What is Fascia?
Fascia is a real, live system that is often overlooked when it comes to prehabilitation, rehabilitation, and the recovery phase of athletics or injury. It is a fibrous tissue that connects every cell in our body. This connective tissue forms a web throughout our body extending from our head to our toes. Fascia surrounds and infuses every muscle,bone, nerve and organ in our body.
“Fascia - or connective tissue, is what glues us together. So, it’s a broad use of the word fascia. What we are really talking about is the body extracellular net that holds us together”
- Tom Myers
Yoga is one example of exercise that works on our fascial network. Our fascia acts like a wet sponge when it is healthy. It is pliable and is easy to move freely. By aging, not moving, dehydration, and other factors; our fascia will act as a dry and brittle sponge instead. Due to trauma, stress, poor posture, and many other factors, this fascial network becomes painful and out of place.
As much as I love yoga sometimes it is not enough to fix these problems. Trigger points in the muscles have to be deactivated to lengthen the muscle and let it perform the way it is supposed to perform. A good way to think of it is like stretching a knot in a thick rubber band. What happens? The knot gets tighter and harder to untie. Trigger points are painful, difficult to deal with, and need to be released by direct pressure.
A good massage is the absolute best way to do this, but it can be expensive and you may not always have access to a therapist. There is an easier and quicker way to provide short term relief and this is through foam rolling. Foam rolling can be done on a foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or by using a tiger tail.
When you apply pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. Consistency is the key to foam rolling. Try adding it into your routine either before or after to aid in recovery, prevent injury, and for healthy fascia!
“Fascia as a shape shifter, being responsible for the shape of our body and particularly locking us into permanent posture patterns.” - Tom Myers
Yours in health,