What is Fascia?
As defined by Jean-Claude Guimberteau and Colin Armstrong in their book, Architecture of Human Living Fascia, “Fascia is the tensional, continuous fibrillar network within the body, extending from the surface of the skin to the nucleus of the cell. This global network is mobile, adaptable, fractal and irregular; it constitutes the basic structural architecture of the human body.” You may be asking yourself, what does this mean? Explained more simply; Fascia is the only continuous body system that connects us from head to toe, provides form to all structures of the human body and facilitates all vital cellular functions.
John F. Barnes, on his website www.myofascialrelease.com, further explains, “Fascia is a specialized system of the body that is very densely woven into the body, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein and all internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord.” The structure of fascia can be likened to a three-dimensional fluid filled spider web. This web provides form to all structures of the body and the fluid, ground substance contained within facilitates the cellular function of vital systems such as the nervous, lymphatic, immune, and circulatory systems. The fascial system is a living network that changes to align with and or/support the demands of the body.
How does this affect me?
Since the dawn of medicine, the fascial system has only been briefly alluded to, was considered anatomical “junk” and often disregarded in the education of medical professionals. It has only been in the past few decades that the medical community has come to realize the magnitude of this error. Due to the extensive nature of the fascial system, medical professionals are beginning to understand the significance of the function it provides and its contribution to disorders such as chronic pain, inflammation, fatigue, and impaired postural alignment.
Trauma (physical or emotional), inflammatory responses, poor nutrition and/or surgical procedures, to name a few, create Myofascial restrictions. These restrictions can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that cannot currently be assessed in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.) Additionally, these restrictions can inhibit the vital cellular function of multiple body systems.
What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain, restore motion and enhance cellular function. Many clients will attest that after years of traditional treatment approaches with no relief, Myofascial Release finally provided lasting results where others had failed.
The initial examination will involve a visual and physiological assessment of the fascia, ROM and areas of symptomatic pain. Myofascial techniques are then performed on the skin in noted areas of restriction. The skin must be free of oils or lotions to prevent gliding on the surface. Treatment often begins in symptomatic areas and move throughout the body to ensure all restrictions are addressed.
Sessions are approximately one hour long and include Myofascial Release treatment, education and self-treatment techniques to utilize between sessions.
Myofascial Release treatment is a wonderful compliment to Chiropractic treatment, Massage therapy, Yoga and other mind-body practices seeking to restore global function to the body.
Practitioners: Shannon Babcock, MOT/L, MFR
• The John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Approach, www.myofascialrelease.com.
• Myofascial Release: The Search for Excellence, by John F. Barnes, PT
• Architecture of Human Living Fascia: The extracellular matrix and cells revealed through endoscopy, by Jean-Claude Guimberteau, Colin Armstrong
• Fascia: What it is and why it Matters, by David Lesondak
• Molecules of Emotion, by Candace B. Pert