There are a number of different descriptions of fascia and its role in the body offered in the massage field, and, more broadly, throughout the medical community. Partly because we came to understand individual muscles and organs of the body before understanding the fascial network, it became known as the connective tissue that fills the space between those muscles and organs.
But what if we turn the picture around, and look from a different point of view: Perhaps the fascial network is the primary system, with pockets scattered throughout -- in which lie the muscles and the organs. A system which also gives a home to blood vessels and nerves, which live within the web of fascia. The network that holds our basic shape, connected in one continuous web from head to foot. Possibly even the seat of consciousness.
Fascial tissue has a powerful tensile strength, and when it becomes restricted it can pull the bones of the skeleton out of alignment. It can also impinge upon nerve fibers and blood vessels. To be quite clear: issues in the fascia often play a significant role in conditions of pain, discomfort, disease -- yet myofascial bodywork is often overlooked as a potential resource, perhaps because it is a relatively gentle technique. Or because, after all, isn't the fascia just filler between the muscles and organs?
Myofascial therapists consistently report positive results across a range of symptoms and diagnoses. To name just a few common issues, these range from headaches to backache, frozen shoulder to plantar fasciitis, sciatica, joint pain, TMJD, whiplash, fibromyalgia. Release of fascial restrictions in the pelvic floor has helped to resolve a variety of issues for both women and men.
Myofascial bodywork has helped clients prepare for surgery, and has helped to speed the healing process after surgery or accident. In a client battling a degenerative disease such as Parkinson's, myofascial work can help modulate the symptoms, and thereby give a measure of relief.
At a more general level, myofascial bodywork offers profound relaxation. Through a very specific type of stretching, tension which is locked into the collagen fibers of the fascia gets released. The result, which might play out over 24 -36 hours, is more freedom of movement, or perhaps a feeling of lightness. Less pain, more freedom of movement.
In many cases, this style of fascial stretching can be taught to the client, to be done between sessions, or perhaps to be done without the need for returning to the therapist. Sometimes, the problem was caused by some form of trauma, and myofascial work can restore the tissue and solve the problem, with no need for ongoing treatment. Every body, and every situation, is different and unique.
So, if you would like to explore how myofascial bodywork can benefit you, book a session. I am blessed to have been able to learn this style of bodywork, and grateful for the opportunity to share it with my clients. I split my time between different studios, located in Albany, Troy and Schenectady (New York). I also see clients on a regular basis in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. That's a bit of a long story. Maybe I will have the opportunity to tell it to you someday. hide