Well, I thought I knew: bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As a bodyworker, we were taught that massage worked on and affected the muscles and their associated tendons. Muscles mattered. Now the buzz word is fascia.
So what is fascia? It is the body's connective tissue that covers and connects everything in the body. What does it look like? It is easiest to see as the delicate but strong white tissue that covers a leg of lamb.
Why is fascia creating a buzz? It has some amazing and important properties: fascia connects all parts of the body- it is your "body stocking". When you move one part of your body, there is a subtle pull/stretch in another part of the body. This also means that when there is a restriction in one part of the body, there are effects throughout the body.
Fascia is affected by habitually poor posture, trauma, and inflammation. Fascia reacts to these conditions by shortening and becoming more rigid. The body loses its flexibility. Movements become restricted and painful. Restricted fascia can exert a tensile strength of over 2000lbs so it can have quite an effect on the body.
What does this mean for you?
- If problems keep re-curring, it could mean that the area that is giving you problems (such as the knee) may not be the actual problem. A restriction in your hip could affect your knee.
- Does massage only give temporary relief? Maybe you need a session of myofascial release. Stretching the fascia will give your muscles more room to move.