What is the most plentiful tissue in the body — and the most ignored?
“The answer is fascia — the gooey, gliding stuff that holds you together. Fascia is a broad term for the extracellular matrix of fibers, “glue” and water surrounding all your cells, and wrapping like plastic wrap around muscle fibers and muscles, organs, bones, blood vessels and nerves — and finally as a second skin around your entire body” Dr. Eva Norlyk Smith from the January 23, 2012 issue of the Huffington Post (Staying Fit: Yoga, Rolfing and the Elusive Cinderella Tissues).
This is a must see video introduction to get you into our fascia or as Gil Hedley called it… ‘Fuzz’ :
FASCIA is a tissue of critical importance however due to the lack of research in this area, it is difficult to know exactly what we are doing on the cellular level when it comes to treatment. This video shows an example of fascial mobilisation.
What exactly is it?
A fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue. A fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. Various kinds of fascia may be distinguished. They are classified according to their distinct layers, their functions and their anatomical location: superficial fascia, deep (or muscle) fascia, and visceral (or parietal) fascia.
Fasciae are similar to ligaments and tendons as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, tendons join muscle to bone and fasciae surround muscles or other structures.
How is it important?
Fascia connects the skull to the neck, the neck to the back the back to the shoulders…to the chest, abdomen, hip, leg…..and so on. It is basically the membrane which connects every part of your body to every other part of your body. Although it cannot show up on even MRI imaging, is one of the most important tissues in our body due to one main factor…PAIN.
It can be many times more pain-sensitive than normal tissues, and can act as a second nervous system for us. From injury, inflammation or poor posture, you can create adhesions in the fascia, and if you do, this may be the perfect set up for chronic pain to settle in.
In it also has a contractile ability enabling enhanced body function and protection, especially in movement.
Last but not least!
Here is a fascinating short film on tendon sheaths, vascularisation, fascia, the skin, connective tissue… and how it all moves!
It opens up discussion and questions for stretching… potential causation of chronic pain (fascia) and what happens when we mobilise at end range.
You only need to watch this once for a great understanding of how our body tissues move and connect under our skin.
For more on fascia: http://www.greglehman.ca/2012/10/26/fascia-science-stretching-the-relevance-of-the-gluteus-maximus-and-latissimus-dorsi-sling/
“A detailed critical analysis of the clinical relevance of fascia science and fascia properties” : https://www.painscience.com/articles/does-fascia-matter.php