward, that because our fascia has changed to do that, which is good and bad news. The bad news is that we’re now held in that position with bad posture, the good news is that if it changed to hold us in a bad position, it can be changed back.
There are a number of different techniques that can be used to work on the fascia, we have already covered a few of these on the blog and will continue to do so as we go on.
For a few things you can do today, check back at our previous posts below. Now you know what the fascia is why it is important, you may be more inclined to do these.