Fascia: the one tissue that connects it all
Updated: Oct 24, 2021
One of the things that struck me the most during our teacher training was the encounter with this fascinating connective tissue called fascia. The definition is still under process, but the most accepted one by the scientific community was proposed by Findley and Schleip at the first Fascia Research Congress in 2007: “all of the soft fibrous connective tissues that permeate the human body”. Even today, when I read this statement, it feels remarkable for two reasons. The first one is that the research on fascia is still surprisingly recent (I definitely didn’t study it in my biology class at school). The second is even more striking: basically, we are made of fascia!
But let us zoom in on what it actually means. Fascia is a connective tissue highly differentiated, which means that it can occur in our bodies on a wide range of densities and shapes. It starts underneath the skin and connects muscle to bone (tendons are considered a part of the fascial system), and bone to bone (ligaments are also considered a part of the fascial system), slings your organ structures, cushions your vertebrae (vertebral discs and membranes that wrap the organs are part of the fascial system too!!), and wraps your bones.
This network is also tightly connected to the way we move and sense. In fact, although we are taught to view individual muscles as the things that move our skeleton, during any body movement a large portion of that tensional force is transmitted via fascial sheets. What does it mean? Imagine it as an intricate network of wires, sheets and bags that transition into one another and orchestrate globally to create a body movement as Brooke Thomas beautifully describes in the pamphlet “Why Fascia Matters”.