Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds individual muscle fibres, groups of muscle fibres and whole muscles; it also connects different muscles to each other. Unlike many other structures in the body, fascia extends further than just a single joint, and can influence many patterns of movement. It is often described as a matrix or web-like structure that runs in long lines across the whole body.
One of fascia’s primary roles is communication. The speed at which information travels along the fascial matrix is faster than the neurological system can communicate. It carries information regarding load, vibration, pain, stretch and tension. The speed at which it carries this information allows muscles to react accordingly to protect muscles, bones and joints, as well as coordinate movement, balance and maintain posture. The fact that is can connect various muscles groups through information means it can create a chain of muscle that produces greater force. Essentially, the fascial lines can help create synergy among different muscles which aids in the production of specific, functional movements.
While maintaining specific joint and muscle function is important, it is also important to ensure that these fascial lines are recognized and developed. Training in whole body, functional movements that utilize these fascial lines is essential for creating efficient movements in daily life. Lifting is a very common occupational tasks for many jobs, including construction workers, movers and stock clerks, as well as a common activity of everyday life. Traditional thinking would focus on strengthening the shoulders and arms to make the movement easier for that specific area of the body. However, by training and engaging the entire fascial line, the whole task can become easier and translate more efficiently to other movements such as lifting from the floor, turning and lifting and lifting to a high shelf. Additionally, it can take some stress off the shoulders and spread out the work alone the fascial line, allowing the same amount of force to be produced with less strain on individual joints.
Not only can fascial line training be used to improve ease of function in everyday activities, sport/recreational demands and occupational tasks; but it can help to improve function following an injury. For example, if an individual injures their shoulder, traditional thinking would suggest that rehabilitation be focused solely on the shoulder joint because that is the point of injury. However, by improving function along the fascial lines in the neck, mid-back and low back, the shoulder can gain the optimal conditions for recovery and allow for faster recovery and improved function in the specific joint. As with the former example, it will also allow for tasks to be completed with less stress on the individual joint and reduce the risk of re-injury.
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