What makes up the fascia and how it connects the mind & body?
Myofascial Release is an integrated therapy that acts globally within your body, mind and spirit.
The three main elements of the fascia are;
Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins in our bodies. Both collagen and elastin exist within a gel like fluid called the ground substance.
Collagen gives strength and stability, protecting against over extension.
Elastin allows for flexibility – this elastic quality enables the connective tissue to stretch to the limit of the collagen fibres, whilst at the same time absorbing tensile force.
Fascia constantly changes to adhere to its shape, a little like wall paper paste. It is responsive to pressures and loads. The more rapid a force – the more rigid the tissue becomes.
This is why in MFR we use gentle sustained touch as we want to meet resistance at restrictions rather than a rigid barrier.
The ground substance surrounds the elastin and collagen, forming the immediate environment for all cells in the body. It maintains space between the collagen and elastin and absorbs shock dispersing it throughout the body.
Elements are exchanged within the ground substance, such as nutrients, hormones, antibodies, cellular waste, white blood cells, gases.
Therefore, the condition of the ground substance can affect the rate of diffusion & communication of these elements and consequently affect our physical and emotional state.
There are three primary conditions that affect the fascia and cause restrictions, these are;
INJURY & TRAUMA (this can be anything physical or emotional)
AN INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE
How does a restriction occur?
In response to the above, the fascia solidifies, thickens and shortens. As a result the body loses it physiological adaptive capability; its ability to function optimally.
A restriction of any part of the fascial network will cause negative stress on distant aspects and structures.
Hopefully, from my first blog you understood that the fascia is ever connecting.
Dividing, enveloping, encompassing, supporting everything, therefore a restriction in one area may cause dysfunction elsewhere.
A restriction will creep, subtly and insidiously throughout the body and cause subsequent trauma, discomfort and limited movement.
Imagine you have a full body, tight fitting onsie on. If you scrunched up part of the suit tension would be placed elsewhere.
This is similar to the characteristic of the fascia – it is 3d in nature and abnormal forces applied anywhere will create tensile forces elsewhere.
But how does it connect the mind and body?
Myofascial theory forwards that not only the physical structures become restricted but the thoughts, memory and reactions felt at the time of trauma or injury also become restricted. This is termed Body memory.
Our fascial network maintains balance and intends to reduce physical and emotional trauma (these components should never be separated).
The more dysfunction there is the less dynamic the fascia becomes.
Instead of maintaining structural integrity, restoring cellular health and allowing us to flourish, we become tight, unable to cope with stresses and consequently we feel discomfort, (physically and mentally).
These become our symptoms.
Myofascial release aims to reorganise the fascia back into its fluid form.
allowing the body to communicate effectively again,
releasing body wide tension,
freeing up the mind, and
allowing the body to unwind stored memories and restrictions that aren’t necessary to carry anymore.