sports massage

What the heck is Fascia and what does it do for me?

Many magazines, health journals, and news stories tell us that healthy fascia is key to a healthy lifestyle.  Leaving many to wonder what exactly fascia is and where it is in our bodies.  How does fascia help us in our everyday lives?  What happens to it as we age?  Why is myofascial release the type of bodywork recommended to keep us pain free and moving easily?

As a massage therapist with extensive training in John Barnes Myofascial Release,  I’ve answered these questions countless times.  Now, you can read the answers and more in my article from the March 2016 issue of Good Health Magazine.  On page 19, you’ll find an easy to understand summary of what fascia is, where it’s located in the body, and what it does.

In next month’s blog,  I’ll explain in more detail about why waiting 3-5 minutes minimum for fascia to release is crucial.

Click the link below for Lorrie’s article on page 19:

 https://issuu.com/fixmemphis/docs/good_health_memphis_march_2016

Sports and Myofascial Release

When it comes to sports, fascia can be your friend or foe. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, John Barnes Myofascial Release is essential for stellar performance, less injury, and staying on top of your game as you age.

fascia manMyo means muscle and fascia is connective tissue. According to the International Congress on Fascia, “Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that permeates the human body. It forms a whole-body continuous three-dimensional matrix…”.  For muscles to contract and relax and tissues to glide against one another during movement, fascia must be hydrated and pliable.  Fascia is also the body’s shock absorber and when it becomes stiff or restricted force disperses unevenly throughout the body, leading to injury. Did you know tight fascia can even prevent muscle firing and lead to muscle weakness?

Fascia becomes tight and stuck in athletes for many reasons.  The healing process after trauma, surgery, and muscle tears can leave layers of fascia to stuck together (adhesions).  Poor body mechanics, repetitive strain, and chronic inflammation can cause tightness in fascia that doesn’t respond to traditional stretching.  Unfortunately, as we age, fascia becomes stiffer and less pliable.

John Barnes Myofascial Release is an effective form of bodywork that can get you moving with more ease.  It’s a non-aggressive modalitydr. g fascia that produces profound results. Your therapist will gently elongate your fascia for a minimum of 3-5 minutes, releasing the elasto-collagenous complex. No lubrication is used and your therapist may work in areas that seem unrelated to your symptoms.  This is because the fascial system is completely interconnected.

After a few sessions you will notice greater range of motion, less pain, and better performance. Even long-standing injuries respond to the gentle methods used in John Barnes Myofascial Release.  The longer you’ve been experiencing problems, the more sessions it may take to get you back in top form.  However, including self-myofascial release in your daily care regimen will speed up the results exponentially.

Where is fascia in my body?

Let’s imagine your body were an orange.  This is how your fascia would be arranged:

  • Superficial fascia is like the thick, white, hard tissue that attaches the orange to the peel.  In us it holds the skin to the body and provides a framework for subcutaneous fat.
  • Inner Layer-  Deep fascia is like the white fibers that separate the sections of an orange. For us, it separates our organs and keeps them in place. Without deep fascia our organs would drop down into our legs every time we stand!
  • Cellular Level- Cellular fascia is like the white fibers that weave through a single slice.  It holds the slice together and holds in the juice. In our bodies, cellular fascia keeps the 70% of our bodies that is fluid in the right place.

What does fascia do in my body?*

  • Supports and stabilizes, enhancing the postural balance of the body.

  • Is vitally involved in all aspects of motion and acts as a shock absorber.

  • Aids in circulatory economy, especially in venous and lymphatic fluids.

  • Fascial change will often precede chronic tissue congestion, creating fibrous tissue.

  • Is a major area of inflammatory processes.

  • Has it’s own contractile forces that allow fascia to contract during fight-or-flight.

  • When tight, can inhibit muscle firing, leading to weakness.

*John F. Barnes, PT

There’s no reason to be stuck on the side lines.  Call 901-496-2881 to schedule your first appointment for John Barnes Myofascial Release.