What Is Fascia? Why This Connective Tissue Is Important


If you’ve spent any time within the health world, you’ve undoubtedly heard of fascia. Usually, it’s throughout the similar breath as phrases like “tightness,” “rolling,” and “releasing.”

Here’s what you have to find out about fascia.

What Is Fascia?

Fascia is an intricate matrix of collagen fibers that acts like “a full-body wetsuit that wraps around your entire body, as well as every individual muscle within it,” says Lauren Roxburgh, a board-certified structural integration practitioner.

Fascia is important to connecting the physique right into a single cohesive unit.

Even inside every muscle, there are a number of fascial layers, wrapping round every muscle, the tons of to hundreds of muscle fiber bundles inside them, and inside every bundle, each particular person muscle cell, per current analysis.

What Does Fascia Do?

Woman Stretches Back | What is Fascia

Fascia provides every muscle groups — and the whole physique — its form. It incorporates nerves that relay data forwards and backwards to your mind, and blood, oxygen, and different vitamins and waste merchandise continually movement by means of it, Roxburgh says.

Then, connecting to different connective tissues and constructions like bones inside your physique, it performs a task in all the pieces you do.

A Frontiers in Physiology research even discovered that fascia actively contracts and may fit equally to your muscle groups to energy motion.

Whenever you’re employed your butt muscle groupsarm muscle groups, or chest muscle groups, your fascia is tough at work, too.

What Is Fascial Pain?

Unfortunately, your physique’s fascia isn’t solely working if you’re transferring. It’s additionally supporting your physique in the course of the hours you spend hunched in entrance of a pc, wanting down at your cellphone, or in different less-than-ideal physique postures, says Roxburgh.

She explains that the fascia can grow to be virtually “stuck” in these shortened, tensed-up positions.

In reality, a 2014 evaluation revealed within the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare explains that the fascia is soaked in a gelatinous substance that helps every layer simply slide in opposition to one another, in addition to over the muscle groups, bones, connective tissues, and different constructions of the physique.

Inflammation, dehydration, scar tissue, and sedentary actions can all make it tougher for the fascia to slip.The outcome: tight fascia and fascial ache.

What Are the Symptoms of Tight Fascia?

According to Roxburgh, most individuals with tight fascia typically expertise the next signs:

  • “Knots”
  • Muscle tightness
  • Tension
  • Pain
  • Limited mobility

Some individuals might discover that one facet of their physique isn’t transferring fairly in addition to the opposite. Maybe they will’t increase one arm fairly as excessive as the opposite above their head.

Authors of that 2014 evaluation famous that the tightness many individuals really feel very first thing within the morning as they get away from bed is definitely as a result of fascia that isn’t sliding correctly.

How Do You Improve Fascial Health?

Woman Uses Foam Roller on Matt | What is Fascia

Anyone making an attempt to dwell a wholesome, well-balanced life-style ought to prioritize their fascia, says Roxburgh, who likens fascial care to fundamental hygiene measures like tooth brushing and showering.

Small actions, carried out constantly, can drastically enhance your fascial well being — and with it, your mobility, health, and high quality of life.

1. Drink extra water

You know that gelatinous substance we talked about earlier than? The one that enables your fascial layers to correctly slide and transfer? To hold your ranges the place they should be, hydration is vital, Roxburgh says.

Drinking half your physique weight in ounces per day will help stop dehydration, and ensure so as to add further fluids if you’re exercising.

2. Roll out your fascia

When you foam roll, you’re not simply hitting your muscle groups, you’re actively wringing out the fascia that surrounds them, Roxburgh says.

That might facilitate the trade of metabolic byproducts for nutrient-rich blood throughout the connective tissue.

When rolling, she suggests choosing a lighter-density curler. After all, if the density and depth are an excessive amount of, you’ll spend your roll time tensed up, defeating the purpose of your bodywork.

3. Stretch dynamically

Static, bend-and-hold stretches can really feel nice and assist relieve rigidity. But, in relation to selling fascial operate, Roxburgh recommends specializing in flowing, dynamic stretches.

One of her favorites: cat-cow. Take care to deeply inhale by means of your nostril into cat, and exhale by means of your mouth into cow, she says.

This deep, diaphragmatic respiratory prompts the parasympathetic, “rest and digest” nervous system whereas additionally dynamically stretching the fascia of the muscle groups that management respiratory.

4. Integrate extra (non-exercise) exercise

All structured train and fascial work apart, sustaining a common motion behavior is important.

It advantages fascial well being and performance whereas additionally serving to to stop fascial tightness and accompanying knots, Roxburgh says.

Be acutely aware to prioritize lively dwelling — strolling extra, breaking apart durations spent sitting, and transferring your whole physique by means of a full vary of movement. Every little bit of motion counts.


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