Fascia is a connective tissue found all over the body. It has contractile (like muscle), circulatory (like the vascular system), and sensory (like the nervous system) properties.
And it’s all about sliding layers.
I’m going to start us off with two images:
- The connected bags of air come in your Amazon box.
- A bundle of bundles of bundles of wire that make up a cable on an ocean floor.
Let’s begin with #1. And let’s start at the roots of our toes. Ready?
From the roots of your toes, the plantar fascia goes to your heel bone. It touches down and anchors, then become the Achilles tendon that becomes the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, another touch down at the sides of the femur, then off we are, turning into our hamstrings, sits bone touch down, then on to and into the sacral ligaments, then the paraspinal muscles, and right on up to and on the skull as the epicranial (fancy word for around the head) fascia, which is kind of like a connective tissue swimming cap. Whew!
OK, let’s get our heads around that. Remember the packets of air in the packaging of your Amazon box? Where the air is are the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Where the plastic is sealed between the packets are the anchor points that connect to bony landmarks.
So… that means when we tuck our chins, that movement affects our bodies all the way to the roots of our toes. Whoa. But wait, there’s more.
We are all about layers. And layers of layers, and bundles of bundles. Remember that giant undersea conduit? We have that same structure in every muscle.
And around every nerve cell, liver cell, brain cell- you get the idea.
Earlier we learned that our fascia is connected in long lines.
This is true for all of our tissue types. Each of our inner organs rests in its own fascial packet that is connected to the surrounding structures by a fascial hammock that does its own dance.
OK, I’m going to get a little cosmic for just a small paragraph. I had the amazing experience of going to a weeklong dissection course led by a theologian-turned-massage therapist-turned-anatomy teacher. It was like the best science class and spiritual retreat rolled into one. Here’s what I wrote about our organs afterward:
“Breathe your heart as it rests on your liver like a girl riding a whale. The skin of the whale is your diaphragm rising and falling even as the gentle heartbeat bumps along astride it, as your liver dives and turns in it’s own rhythm. Inhaling into that magnificent relationship let that whole area soften let the solar plexus to the heart is broad the throat is soft feel the ocean inside of you floating, buoyant. When you look out from that place of rest, that place of fluidity inside your own body, there are all the connections, all around you and inside of you.”
OK, back to linear reality.
What I want to leave you with is that sliding idea. In order for our bodies to stay mobile and comfortable, we need to keep moving. That doesn’t mean that you need to undertake a challenging exercise regimen or do something you don’t enjoy.
An easy thing to do every day is to move around like you are trying on a new suit for size. Stretch your arms forward, up, bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Wiggle your hips back and forth. Take your navel in a circle. Bend your knees like you are going to sit down and stand up again. Get those layers sliding!
Guess what else can help fascia move more freely and get layers unstuck? If you guessed acupuncture, you are correct. Acupuncture uses the fascial lines to increase circulation, reduce pain, and free up restricted movement.
We can also create a custom corrective movement routine tailored to your life to help feel better more of the time.
Interested in learning more?
Call today 208-484-4342