Fascia is a broad term for a phenomenal viscus substance that is ubiquitous throughout the body. Also referred to as connective tissue, this substance creates the structure, organization and movement patterns for the body. It is a sticky substance that quite literally ‘glues’ us together. It is also an intercellular matrix that creates sensations, awareness and a recognition of embodiment. Fascia is our blood, bones, tendons, ligaments and beyond. It is a fascinating anatomical phenomenon and until recently, virtually unknown and misunderstood.
There is much to be said about fascia but for our purposes, we will consider its effects regarding movement and pain. Pain and restrictions often occur when this sticky substance gets dry, tough and adhered improperly. This may happen as a result of overuse, underuse, posture habits, accidents, surgeries and injuries.
Some types of fascia create continuous lines throughout the body. These are often referred to as chains, trains, lines or meridians. If there is an adhesion or disturbance on one end of this chain then their can be a chain reaction potentially causing multiple problems up or down the line. For example, the pain we experience in our neck or jaw could be traced to a past knee or hip injury.
So what is fascial conditioning? This is where we address the fascia through self massage, dynamic stretching and organic movement techniques for release and irrigation of the tissue. Often done prior to exercise in an effort to increase our range of motion, create more glide of the tissue and ultimately establish more functional movement patterns.
For more on fascia, check out Ida Rolf, Thomas Myers, Mary Bond, John Barnes and many others who are pioneering the way to a deeper understanding of this marvelous and mysterious component of the body.