Fascia—The Mysterious Connective Tissue Beneath Your Skin

Man Lying On A Foam Roller with Fascia Illustration on Arm
The fascia is a contiguous system throughout the whole body that allows you to hold any position.

Have you ever wondered what attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates the muscles and other internal organs in your body? Well, that’s the job of fascia!

Fascia is made up of connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers. This connective tissue is a continuous system, like the nervous and circulatory systems. It is pervasive in the body and distributes forces exerted against your body throughout all your soft tissues, including the nervous system, and across all the joints. In addition, the compressive forces on the joints of the body are also controlled by the fascial system and its intimate connection with the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and spinal nerves).

Now, stay with me here as I explain this magnificent connection between your arms, legs, and brain via the fascial network. The outer layer of the nerves in your arms and legs are made of fascia, and as I said, fascia is pervasive and found everywhere inside the body, as there are no spaces in the body. There is fascia.

Without a healthy fascial system movement is limited and painful because the tension in the fascial system has the ability to strain and put pressure on the nerves, which causes tightness in the muscles, compression to the joints, and stress around the organs and other structures in your body. The fascial system must be pliable to allow a healthy play in your joints and provide length in your muscles.

However, the truth of the matter is that every single muscle fiber is the size of one hair, and each fiber is bathed in fascia. When you pull a piece of meat apart all the glistening tissue you see is fascia. We think of this system as the glue that holds you together!

How does the fascia do this? It does it through an intricate system of communication across every other system in the body, including your central nervous system which is responsible for protecting you. Consequently, when you can’t do something physically, it is your nervous system protecting you.

Staying in a chronic state of stress is a degenerative process that results in pain that can affect the health of the body and the quality of one’s life. At Hart Physical Therapy we help your nervous system change gears and recover from the persistent pain of chronic states of stress. We accomplish this by using an integrative approach that embraces the nervous system while remodeling fascia using traditional, evidence-based, cutting edge therapy along with other complementary methods. One facet of our integrative approach is the use of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization to treat the fascia and improve whole body movement and function.

So, if you are struggling with chronic pain, please contact Hart Physical Therapy for an evaluation and treatment. Let us make your fascia well again.

The tension that is in the system of the connective tissue is sometimes referred to as tensegrity. To see how your bones are held in alignment by the myofascial systems (muscle and connective tissue), watch this short video.