myofascial

The newest organ, the Fascia

The most complex organ of all?

myofascial

There are three networks within the body that, if extracted intact, would show the shape of the whole body, both inside and out: the vascular system, the neural net and the fascia web.


The fascia web is a spiderweb like connective tissue in our body that surrounds the muscles and organs, bones, blood vessels and nerve fibres holding them in place. It also creates the membranes in which our brain sits. The fascial web not only surrounds organs but goes down to the cellular level and its role is far more complex and fascinating than we initially thought was simply holding things in place. 


The fascia was ignored for many years by our scientists, who would dissect straight through it during their study of the human body thinking that it had nothing to offer us


Now we know that the fascia web is a single piece of fabric and that it doesn’t divide. We also know that our body is a biotensegrity structure and our fascia is holding our organs, bones and other structures floating in place (bear in mind this is a very basic way of putting it). This means that any restriction or alteration of the fascia (and that includes muscles and other structures) affects the whole system and not just the area where the injury or restriction occurs.   

There are three networks within the body that, if extracted intact, would show the shape of the whole body, both inside and out: the vascular system, the neural net and the fascia web.


The fascia web is a spiderweb like connective tissue in our body that surrounds the muscles and organs, bones, blood vessels and nerve fibres holding them in place. It also creates the membranes in which our brain sits. The fascial web not only surrounds organs but goes down to the cellular level and its role is far more complex and fascinating than we initially thought was simply holding things in place. 


The fascia was ignored for many years by our scientists, who would dissect straight through it during their study of the human body thinking that it had nothing to offer us


Now we know that the fascia web is a single piece of fabric and that it doesn’t divide. We also know that our body is a biotensegrity structure and our fascia is holding our organs, bones and other structures floating in place (bear in mind this is a very basic way of putting it). This means that any restriction or alteration of the fascia (and that includes muscles and other structures) affects the whole system and not just the area where the injury or restriction occurs.   

myofascial

Direct work to the fascia has been around for a while thanks to people like the legend Ida Rolf who started developing her treatment method around the 1940’s. Although hers is not the only way of working with the fascia, today her knowledge is one of the biggest and most effective tools a manual therapist can have in the treatment room. Tom Myers, initially one of her students, went back to the dissection room and dissected bodies following the lines created by the fascia rather than cutting through them. He discovered 12 fascial lines in which structures are deeply connected to one another. This gave us fascia maps. Restrictions anywhere along the fascial train will directly affect the behaviour of the other structures that are part of that train as well as the whole body.

 

The advances in science and the work of Ida Rolf, Tom Myers and many other legendary scientists and practitioners in the past few decades have deepened our understanding of the fascia and have given it a new superpower which has caused a revolution in the world of body work over the past few years. 

 

The fascia may also hold some of our deepest secrets. We already know that the fascia responds to chemical signals ultimately controlled by our brain and by our thought process. This suggests emotions directly affect the health and behaviour of our cells, already a day-to-day reality in many practitioners treatment rooms, and although this is an area where more research is being undertaken, everything that has been discovered so far, points in that direction.

Direct work to the fascia has been around for a while thanks to people like the legend Ida Rolf who started developing her treatment method around the 1940’s. Although hers is not the only way of working with the fascia, today her knowledge is one of the biggest and most effective tools a manual therapist can have in the treatment room. Tom Myers, initially one of her students, went back to the dissection room and dissected bodies following the lines created by the fascia rather than cutting through them. He discovered 12 fascial lines in which structures are deeply connected to one another. This gave us fascia maps. Restrictions anywhere along the fascial train will directly affect the behaviour of the other structures that are part of that train as well as the whole body.

 

The advances in science and the work of Ida Rolf, Tom Myers and many other legendary scientists and practitioners in the past few decades have deepened our understanding of the fascia and have given it a new superpower which has caused a revolution in the world of body work over the past few years. 

 

The fascia may also hold some of our deepest secrets. We already know that the fascia responds to chemical signals ultimately controlled by our brain and by our thought process. This suggests emotions directly affect the health and behaviour of our cells, already a day-to-day reality in many practitioners treatment rooms, and although this is an area where more research is being undertaken, everything that has been discovered so far, points in that direction.