Fascia is your body armor. It is your first line of defense in protecting vital organs, bone, nerves and blood vessels. And it is called into action to form scar tissue and allow for initiation of the healing process once tissue damage has taken place.
It is stressed every time you bump your hip into that dresser, every time you fall learning to skate, and when your kids talk you into that rickety roller coaster ride. On the surface you may not look any different; but over time, trauma to the fascial system causes trouble below the surface. With inflammation, the fascia tightens and hardens. If scar tissue has been laid down, it spreads outward from the initial site of injury, intertwining around whatever is in the neighborhood. Scar tissue is much like a plant root. On the surface you see a flower. Underneath the surface is the intertwining root system looking to anchor that flower to anything in the vicinity. And so it goes in the human body as well. On the surface of the skin, you may see a bruise or neat surgical incision; but underneath lies a dynamic webbing that holds you together. With stress, the fascia will pull, compress, and anchor itself to anything under the surface of your skin.
We all have fascial restrictions. We are not always symptomatic at a conscious level. Myofascial restrictions may first be perceived as that chronic stiffness in the low back after sitting through a meeting. Over time you may notice accompanying that stiffness is a difficulty getting comfortable at night to sleep. Next is chronic tension between the shoulder blades. Perhaps tightening in the jaw. Still none of this causes you to leap into action. But it is the fascial system at work, letting you quietly know that it is needing attention. Most of my clients are introduced to the fascial system after what they perceive as a “catastrophic” event that resulted in immediate pain or injury. Over the course of treatment, they begin to recognize that the warning signs had been there. They just didn’t know to look for them.
My hope for you is that over time, you will begin to catch the messages your body is sending a lot sooner. Myofascial restrictions can be released with treatment. Catastrophic events can be avoided. Your health and vitality can flourish. You can learn your body’s language and use myofascial release as a tool to maintaining a healthful lifestyle.