Every therapist, yoga teacher and movement practitioner needs to know about fascia.
Essential to our health, and central to easy, elastic movement, this tissue has been overlooked for years, but is fast becoming a key element in our understanding of how our bodies function.
Robert Schleip posted this to help promote the British Fascia Symposium 12-13 May, saying:
“Don’t miss viewing the excellent new ARTE TV documentary on fascia, posted in several languages until February. It’s a 53 minute long documentation on the importance of fascia from a research oriented perspective. Great motivation for this symposium. I will do my best to cover some of these recent scientific developments in my talk”
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilises, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It is classified by layer, as superficial, deep, and visceral or parietal fascia, or by its function and anatomical location.
Like ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons, it is made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers oriented in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. It is consequently flexible and able to resist great unidirectional tension forces until the wavy pattern of fibers has been straightened out by the pulling force. These collagen fibers are produced by fibroblasts located within the fascial tissue.
They are similar to ligaments and tendons as they have collagen as their major component. They differ in their location and function: ligaments join one bone to another bone, tendons join muscle to bone, and fascia surround muscles and other structures.
Function of Fascia
Fascia were traditionally thought of as passive structures that transmit mechanical tension generated by muscular activities or external forces throughout the body. An important function of this tissue is to reduce friction of muscular force. In doing so, it provides a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles.
Fascial tissues are frequently innervated by sensory nerve endings. These include myelinated as well as unmyelinated nerves. Based on this a proprioceptive, nociceptive as well as interoceptive function of fascia has been postulated. Fascial tissues - particularly those with tendinous or aponeurotic properties - are also able to store and release elastic potential energy.