The Top Six Ways Fascia Matters to Athletes
Six Fascinating Facts About Fascia - The Forgotten Organ
Fascia is also known as the "forgotten organ." In other words, you're hardly alone if you're unfamiliar with this important component of the connective tissue system. Let's take a closer look at six facts aimed at shining the spotlight on this oft-neglected part of the human anatomy.
1. It's an integral part of the body's connective tissue system.
The International Fascia Research Congress defines fascia as:
- "the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that permeates the human body. It forms a whole-body continuous three-dimensional matrix of structural support. Fascia interpenetrates and surrounds all organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibers, creating a unique environment for body systems functioning."
2. It's widely acknowledged for its important role in how the body functions.
Because fascia plays such an integral role in the body's functionality -- securing muscles and organs in place while regulating biomechanics and supporting mobility -- it has widely been studied in order to promote a better understanding of both the human body and the impact of different types of therapies on the human body's connective tissue matrix.
3. Most people have a limited understanding of fascia for an unexpected reason.
Why are so many people unaware of fascia and the role it plays despite its profound importance? Because it is removed from most anatomic displays in order to allow viewers an unobscured visual of organs, nerves, and muscles. Unfortunately, this can also lead to a limited understanding of how fascia interacts with surrounding musculoskeletal dynamics.
4. Our understanding of fascia is constantly evolving.
While scientists used to think fascia was made up of connected parts, more recent knowledge reveals that it's actually one single sheath. While this in itself is amazing, it also highlights the fact that if one part of this webbing is flawed, the entire system is impacted. One of the most important roles massage therapists, physical therapists, and personal trainers skilled in fascia therapies is identifying and treating the root cause of fascia problems.
5. Treating the fascia impacts both the body and the mind.
Many of the most effective manual therapies used today -- including massage, physical therapy, and personal training -- involve the manipulation and penetration of fascial tissues. In an interview with the StarTribune, one fascial stretch therapist (FST) described the treatment as "like having yoga done to you on the massage table."
It can be more formally defined as "a science-based, dynamic approach to improving multiplanar, multijoint, and rotational movement in the body." The result? Improvements across everything from joint range of motion to posture and circulation. Fascial therapies are even linked with the increased production of endorphins and greater mind/body relaxation.
6. There are many different applications for fascia massage and stretch therapies.
Athletes, including runners, often benefit from this gentle form of deep stretching from enhanced sports performance to reduced risk of injury. Trauma, repetitive stress, lack of movement, and chronic pain can also lead to pain and mobility issues. Just how important a role does fascia therapy play in treating conditions like chronic back, neck, and knee pain; fibromyalgia; plantar fasciitis; and tightness from accidents? It has been described by Calgary's Active Sports Therapy as, "the missing link in returning patients to a pain-free and fully functional lifestyle."
While the benefits of fascial stretch therapy and other therapies which acknowledge the fascia are increasingly well-known, few healthcare professionals are trained in this potentially life-changing treatments. To learn more about this stretch therapy and other vital health and wellness topics, request information from SOCHi today.