Fascia is a slick, connective webbing that exists all throughout your body, from the surface of your skin to the nucleus of your cells. It gives your muscles their shape. It provides form, communication and electrical tone for your entire organism. It is a wet, 3D matrix, fractal and beautiful in design, providing dynamic adaptability and cellular exchange. It is richly innervated, so much so that it can be seen as an extension of the sensory nervous system. Through it’s constant collection of stimulus and its ability to provide shape to the body, fascia is a huge component to the sensory-motor feedback loop that makes your body what it is.
Fascia is constantly “on” receiving stimulus and shaping itself to assist in our movements. You could even say “fascia follows function.”
Fascia is the aspect of your muscles that develops knots and trigger points. They are a manifestation of how you move, or don’t move, in your daily life.
Tension requires us to use energy. When we have tension in our shoulders, for example, fascia responds to those areas, shaping itself like supportive scaffolding to relieve us of the work and save us energy. This manifests as knots.
It is quick to respond, that is why you can wake up in the morning with a stiff neck from one night of sleeping with neck tension. We might even take it further and say “fascia follows tension.”
You can spend an hour stretching in a yoga class, or even an hour or two on the massage table having your knots rubbed out, but what you do for the other 23 hours of the day is equally influenceable on the quality of your fascia.
The great news is that when we become aware of this, we can practice replacing tension habits with relaxing ones all throughout the day.
I love to massage knots and trigger points. It feels good for good reason, but I can also see how it does not address the cause of the disfunction.
Tension does not exist separate from you. It is a manifestation of your thoughts and movements, literally. In order to prevent knots and trigger points, we need to address our thoughts and movements, especially the ones that have become so habitual that we don’t even know we are engaging in them.
Fascia is cooperative, we don’t need to treat it like a problem or an enemy to fight. It needs to be understood on a subjective, personal level. We can explore and uncover subconscious tension with passive movement on the massage table. Through awareness we have access to change; if we can change our tension habits we can change the quality of our fascia. This way of understanding yourself becomes habit and can replace unconscious tendencies towards tension and unnecessary guarding throughout your daily living.
A tense body is a tense mind, it fatigues us through excessive energy use and affects the way we think about ourselves and the world around us.