All About Fascia...
Updated: Apr 30
Have you heard of fascia? It’s been getting more press recently within the wellness community. However, we’re still only just beginning to understand how it works.
You can think of fascia as a Saran Wrap for your muscles, organs, and nerves. It helps us keep our physical shape and also connects to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons at thousands of different points. Because of this, it’s the ultimate communicator and can send signals from one part of the body to another.
As of current, most of the literature surrounding fascia has been created for movement professionals such as massage therapists, personal trainers, Pilates instructors, and yoga teachers. Every once in a while, a term like “plantar fasciitis” comes up in Western medicine, but otherwise, the fascia was typically viewed as no more than a type of packing material. Finally, people are starting to pay attention to why fascia is an important part of our biological fabric.
Here’s what you need to know.
Your fascia wants to be treated like a sponge. Hydration is important, but you also need to move, squeeze, and stretch so that the water is distributed properly throughout your fascia. You can do this by drinking plenty of water while also partaking in activities such as yoga, foam rolling, and general exercise and bodywork.
Fascia attaches to your muscles and is informed by them. While fascia is not a muscle itself and will never replace the function of a muscle, it moves WITH the muscle. Therefore its shape is affected by how you move (or don’t move).
Because fascia is subdermal, working with fascia over time through things like foam rolling, massage, or movement can actually change the way that fat is distributed under the skin.
An emotional release is possible with fascia bodywork. How? We don’t know for sure. But it’s a practical truth that when you apply the right pressure to certain parts of the body, feelings like euphoria or sadness can arise.
Even less than five minutes of self-myofascial release a day is fantastic for the body. One of the best places to begin is at your feet, which serves as your body’s front line of defense in fighting general joint wear and tear.
Luckily, you can give yourself a foot massage without contorting your body or wearing out your thumbs, all you need is a tennis ball!
Stand near a wall and place the tennis ball under the right foot. Visually draw a line between the 2nd and 3rd toes down the center arch of the foot to the heel. Slowly roll up and down this center line and watch for any tender or sticky spots. Stop on a sweet spot and lean in. This will apply more pressure. If you want even more sensation lift and spread your toes.
When you’re ready, release some of your hold and gently roll the ball along the sole of the foot. Then, walk around and see how you feel. Repeat on the other side.
Check out this video on Myofascial release for the neck
Skip ahead to 2:40 to get to the exercise itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jQmlwaP22c
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