21 Jan The Fascination with Fascia
New research indicates that certain cells found in the fascia communicate directly with the nervous system, each other, and with every other organ in the body. If this is true, this thinking challenges what we thought we knew—the central nervous system may not be the one in control of all of the body systems.
It used to be thought that the fascia was just a wall of tissue that surrounds everything—lining the walls of the trunk and pelvis, wrapping around muscles and organs. This new research is showing that the fascia is more like a highway where cells live and where nutrients and waste can travel to other cells or directly to the lymphatic system. If true, it makes sense that the fascia would play a significant role in our immune system and overall wellness.
There are different types of fascia—superficial or deep, dense or non-dense. The fascia of the nervous system is called meninges, the fascia surrounding the lungs is plurae, and the pericardium surrounds the heart. Are all of these different types of fascia connected and working together on some deeper level? Do they communicate amongst each other, and to the body as a whole? We don’t know that yet for sure.
Sue Hitzmann, creator of ‘The Melt Method’ to address fascia, feels that it is key to keep fascia hydrated, and not just by drinking a lot of water. Injury to the fascia through trauma or injury can cause it to become stiff, and just drinking water would be like running a faucet over a dry sponge. It would take gentle manipulation of the fascia to “loosen” or mobilize the tissue and increase the intracellular fluid.
The research shows that our fascia is filled with proprioceptors which tell us where our body is in space. When proprioception goes awry because of injury to the fascia from muscle overuse, improper movement, and/or posture, the fascial layers no longer glide smoothly or work properly. The central nervous system would then take over, and if this goes on for too long, it becomes overworked and can contribute to neurological disorders or autoimmune disease like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Wouldn’t it be great to use non-pharmacological treatments that could tap into our bodies’ own natural defenses against degenerative diseases. We know that eating right and moving help keep us healthy into old age, but we must move well and keep our fascia pliable and nourished.