Fascia may sound like some foreign highly technical medical parlance but it can easily be understood with a bit of interest and some good reads. Below is a concise take on fascia and what you need to know especially if you are into athletics or may be suffering from chronic pain and discomfort.
Fascia is mostly made up of collagen, an expansive and dense yet pliable fibrous tissue that envelopes and permeates every muscle, bone, blood vessel and all vital organs of the body. It is a vast, continuous structure that covers the whole length of the body without interruption.
Fascia has three layers that serve their own individual functions. The three layers of fascia are:
A.Visceral ( Subserous ) Fascia
This deepest layer of fascia holds all the vital internal organs in place inside the body cavity.
The superficial fascia is a band of connective tissue that lies just underneath the skin. It functions as protective padding by providing a cushion against external trauma and creates insulation against extreme temperature changes to the deeper internal organs. It is also in this layer where adipose tissue or fat globules and water are deposited and stored.
The superficial fascia is viscoelastic, this is the ability to expand to be able to lodge excess water and adipose tissue or fats but can readily go back to its original shape and dimensions upon withdrawal of the surplus water and fats as exemplified by the state of pregnancy.
The deep fascia is tough and fibrous, a connective tissue that covers and permeates the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body. It is sensitive to pain and other stimuli due to the profusion of nerve ending receptors on its surface.
It is this layer of fascia that therapists usually work on because pain, discomfort or limitations in range of motion that arise from tense or pulled muscle involves the deep fascia. There are various techniques, a couple of which are deep tissue massage or myofascial release.
One highly recommended and proven technique that is currently gaining so much popularity due to its impressive positive results is the FasciaBlaster. It is a handy, easy-to-use self-massage tool that relieves symptoms of muscle and fascial tension and tightness. It has also been successfully used for other purposes such as the reduction of the appearance of unsightly cellulite.
Fascia has numerous and diverse functions mostly in accordance with its location within the body. Some of them are:
- it helps to maintain the shape or structural integrity of the body as it holds the bones and muscles together and keep them in their pertinent places
- it offers the different muscle groups a lubricated surface wherein to move against each other effortlessly and in a manner devoid of friction
- it is indispensable as it separates the muscles to be able to move and work independently of each other thereby gaining mobility
- it provides support to the vital organs of the body
- it acts as a shock absorber protecting the vital organs from injury or trauma
- it is the pathway of communication between the cells of the body
- it creates a barrier against pathogenic and infectious agents
- it provides an environment for tissue repair after an injury