Fascia Fundamentals

Connective Tissue is a broad term that includes ligaments, tendons and…fascia. Let’s start with a definition:

Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin, that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.  When healthy, two-thirds of fascia consists of water, allowing muscles to glide and contract (producing force) or extend (stretching).

When we are young, fascia have a lattice-like, wavy, “crimp” pattern that resembles an elastic coil. This “coil” stores up kinetic energy, allowing our muscle fibers to glide smoothly. As we age, however, the pattern becomes irregular and motions become jerky–unless we move the whole body every day! Regular movement of each muscle keeps the crimp, as well as keeping your fascia flexible and fluid. But if you are always moving quickly, you miss the fascia.  In order to move fascia to keep it healthy and flexible, you must move slowly.  That’s why our Essentrics®  trademark moves are are done with slow, big, flowing movements; they help your fascia get a workout, in addition to your muscles.  For a great fascia visual and description, check out the 5-minute Fuzz Speech by Dr. Gil Hedley.

This regular fasacia movement helps keep that youthful spring in your step, but that’s not all. Betty Ng, a respected Essentrics Master Teacher in NYC, recently wrote a great article about how healthy fascia can help you have the explosiveness of a kangaroo in any and all of your favorite activities:  http://www.essentricswithbetty.com/blog-1/what-do-kangeroos-teach-us-about-movements-and-aging

Can Food and Herbs Help Fascia?

Quality fat (olive oil, pastured butter and lard, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seed without vegetable oils) is essential to help everything in your body stay lubricated and flexible, including fascia–while also reducing your sugar cravings. For more information, here’s a link to my current favorite MD,  Cate Shanahan, talking about the benefits of quality fats in your diet.

Herbally speaking, any of the plants I recommend as herbal infusions for their high mineral content (nettle, oat straw, red clover and comfrey leaf) will help support healthy connective tissue of all kinds, including fascia. And if you have a sprain or strain, a comfrey poultice along with a cup or more of herbal infusion, is the ultimate for healing.