As we extend our learning further and continue to evolve and develop new programmes to help women, we delve deeper into the anatomy of the female form. Many of you won’t have heard of or even be aware of the fascia that’s sits within your system, and nor would you understand it’s function or purpose. So here is our simple guide to fascia!
What is fascia?
Firstly think of your system as a ‘whole’ where everything is connected and each movement creates a chain of muscles to carry out the job you intended. Imagine that your body is covered in cling film, from top to bottom. If someone pulled the cling film on your finger, the rest of the film on your arm would move. Likewise, if you were pulled on your lower back, think where the film would pull, across the spine and core, into the hips and up into the chest region.
That is your fascia, an internal network of tissues that hold your systems in place, wrapped around the muscles. It sits just underneath the skin and looks a little like a spider’s web, supporting the body and connecting its tissue.
So why do you need to know about fascia?
Normal, healthy fascia allows you to move freely as it springs back into place. Tight fascia, fascia that has experienced trauma, intervention or injury does not spring as we would like. The body can become less responsive, sticky and painful.
Maybe you have experienced surgery, an episiotomy or c – section. Your fascia therefore is compromised and can cause discomfort and a smaller range of movement than you may like.
As we work through recovery options for clients, whether that is postnatal healing, c-section recovery, pelvic floor dysfunction or diastasis recti. What we are often working on is a myofascial release – aiming to restore the elasticity in the fascia to enhance its function. Think about all those mobility movements we make in Pilates and why you feel so much looser and walk taller after our session!
We know that there are many myofascial lines through the system, and it helps us to work out why your weakened pelvic floor has led to sore knees or why you have back ache when it’s your core that is dysfunctional. Trauma or distress in one area often leads to pain and discomfort elsewhere as the body tries to repair and make compensations elsewhere.
Fascia is one of the key reasons that we work with your whole body and not just the area you are concerned about. It also reminds us about the importance of massage and how physical movement and releases work alongside massage therapy when treating clients with pain, muscle soreness and dysfunction within the body. This is because the fascia goes through the muscle, not just around them so there is often a need for deep tissue work to release those stubborn fibres.