Fascia Series #1: What Is Fascia?

I’ve learned all about fascia from several folks. Thomas Myers is someone who I've studied with dissection ideas of studying live fascia instead of embalmed fascia or studying live, fresh cadavers instead of embalmed cadavers, let me see it that way.

I've also studied with a guy named John Barnes, who coined the phrase "myofascial release" that many of you have heard of. So I wanted to go over a little bit and I’m basically just going to go straight from the brochure from John Barnes.

He’s been a physical therapist for like 50 years, teaching his methods and so I’m just going to read to you what is fascia according to John Barnes, the guy who created this system, created this word.

“Fascia is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot without interruption. Trauma, posture or inflammation can create a binding down of fascia resulting in excessive pressures on the nerves, muscles, blood vessels, osseous structures and/or organs.

Since many of the standard tests such as x-rays, monograms, cat-scans, EMGs, MRIs do not show the fascial restrictions, it is thought that an extremely high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may have fascial problems but most go undiagnosed. 

The viscoelastic quality of the fascial system causes it to resist the suddenly applied force. This explains why the old forms of myofascial release which was an attempt to force a system that cannot be forced to produce painful results.”

So with that said, I want to read it according to this brochure but from my experience of working with fascia for many, many years now, for fifteen years now in my 22-year career is that fascia is all connected. We've all heard the hip bones connected to the knee bone song, but in reality there is a lot of truth to that. 

So there's situations through the fascial system where I might release someone's hip flexor and it takes away shoulder or neck pain. I might work on someone's calf based on some restrictions I found in their calf that improve their shoulder pain. Now, according to what we learned in PT schools, none of that should happen.

I shouldn't be able to work on someone's calf to help their shoulder, but according to the fascial world and according to looking at the body holistically (rather than merely referring to the research or practicing the reductionism we were taught in school), identify the smallest fraction and then treat that.

Myofascial release has taught me to step back and look at the whole tree, not the leaves on the tree. So with that said, someone could come in to see me with that herniation of their discs in their lumbar spine, the MRI shows that, we know thats what it says that may not be what is causing their problem.

There may be a fascial restriction right there in the lumbar spine, there may be a fascial restriction somewhere else. So by looking at the tree, the whole tree in a holistic approach we can make a lot of positive changes first.

If we don't make the changes we want to make by looking at the whole tree then we can look at the leaves on the tree so we can dive and get really specific but the reality is if we address the tree, the leaves on the tree don't need much addressing.

In medicine today we are taught to look at the leaves and the leaves exclusively whether we're an MD, osteopath, chiropractor, massage person... we are looking at the symptom, the diagnosis but not the whole body or the other structures that might be involved.

That’s the first lesson for the day. What is fascia? Why is it important to us? We have seen tremendous improvements from addressing the fascia and as well as other structures too, but the fascia is one structure that connects all systems.

The fascia surrounds the blood vessels, the fascia surrounds the nerves, the fascia surrounds the muscles, the fascia surrounds the bones. so as we talk about all these systems, the cardiovascular system, the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, the GI system.

 Well, guess what is common to all of those systems? The fascia is involved with every one of those systems. It encapsulates and engulfs all of those structures. So that's my message for today... if you have any comments put them below, I'd love to answer.

Thanks for those that hopped on for watching and I'll see y'all soon. If you want to reach out I want to schedule anything with us our phones are working we do have someone working the phones in limited times right now… 512. 215.4227

If you want quicker access the best way to get to us is through our CORE cell which is 512.902.8794 Thanks for hopping on guys and I'll see y'all soon. Y'all stay well. Bye now.