Fascia has become such a buzz word around fitness lately. It would also appear that it is gaining lots of momentum as an area for treatment. The problem is that most practitioners are just regurgitating information that is otherwise unfounded, and don’t really know what’s actually going on. In some cases I’m not even sure science really understands what’s going on.
I will also admit I was guilty of becoming overly focused on fascia! I took a course in Fascial Stretch Therapy not too long ago. After taking the course I was led to believe that most movement issues are because of dysfunctional fascia, and that addressing fascia will solve EVERYTHING. Frustratingly enough, soon after this course I looked a little deeper into fascia. A theory and idea pioneered by mostly one man – Tomas Myers (check out his stuff here)
After watching his DVD – Anatomy Trains Revealed there was a video showing a sheath of fascia being manipulated. What became very obvious is that fascia is like a spiderweb. as an entire system of many strands it will move around and and change shape, however same as a spider web, if you try and stretch one single strand, things SNAP!
What does this mean? Fascia may move around, but it certainly does not stretch. I could touch a spider web and move it around, but as soon as i take my finger away it returns to it’s normal shape, there is no permanent change to the structure… Kind of stupid to call a course “Fascial STRETCH Therapy,” then eh?!
After having my eyes opened like this I did some further reading. That led me to this blog that I suggest you go read. It talks about how clinically important fascia really is (or isn’t!)
So I’m going to end this with a quote that’s both in that blog and is made by the grand daddy of fascia himself:
“I am so over the word ‘fascia’. I have touted it for 40 years – I was even called the ‘Father of Fascia’ the other day in New York (it was meant kindly, but…) — now that ‘fascia’ has become a buzzword and is being used for everything and anything, I am pulling back from it in top-speed reverse. Fascia is important, of course, and folks need to understand its implications for biomechanics, but it is not a panacea, the answer to all questions, and it doesn’t do half the things even some of my friends say it does.” – Tomas Myers, quoted here