Hi everyone! Welcome to Anne Baker/Partners In Health first blog post! Very exciting! And I think I’ve found almost every excuse in the book NOT to sit down and write, because, just like you – there is always something else to do. Like going to the gym, paddling, going for a run…know what I mean?
Since I’ve been home from the fabulous Space Coast?Bow Wave Dragon Boat camp, I’ve been thinking about the wonderful classes and the benefits of the fascial work we did in the pavilion. I get that you are busy but I’ve heard from a couple of people how much they wish they were still doing those classes RIGHT NOW. So, here we go. I thought I’d give you some of the fast facts on fascia and start with a few ways to rock and roll those tight spots out.
That way you can get back to the other things you like to do – like paddling, running, hiking, working out….
Fascia – what IS it? Fascia is connective tissue. It’s a 3 D matrix, “a complex system of sheets, bags and strings, within which we have joints, bones, organs and muscle.” (C. Sullivan – Yin Yoga Cert. 2015). It’s multidimensional, multi directional and allows us to move in many directions.
There are four layers of it; each layer has different components and functions.
Layer 1 – superficial fascia. This is the layer that is worked on in manual therapy. It’s very moveable, and connects to deeper layers through movement – sounds important for us, right?
Layer 2 – deep or axial fascia. This is very fibrous and supportive; it’s fused to the superficial layer AND goes deep to the axial muscle. This is what muscle, tendons. ligaments and joints develop from. Hmm. Sounds important for us too!
Layer 3 – Meningeal fascia – Dura – surrounds your nervous system. Sounds rather important…
Layer 4 – Visceral fascia – surrounds, suspends, ‘hammocks’ your organs – ok that’s important too!
Your friendly osteopath can work at these deeper levels.
This network of tissue of varying thickness and shape, form and function, nourishes, removes waste, communicates, absorbs, dissipates and transmits force and connects all systems in the body. It’s a conduit for moving energy through the body. ~ That’s important stuff!
A few Super important fascia facts! Pay attention here!
1. Fascia is almost EVERYWHERE – it’s a 3 D continuous net/bodysuit.
2. Fascia is HIGHLY INNERVATED – 6 – 10 x more free nerve endings run through fascia than muscle(I wish Bell had a network like that) so it’s a complex neural and proprioception highway and it can tell you where you are in space.
3. Fascia is ADAPTIVE – this is good, or bad, depending on how often you do the same movements… Do you do the same workouts all the time? (Hey, not that paddling is repetitive or anything…) Fascia can take in all the training you do to help you get strong and stable, but too much of one thing makes you – you got it – stiff and sore and feeling restricted, like you can’t move. May be your energy is low? May be you feel fatigued? May be your mood is low? Scary things for us athletes, right?
4. Fascia ABSORBS, TRANSMITS, and DISSIPATES force – like a spring that winds through all your body. So, like, we’re supposed to be able to move in a VARIETY of directions. I know, I know, you’ve gotta train to paddle and race! What’s the answer? Variety of course! Learning to paddle, or do anything for that matter, on the other side, or in a different way, is a REALLY GOOD IDEA!
5. Fascia can HEAL and HYPERTROPHY – Remember this is not muscle, and I bet you heard that ‘once your ligament is torn, not much we can do about it…’ Studies from 1995 show that ligaments (fascia) can get bigger but new research show fascia’s ability to heal after being torn (such as an ACL recovery without surgery). Even Tom Myers has said that he couldn’t have told you this 2 years ago – fascia can heal. The information on fascia changes constantly -this can and will change how we rehab and also what we know to be the ideal form for new exercises. Mind blowing!
6. Mood Influences fascia – emotions travel through the fascial web. Sound weird, a bit ‘out there’? Well, research shows it’s true. Emotions travel as chemical reactions through your nervous system. And fascia is highly innervated, right? And, fascia is highly adaptive, right? So, we experience those emotions – anger, sadness, affection, sadness – as a physical event, and a psychological/emotional one too. “Fascia may become stiffer and less compliant when a client is depressed, anxious and fearful.(Shultz & Feitis 1996; Lowe 1989)… Mood greatly influences posture, movement and proprioception.” (* Fascinating facts about fascia. IDEA Fitness Newsletter, Sept 2014.)
Ever had a crappy workout after a bad day? I thought so… but ever notice that your mind AND your body feel better after? Of course!
Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Power Posture if you haven’t seen it:http://www.ted.com/speakers/amy_cuddy
Ok – that’s a TON of info on fascia (I try to read it all, and there’s more all the time).
I’m going to add in a couple of links, and that way you can read what you want, if you want more detail.
The big one for me recently is this, from Brooke Thomas from ‘Liberated Body’ (LOVE that name!). It’s pretty detailed, so you might have to be a body nerd, like she says, to enjoy this one: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/the-top-5-ways-fascia-matters-to-athletes
Or, there is this “Aging or Drying Out?’ from Tom Myers – he has a unique sense of humour – not for everyone but he knows his stuff!
Finally – I’ll leave you with a foot rolling video (this person has very flexible feet – may be not like you – no worries). It’s a few minutes long but that way you can roll and watch.
In the future, I might get around to making those videos myself. I’m still new to the newsletter/blog posting so let me know what you want and how to get it to you. I’m here to help and send you on your way in a whole, new fascially fit way!
Take care, and thanks for reading! Let me know how you are and what needs attention. I was thinking may be hamstrings next????