Is fascia the missing link to better manual therapy?

Understanding fascia is a new key to understanding good useful manual therapy.

Could it be that this filmy stuff that used to be discarded by the anatomist now presents many new discoveries that affect the way we understand the body?

Could it be so powerful?

Fascia can be like a leather strap or aqueous filmy gauze.The study of fascia will bring an appreciation of how its architecture changes to suit the many roles it can play.

Two of the ways to look at anatomy are functional view or descriptive view. Descriptive anatomy lists and describes bones, muscle and nerve, where functional anatomy follows the flow of connection and performance of tasks.

When coordinated movement and use are considered, fascia is the key to understanding functional anatomy.

Fascia Facts

  • Fascia is the light filmy layer of connective tissue enclosing every bone and muscle fiber and nerve fibers.
  • This layer is but one of thousands of layers of fascia surrounding fibers, then organized into the bundles of fibers, then groups of fibers.
  • Fascia is from the early inner tissue of the embryo and precedes the formation of each compartment or tubule of each blood vessel and nerve, every organ, and all ligaments. It makes spaces to allow gliding and sliding of the layers.
  • Fascia can be highly differentiated. It wraps tight where the direction of forces dictates then may stretch to a become a pad to cushion shocks.

When a therapist understands the role and architecture of fascia, it opens a new wonderful world of treatment possibilities. More possibilities such as a truly holistic approach, being able to treat an area at a distance from it on the body. An example might be working on the neck to relieve the shoulder or vice versa. Another example might be to consider the alignment of the foot with the set of the shoulders. Since the fascia is continuous it is more useful to look at the global relationships throughout the whole body.

Supportive work for other modalities become second nature to those who understand fascia. Fascia has the dual role of uniting and separating all that we know of descriptive anatomy. Fascia is the connective tissue that binds and connects bones, muscles and nerves. It also separates and provides for movement with its qualities of slide and glide.

The contemporary anatomist no longer discards the connective tissue but examines it in detail to understand functional anatomy with an eye to more effective therapy. There is current research which minutely describes and names fascia from the anatomical part located close by.

Some contemporary anatomists working with fascia as the focus are Carla Stecco, Antonio Stecco and Andry Vleming.