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What is Fascia and its Role in the Body?

It is important to know what fascia is and its role in the body. Myofascial pain and

dysfunction in the body is the root of a lot of chronic pain, and unfortunately, we have little

knowledge about it. As a massage therapist and footzonologist, I try to educate my clients about the importance of fascia, its role, its function and purpose in the body. By understanding the fascial system in the body, we can better understand pain, restriction and lack of movement in the body.

What is Fascia?

Fascia is a connective tissue that envelopes, compartmentalizes, covers and creates all the

structure in our body. The fascial system interpenetrates and surrounds all organs, muscles,

bones, nerve fibers, arteries and veins. Fascia provides a functional structure and an environment that enables all body systems to operate in an integrated manner. Think of fascia as one big web that creates the tensegrity in our body. The tension being the fascia, and the integrity being the bone structure and systems that lie beneath the fascia. We would be one big blob without fascia’s support.

Fascia is made up of 3 things

Fascia is made up of three things: collagen, elastin and extracellular matrix. Collagen

provides the tensile strength, resilience and structural integrity in the tissue. Elastin provides the stretch, pliability and movement in the tissue. Extracellular matrix is a gel-like, thixotropic and watery substance, in which your cells can communicate through. Thixotropic, meaning when heat is applied, it softens and when it cools, it hardens. Fascia has the ability to stretch and move while being able to withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure. This allows you to have protection and strength as well as flexibility and movement.

What affects fascia?

Chronic holding patterns, repetitive movement, injuries and emotional or mental trauma,

all affect the fascia and can cause dysfunction. These things cause the fascia to tighten, lock up and bind down, restricting the underlying structures such as: the nerves, muscles, joints, cardiovascular system etc. When the nerves are restricted or impinged, this causes a painresponse in the body. If the muscle fibers are too tight, it can cause tears or discomfort. When the joints are restricted, it creates a lack of range of motion and friction, causing inflammation, and wear and tear in the joint. When we experience emotional or mental trauma, this can be felt viscerally or physically via the fascial tissues causing them to bind down.

What helps the fascia?

It is important to make sure we stretch, move every day, foam roll and deep breathe to

warm up and open the fascial tissue.  This encourages blood flow throughout the body, creates space and movement, and allows flexibility. It is important to eat high vibrational and hydrating foods to keep the fascial tissues hydrated and healthy. When you experience emotional or mental trauma, or stress, make sure to breath, receive a footzone, and use your preferred methods to work through it and let this energy leave the body. When we do all of these things, our fascia will stay viable and strong, yet flexible and free of pain and dysfunction.

written by Tristin Lowe-Town

Tristin Lowe-Town has been practicing structural integrative massage for seven years and has been a Footzoner for the past three years. She founded Belgrade Wellness Collaboration and runs Intrinsic Touch MT out of her wellness center in Belgrade, Montana. You can find her at and on Instagram @intrinsictouchmt

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