What if I said your muscles could age backward, regaining the flexibility and movement capabilities of your youth? Or that you’ve likely been stretching wrong your whole life? Well, these concepts go hand in hand, revolving around an integral piece of your physiology: your fascia.
In a two-part GenWell podcast series featuring Stephen Roberts, we discuss fascia, and how better understanding it can dramatically improve your health, your wellness, and your vitality. Listen to Episode One here.
In this article, Part One of the Fascia and Wellness blog series, I introduce fascia and the importance of understanding the interconnectivity of our bodies’ systems, setting the stage for better addressing our musculoskeletal health and wellness.
What is Fascia, anyway?
The term fascia likely pings a familiar space in your memory bank, but aside from associating it with high school biology class, you may not be able to pin down exactly what it is. Don’t worry – having heard of, but not knowing about, fascia is more common than you think. For decades, fascia was understood as the simple connective sinew between our musculoskeletal systems, merely assisting in holding together the more interesting muscles, bones, nerves, and tendons.
But fascia, and how we understand our biomechanical composition, is having a renaissance.
Thinking back to that same high school biology class during which you first heard about fascia, your body was likely described as a machine; Its different parts, with their individual functions, assembled together in intricate mechanical systems. When one part of your body machine fails, it can simply be corrected by isolating and fixing the singular issue; your tight hamstring like an axle in need of repair.
But our bodies aren’t like machines, exactly. Instead, they are intricate and interconnected compositions of muscles, bones, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and more – all floating around in and connected by mucousy matter and bungee cord-like webs called fascia.
This connectivity begins at the cellular level, with a fascial network filling the space between cells with fibers and mucous that vary in density and concentration depending on its function (i.e. cartilage having a greater density than breast tissue).
When this fascia is healthy, with its fibers elastic and it’s mucous hydrated, it allows molecules to flow freely between cells, providing necessary nourishment and improving overall functioning.
The implications of the interconnectivity fascia, then, is not only rethinking the idea that our body parts are isolated and independent of one another but also, that focusing on the health of our fascia can have a positive effect on the entirety of our body’s wellness.
This new way of understanding fascia as an important part of a healthy functioning body is driving therapies to assist in realigning and undoing the kinks in our mucousy webbing. From these therapies, we are able to address so much more than just the tight muscles or isolated pain of standard stretching and physical therapy.
Instead, when our bodywork focuses on improving the health of our fascia, we can reverse years of muscle strain and damage, improve the way our body parts communicate with one another, and even address systemic and chronic illnesses that begin at the cellular level.
Are you ready to learn more about resistance stretching and the available programs aimed at improving fascia health?
Look for Fascia and Wellness: Part Two coming soon on the GenWell Blog and listen along on the GenWell podcast!