Only a few people know about fascia. It is messy stuff that is hard to study. It is so expansive and intertwined. Its function is also tricky. More subtle than that of any other system. Fascia is about 2mm under your skin. It encases your body and webs its way through the insides like spider webs. Densely-packed collagen fibers make up fascia. It creates a full-body system. It wraps, divides and permeates every one of your muscles. As well as your bones, nerves, and blood vessels. And your organs, too. It encases every bit of you. Fascia protects you, connects you, and keeps you in taut human shape.
Fascia is water and glycosaminoglycans. It is a technical term for carbohydrates or sugar. Fascia must be well-hydrated to optimize health. As well as improve pain management. And to increase injury avoidance.
You can release fascia best with hands-on manual therapy. Or through stretch-and-hold techniques. Let us discuss several options you can try to maintain the health of your fascia.
- Move it or lose it
There are sticky adhesions that form between fascial surfaces. It happens when their movement is not regular. These adhesions get stronger until enough to inhibit range of motion. Roll around in bed when you wake up. Take a few minutes to stretch out head to toe.
- Stay lubricated
Your fascia is like every other tissue in your body, made of water. It works better, moves better, and feels better when it is wet. Drinking is not hard. So, stay hydrated.
- Stretch your muscles
The surrounding fascia tightens along with your muscles when your muscles are tight. The fascia becomes rigid over time. It compresses the muscles and the nerves.
- Stretch your fascia
Your fascia does not want to let go once it tightens up. It can withstand up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. Forcing your way through your fascia is not a good idea. You should stretch in a gentle manner. Fascia works in slower cycles than muscles. Hold gentle stretches for 3 to 5 minutes to stretch the fascia. Relax into a hold.
Ice baths may not be the best thing if you spend all day tense and tight at a desk. 15 to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up. It releases your muscles from stranglehold. Follow it up with 10 minutes of light activity so your blood will not pool in your muscles.
- Use a foam roller
Using a foam roller on your fascia is not the same as on your muscles. Be gentle and low in movements. Hold sustained pressure for 3 to 5 minutes when you find an area of tension.
- Use a fascia blasting tool
Fascia blasting is a popular technique for loosening the fascia and treating conditions. Such as pain and cellulite. A certain tool that gained recognition all over the world is the FASCIABLASTER. You can work up to 3 or 5 minutes per zone. You should apply gentle pressure to avoid bruising.
- Respect your body
Do not attempt to run through an injury. Or return from one with a limp. Your fascia will respond to your new mechanics. You may maintain that same movement pattern even after your injury disappeared. That is an injury cycle. It is better to take some extra time than to set yourself up for long-term trouble.
- See a fascial specialist
Check if there is a fascial or myofascial therapy specialist near you. Go and consult one if you have a nagging injury or you do not feel right. Each specialist has a different philosophy and method. Some methods are like massages. There are others that concentrate on long assisted stretches. Discuss what you want and what you need with the specialist.
You take care of your muscles with stretching, foam rolling, and massage. You take care of your bones with restraint and proper diet. You never knew you needed to take care of your fascia. You did not even know what fascia is. But now you do. So take steps to care for it, too.