Fascia is a collagenous connective tissue that permeates the entire body. It encapsulates your muscles, nerves, blood vessels, viscera and bones. It can be found superficially in the skin all the way down to the space between each and every cell.
Fascia’s cellular makeup creates a dense and resilient tissue capable of handling an incredible amount of stress. As a result it is slow to shift, morphing over the course of months and years in response to how we use and hold our bodies. Unfortunately most people reside in poor seated positions the majority of their days creating the environment for the many different postural changes we commonly see in everyday life.
This postural change has consequences as fascia is also richly embedded with nerves transmitting a wide variety of information to the central nervous system at any given moment. One type of nerve, called nociceptors, deals with sending pain signals. When the fascial system becomes distorted and stressed due to poor postural changes a constant bombardment of pain signals is sent to the central nervous system and brain throughout the day and night. The intensity of these signals ranges from mild discomfort to debilitating pain.
To ease this pain and prevent further injury it is important to seek out a manual therapist that is trained in the manipulation of this pervasive tissue. Many forms of bodywork have been created and evolved to care for fascia. The most common of these are Structural Integration and Myofascial Release. It is important to recognize that most massage therapists are not qualified to properly perform this type of work. However, working with a capable therapist will allow your body to begin changing its structure for the better and start the process of moving toward a position of ease and freedom leaving behind restriction and discomfort.
The Fuzz Speech by Dr. Gil Hedley is a wonderful short easy to understand talk about fascia.