What is fascia?
Fascia is an interwoven system of translucent connective tissue found throughout the body. Your fascia provides a complex framework that helps support and protect muscles, organs, and the entire body as a whole, and if you had to remove everything except for the fascia, there would still be a recognisable human body shape.
It is this soft, slippery film that allows muscles to move without friction and for the whole body to move as a unit, with fluidity and balance.
It is also intricately linked to our nervous system, and is an organ of proprioception (sense of position and movement).
The topmost layer, the superficial fascia, lies just beneath the skin and is the sheath between skin and muscle. You can “communicate”, via touch, to deeper layers of fascia, by touching and stimulating the superficial fascia.
Deep fascia encases muscles and includes visceral fascia, which encloses the internal organs in an ever-protective net.
A great analogy is to picture an orange, which represents a body. The skin would be your skin, the pith (the white layer immediately underneath) would be your fascia and the individual pockets within the orange represent all the muscles and organs in your body – each one wrapped neatly in their own coating.
The health and strength of your fascia is key to good health and synergy throughout each system of your body. If the fascia is tight, the whole body tightens up, as this “sheath” or “wrap” is everywhere.
Why fascia release?
We all have stress in our daily lives, whether low-grade continuous exposure or one-off intense situations and these cause our bodies to react by producing stress hormones as well as physically storing these incidents in our bodies (and our fascia tightens in vulnerable areas of our bodies). If the tightening is not released, it can thicken over time, causing lack of mobility or suppleness, and pain.
We can counteract this tightening by manually stimulating the fascia. Your fascia release therapist will know how to feel their way around your body to establish the source of pain or discomfort as well as releasing the tightening, and it has to be remembered: the location of the pain is not always where the problem lies, it can be emanating from a completely different site altogether!
The process of release stimulates the tissue, encouraging it to release stored toxins and plump up as it rehydrates and begins to move fluidly again.