Fascia. It seems to be a pretty hot topic lately. Books, articles and papers abound on the topic. I’m not here to give you all of the expert nitty gritty on the subject, but I would like to tell you why I think it is important to you.
What is fascia? Simply put, fascia is a thin layer of tissue that covers and connects absolutely EVERYTHING inside of your body.
Why is fascia important to you? Because healthy fascia greatly helps with the management of pain.
Movement contributes to healthy fascia. From my perspective, since one of the main functions of muscles is heat production, when you move your muscles, you are heating up the fascia. When fascia is heated up it turns into a gel-like state that makes it much easier to move. (That’s called “Thixotropy” for all you word nerds out there).
When your body does not move enough, the fascia thickens and becomes more restrictive. Have you ever worn an item of clothing that is too restrictive? At first, it may be just a little bit uncomfortable, but eventually it actually starts to hurt, right? That’s the way with unhealthy fascia. It can lead to pain in much the same way. Imagine tight fascia squeeeeeezing all your muscles, bones, organs, nerves, etc., etc.
Fascia is like a web that connects everything throughout your entire body. So, if fascia is a little tight in one area of the body, it will be pulling on fascia in other parts of the body, causing increasingly more pain.
So, what’s the main point here? You guessed it! Keep moving everyone!
Another almost shameless plug for massage:
Massage can also help to heat up and stretch the fascia. So get massage frequently and move daily! (Just be sure there is a variety of movement, because repetitive movement can also do damage).
Of course, movement and massage are not the only factors in maintaining healthy fascia, but that is a topic for another day.