What is Fascia?
"There is no such thing as a muscle." That is a revolutionary
statement from a physical therapist with over 30 years of
experience.... every muscle of the body is surrounded by a smooth
fascial sheath, every muscular fascicle is surrounded by fascia, every
fibril is surrounded by fascia, and every microfibril down to the
cellular level is surrounded by fascia. Therefore, it is the fascia that
ultimately determines the length and function of its muscular
-John F. Barnes, P.T.
Fascia is composed of collagen, elastin and the polysaccharide gel
complex, or ground substance. These form a three-dimensional,
interdependent system of strength, support, elasticity, and cushion.
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Fascia is essentially all
of the connective tissue
in the body...
Copyright 2011, Ronald E. Reach. Georgia Massage Therapist License MT005438
Imagine the fascia in your body like a
spider's web or a sweater. It surrounds
every muscle, bone, nerve, and artery, as
well as our internal organs including the
heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. Each
part of the entire body is inextricably
connected to every other part by the
fascia, like yarn in a sweater.
What is really interesting is that fascia is an uninterrupted, three-dimensional web
of tissue that extends from head to toe, from front to back, from interior to exterior.
In a normal healthy state the fascial system maintains the body in equilibrium
through a delicate balance of tension and elasticity. The fascia is relaxed and
wavy in configuration and has the ability to stretch and move without restriction,
while still supporting the alignment of bones.
When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, surgery or
inflammation the fascia looses its pliability and restrictions begin to accumulate
over time. These myofascial restrictions start to exert abnormal pressure on bones,
joints, nerves, blood vessels and organs, which unbalance the system and create
pain both locally and in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. Restrictive tissue
has the ability to create up to 2,000 pounds of pressure on a single nerve. Often
the true cause of pain is overlooked by conventional medical practitioners because
fascia does not show up on ordinary diagnostic tests.