Fascia is connective tissue. It connects every part of the body with every other part, wrapping around muscles and holding organs in place. Addressing issues in the fascia can reduce pain, increase range of motion, and help nourish muscles and nerves.
Fascia does not stretch. It is made mostly of collagen fibers, and it responds to how we regularly use our bodies. When we do one thing most of the time, like sit at a desk, the fascia will respond by growing in ways that hold that shape. When we then stand or run or stretch, the adjusted shape of the fascia can make that difficult or painful.
We can change the shape of our fascia by lengthening it. Moving our bodies regularly, especially using our full range of motion, helps the fascia grow in ways that facilitate that movement. Bodywork is also very effective for lengthening fascia. Bodyworkers are able to address shortened tissues and thickened fascia, and ashiatsu (foot pressure) techniques are especially effective for lengthening.
Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that is specifically focused on working with fascia. It works to reorganize the connective tissues of the body. This helps restore range of motion, reduces chronic muscle tension, and can often resolve long standing pain issues.
Fascia can also be changed through hydration. The collagen fibers of fascia are bathed in fluid, mostly lymph. Therapy balls and foam rollers are able to move fluid through the fascia directly. Bodywork also moves it. Applying pressure to the skin pushes fluid through the fascia. This redistributes nutrients and helps hydrate the tissues. In this case, hydration is not about how much water you drink, but about how well that fluid is distributed in the body.
Fascia is a part of the body that literally connects us to ourselves. When it is too tight, too loose, or too thick, it can contribute to a lot of pain and dysfunction. There are proven integrative care techniques to treat fascia, helping to address issues and create health.