What is Fascia? To me it is the spiderweb of hollow tubes that carry fluid, surround every cell of every part of your body, capable of instantaneous changes relative to changes in pressure, stretch, chemical, heat, cold, and any other stimulus you can think of. According to Dr Guy VOYER DO it is “the skin of the structure that gives it shape and structural integrity. Fascia is the link…it is the link between all the structures of the body, making the body a global structure”. A few examples of fascia would be: a muscle blending into a tendon which in turn blends into the periosteum (the “skin” of the bone). Another example would be the sclera of the eye blending into the dura matter of the brain then blending into the spinal cord and nerves.
When working with the fascia we can look at it many different ways…..First and foremost we must consider the quality of the fascia. Being composed of mostly water and collagen, it is of extreme importance to be well hydrated. A general rule is to drink at least 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day (more if you live in altitude, heat, or are active). In fact exercising or receiving manual therapy with dehydrated tissue can actually increase mechanical stress and inflammation leading to soft tissue injuries. A second consideration to consider when working with fascia is scar tissue. As I tell my clients, scars are like trees. The part you can see is like the trunk, branches, and leaves of the tree. Much like a tree a scar also has roots, roots that run wide and deep in multiple directions. Scar tissue lacks the necessary pliability for tissues to comfortably slide on one another. This lack of pliability leads to a decrease in range of motion to the effected joints and a compensation for said lack of range of motion elsewhere in the body. There are many ways to address scars including: hydration, manual therapy, cupping, myofascial stretching, and of course the ELDOA.
Once you’ve gotten yourself well hydrated (which can take upwards of 3 weeks if you are already in a dehydrated state) try stretching out your forearm fascial with our latest youtube video:
Check back in next week as we dive deeper into what actually happens when you stretch fascia…..
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