It’s Fascia-nating

Here’s a little fun fact: Fascia was only recently discovered about 30 years ago. While new scientific studies are coming out about the impact of fascia on our bodies, there is also a lot of misinformation. 

You may have seen workshops, Instagram or social media posts, and information about Myofascial release or myofascial massage techniques. Even at the studio, we’ve offered a workshop with the myofascial release rolling balls…it’s been proved this all feels good, but scientists still don’t exactly know what the f*ck is going on with that d*mn onesie.


Here’s the catch - because the findings of fascia are so new, there aren’t really any scientific studies to test and prove the use of the therapy. This has a lot to do with the fact that the therapy techniques vary so much from therapist to therapist...but in my non-scientific opinion - damn it feels great. 


What is fascia? In yoga teacher training this past weekend Lauren described it as “the onesie that goes underneath your skin that holds everything intact…underneath your skin onesie” - creepy.


Basically, it’s like Spanx for your insides….


However, the scientific definition of fascia is TBD because they are still learning about it. It’s a four-dimensional network that wraps around and separates every part of the body, creating structural continuity and helping give shape and function to all the tissues and organs. So..fascia is a BFD (aka Big F*cking Deal.) 


They can’t agree because it’s still so new to study. They used to just cut through it on autopsies and throw it away - like we take off tags on new shirts. Like “bye girl, don’t need that anymore.” Super whoopsies when you need to return that shirt and super whoopsies when they realized fascia is super important. 


One study described fascia as an orange: Just as the orange is surrounded by a white skin of cellular tissue, which simultaneously maintains the consistency and gives shape to the pulp, our body (under the layer of skin) is surrounded and covered by connective tissue called superficial fascia. In addition, the orange is divided into segments that contain small sacks full of juice. The human body is very similar, since every structure of the body, every muscle, and every organ is surrounded by a sheath of connective tissue. Even the juice of the orange can be compared to the ground substance (aqueous gel) found in the body. Also again, totally creepy. 


So what does all of this have to do with yoga?


Wow, what a great question - thanks!


MYTH BUSTED: You cannot stretch your fascia. Though fascia is made up of collagen and elastic fibers and does have some stretching capacity, your body cannot stretch ONE thing. When you are in a yoga class or in a massage there are a number of other factors at play. Your body works as a whole and your muscles work together to create movement. Think of walking up the stairs - as you bend your knee, your bended knee’s quad lengthens and your hamstring contracts. You cannot physically isolate one single thing in your body. There also hasn’t been enough valid evidence that shows certain stretches enhance or help to stretch the fascia in your body. Study after study has shown that since your fascia can stretch as you move, if you don’t move a lot, your fascia gets stiff. This can be a huge cause of unexplained pain for some people. 


(Reminder yoga teachers aren’t doctors, if you DO have pain or chronic pain, you should MOST DEF see a doctor. My studio liability coverage will not let me or any other teacher administer you medical advice or shots - no matter how persistent I am at getting me to stab you with a needle. Potentially this scenario only happened once and there was a doctor there and no, I didn’t get to do it in that potentially fake scenario.) 


The more sedentary your lifestyle, the less responsive your fascia becomes and you become a lot more stiff. Your fascia connects everything, kinda like that orange example. Some say, it’s all so connected: fascia, brain, gut, muscles, organs, bones, etc. that you only have like one big muscle, and the less you move the worse it gets. 


It’s so important to get out of your head and back into your body for so many reasons constantly discussed, but because your inner onesie depends on it. It’s like putting on a snug pair of jeans right out of the dryer…they are going to feel stiff.

This week make sure you take some time to get up from your desk and take a lap, oh yeah - you could also book your next yoga class here


Want more information about fascia? Chat with Lauren at the studio, she’s a great person to get amazing references for anatomy and physiology books as well as medical case studies!

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