The body is fascinating on so many levels. It’s a sophisticated and complicated machine that, through modern science and technological advances, slowly uncovers more of its secrets, like the importance of fascia. What is fascia and how it affects a person is vital for each one to understand for his optimal health, and even more so important for the medical community.
What is fascia?
- Fascia exists virtually throughout the entire body, much like a densely woven spider web. This connective tissue that’s relaxed and wavy in its configuration, when in its normal state, covers and penetrates vital organs, the spinal cord, muscles, arteries, veins, nerves, and bones. It also exists in the body without interruption, meaning it is one structure that connects every part of the body. Of late, fascia has become the “in” word that’s receiving plenty of attention in conferences and therapy offices, like chiropractic, physical, and massage therapy.
- Fascia attaches and supports the human body. As such, it can directly impact an individual’s overall health if trauma, either emotional or physical, inflammation, surgery, or other issues are experienced, causing the fascia to lose its pliability. Once pliability is lost, it causes tension in various parts of the body. Pain is a common symptom that occurs when the fascial system has been subjected to trauma. Many may experience difficulty in performing their normal daily activities due to motion restrictions or headaches.
- Schools provide outdated information about fascia by about 70 years leaving doctors and dentists to misdiagnose patients, providing them only temporary relief. Updating and altering the paradigm based on assumptions would help to complete this otherwise flawed paradigm upon which the medical community bases its ideologies. This outdated information leaves most patients misdiagnosed, as the standard tests, such as X-rays and CAT scans, are incapable of pinpointing the problem.
- Today there is plenty of research dedicated to the fascia. Although much of the findings are debatable, many continue to speculate about its importance. Consider that much that has to do with the fascia is a mystery to science: it’s still unknown, for example, whether the fascia can tighten around muscles, or that it’s simply a liquid. What is promising are the clues. Both medicine and science are guilty of guessing when hard facts are lacking, eventually leading to the discovery that those guesses were, for the most part, incorrect. However, there is some interesting and promising research that seems reasonable, but some has also proven to be irrelevant for patients. Before falling victim to the therapeutic significance of fascia, it’s important that the new biology is useful. Biology is fascinating, but there must be some evidence that it’s useful to help improve treatment.
- It’s crucial to understand what role fascia plays in the body. It has a vital function to protect the body from infection, acting as a barrier to limit the spread of pathogens. On the flip side, it traps infection that can lead to the destruction of a compartment without yielding, cutting off all circulation and leaving the flesh in the compartment to die. Human intervention is required to save the flesh by slicing open the compartment and allow it to bleed, although there are no guarantees. Often the solution in such situations is amputation, otherwise it could be life-threatening. These are facts about fascia.
- Speculation about fascia is that it is piezoelectric, although some have taken the idea as a proven fact. The extensive fascial plasticity studies demonstrate the fact that fascia does not respond quickly to manipulation; it changes slowly and is extremely tough. According to these studies, it doesn’t respond massage therapy. That said, piezoelectricity may work somehow in fascia, but that is yet to be determined. Certainly, a reliable therapy cannot be devised when facts are unknown.
- Stimulating the fascia may, however, reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, but it would require further study to prove this, although patients rarely seek therapy for this purpose. This study demonstrates some evidence about fibroblasts and their positive response to mechanical forces.
Myofascial Release is a hands-on technique used in massage therapy to eliminate pain. It’s intended to help restore motion. Each patient is unique, and so, self-treatment is necessary to improve flexibility, and movement and postural awareness. Treatment sessions are performed without the use of oils or creams. It is believed that, through the application of appropriate pressure, it can release the fascia.
While piezoelectricity may occur in fascia, it has no clinical relevance that it can be manipulated through manual therapy. It’s also inconceivable that fascia, even thin fascia, can physically be changed or stretched, according to science. Science and the medical community use their approach treating patients, through medications that provide temporary relief from pain. Therapists that focus on the Myofascial system aim to treat the causes and not the symptoms by eliminating pressure in the restricted Myofascial system.