Our bodies are comprised as one whole unit with various different parts all working harmoniously as a team, for optimal function and homeostasis. It is such a remarkable existence living within a body. Each and every part of us down to our atomic structures are in accordance with one another to continue to exist and stay alive. All of these parts of our bodies are categorized into various systems. All of these systems are seamlessly connected by layers of tissue called fascia. This tissue is all encompassing. It is connected and envelopes everything within us. With its literal broadness as well as it being viewed as a broad non specific term, hard science has a tough time really understanding its role and function but it is being more and more recognized.
Within body work and manual therapy fascia is kind of like the holy grail when it comes to understanding dysfunction in the body. For body workers and manual therapists understanding that there is a fascial layer above all of our muscles as well as above each individual muscle is very important to induce quality therapeutic and healing work for someone.
A vitally important reason for this is because fascia has the ability to bring awareness to it in order to induce change to alter body composition. Let’s take a look at an example. A person comes to a manual therapist for treatment. They say that they have a sore low back. They believe the reason for their low back soreness is because of many hours of sitting in chairs and couches while on the computer for their job and of course leisure time. With this sore low back most likely the muscles in their lumbar spine as well as muscles that attach to the sacrum are being shortened, tightened, and stagnated. The reason for this is not because the muscles themselves are retreating but more because the fascial layers associated with these muscles are being conditioned to keep the low back muscles from being able to move more freely.
So what is the key here? The key here is to bring awareness to the fascial layers of the low back. For someone that doesn’t have the skill set yet to bring awareness to their low back on their own that is where manual therapy comes in. The manual therapist will use a variety of various techniques unique to that person’s body structure to assist in bringing awareness to the area of dysfunction (this can offer temporary and profound visceral releases of the structures right on the area as well as within the vicinity).
Awareness really with everything is vital to induce change. Without it stagnation occurs and that messy clutter that fills our mental, physical, and spiritual spaces begins to have free rein over us. Taming the clutter can only happen with awareness. I digress to reiterate that fascia teams up with our brain to offer awareness. Once awareness is accessed by our fascial layer around a specific area of dysfunction we are then able to create change outside of the treatment room and in our every day lives.
Manual therapists are here to assist the body in creating this change, we are not here to do it. For the change to occur and progress to a desired outcome it is important for us to be able to humble ourselves enough to be able to work on changing our body composition for the dysfunction to evolve.