So what is fascia? Most likely everyone has seen fascia at some time or another – the shiny covering of muscle and the thin membrane between the skin and muscle. If it isn’t seen in an anatomy class it can easily be identified in the super market on most forms of meat. The role of this tissue has long been under appreciated. This tissue was thought to be predominantly supportive in nature. Anatomy students have spent hours removing this tissue in order to “see” what was beneath this previously presumed inactive layer. As the world of science advances the importance of fascia is being uncovered. Much important research is being directed at the tissue that had previously been overlooked. Fascia is now thought to play an enormous role in many of our body processes. Fascia has mechanoreceptors that can communicate and this communication occurs body-wide and includes muscular force transmission, proprioception (awareness of the body in space), interoception (a sense of the physiological condition of the body), and nociception (awareness of injury/pain).1 Research continues to identify the multitude of roles that fascia has in the human body’s function. Understanding the importance of fascia is in its infancy. Our anatomy colleges have strict definitions of what is and what is not fascia. However, there is disagreement within the anatomy community in regards to these definitions. While the anatomists work to resolve these issues, in the FDM we work with a model of fascia. As Dr. Jean Claude Guimberteau has shown in his magnificent video, “Strolling Under the Skin,” examining living fascia under magnification reveals an exquisite three dimensional web-like structure that is inter-connected. For the purpose of the FDM, fascia is seen as a collection of tissue that functions in layers. This tissue is designed to slide and glide within the body. Freedom of movement represents a healthy system. Anything that alters or hinders movement (i.e. distortions) can result in pain. The distortions that have been identified alter the movement and function of fascia and thereby cause a person to feel pain. Once the distortions are corrected, normal function and movement of fascia is restored and pain is relieved. Maintenance of the sliding and gliding network of fascial tissue is what FDM treatments provide to patients receiving treatment.
- Fascia – The Tensional Network of the Human Body, R. Schlep, T. Findley, L. Chaitow, and P. Huijing, 2012