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The Fascial Web

The Fascial Web ~ Created by British Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor Barcroft

“Fascia is wrapped throughout the body on “lines of pull.” It connects toes to brow in one uninterrupted sheet of fascia, and fingers to chest and neck. The heart fascia is connected at the collarbone, which connects to the arm and fingers. It coils around the bones, muscle fibers, muscle bundles, organs, arteries, veins and nerves, applying tension and compression to the body material it surrounds. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17936/understanding-fascia-what-it-is-why-you-should-care.html 

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia magnified 25X https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzy8-wQzQMY 

METAPHYSICS OF THE FASCIA

Resistance is an inner contraction,a hardening of the shell of ego. When you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens us. ~Eckhart Tolle

Even though great strides have been made to bring awareness to the fascia, it is the least most understood energy system and quite possibly the most important. The fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like membrane that wraps, interweaves and connects all bodily parts and processes (creating, supporting the body as an integrated ‘whole’). There is no part of the body, not one single cell that isn’t connected to this crystal-like lattice. It’s elastic and liquid-like connective tissue, delivers energy and information through its own independent nervous system. The fascia even forms the walls of the individual muscles, holding and binding our muscular network together; this web exists to help in our function and depending on our repetitive movements, creates patterns and cycles of our postures and habits. Over a long period of time these patterns and cycles can cause pain affecting our movements. One of the building blocks of  fascia is collagen which forms, thick twisted bands of densely packed fibres that support our movements and posture.

“In terms of fascia, however, collagen has a particular role, and supports our frequent movements and postures. If we were to hold a certain position for any length of time, we would experience stiffness. This stiff feeling is the beginning of collagen fibres lining up and thickening. Continued lack of movement or stiffness may eventually lead to ossification and atrophy, and is characteristic of so many stooped and painful postures we see around us. Bowen Unravelled: A Journey into the Fascia Understanding of the Bowen Therapy ~ Julian Baker

Fascia is a graphic expression of how we feel and think—it reflects our past experiences, our attitudes and our patterns of behavior.  The fascia also dictates our basic body shape, and our upbringing, physically and psychologically.  Therefore, the fascia expresses the movement within us as well as our conflicts and confusions.

Pain is caused by a lack of proper circulation or a blockage in the flow of energy—it can also impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can result in numbness, heaviness, stiffness and swelling of the joints and muscles. Stress and tension also slows down our circulation and becomes an inflammation in certain areas of the body.

Stress doesn’t come from what we do, but more from how we react to what we do. We contract or tense the diaphragm to protect ourselves, the tightness in the diaphragm creates restriction in the mid back and lower ribs through its fascial connections. Indeed, stress and tension can literally tie our fascia in knots anywhere in the body. As tension in the fascia escalates, it forces our muscles to tightly grip us to a point it’s nearly impossible to disentangle ourselves from it.  If the fascia can’t return to it normal liquid state, we end up with a lot of toxins in our muscles. One surgeon was quoted as saying, “on cutting into thickened fascia, a large of amount of pus gave way”..

Metaphysically, fascia dysfunctions can leave us feeling restricted, helpless, fearful, frozen, angry, frustrated, brittle. In many cases it’s as if we’re stuck and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to move forward. Fascia grips and hardens wherever we have repressed an emotion. Stiff or rigid muscles indicate stiff or rigid thought patterns.

Fascia restrictions can cause an individual to struggle with a lack of personal power, self love, self-worth, competency, resources (both time and money), and lack of support. The person may feel separated from the world as if they’re outsiders watching others live happy, healthy lives. S/He may feel resentment and frustration because they can’t seem to execute and manifest their desires and dreams. When the fascia contracts, our perception of the world is becomes confused, disoriented, we retreat inside with our emotions. When fascial dysfunctions affect home, or work, we may feel trapped, either in a negative relationship or bad job, and are afraid to take the steps necessary to change. When we’re in pain we tend to pull away from our bodies and have difficulty staying grounded in reality. When that happens we easily become overwhelmed by the demands of life; and see the world hostile and people unkind. We can’t understand why everyone can’t just get along and accept each other rather than causing conflict and creating emotional pain. Rather than going with the flow, we pull back; and rather than dealing with problems, we carry them around in the fascia and the muscles.

When the first chakra is disconnected from the feminine Earth, we can feel orphaned and motherless. The masculine principle predominates, and we look for security from material things. Individuality prevails over relationship, and selfish drives triumph over family, social and global responsibility. The more separated we become from the Earth, the more hostile we become to the feminine. We disown our passion, our creativity, and our sexuality. Eventually the Earth itself becomes a baneful place. I remember being told by a medicine woman in the Amazon, “Do you know why they are really cutting down the rain forest? Because it is wet and dark and tangled and feminine. ~ Alberto Villoldo

Resistance manifests in the fascia whenever there is fear, denial, withdrawal, or separation.  We experience it in the body as hard, dry, unyielding, crystallized…

“Yet resistance is a natural and unconscious reaction to change. To free ourself from its clutches, we simply need to acknowledge it as a part of the process of growth. When we have a context for accepting change, then resistance is acceptable. Within a spiritual context we embrace our negativity. We become our own best friends and allow our feelings to be what they are.” LIFE CHANGES WITH THE ENERGY OF THE CHAKRAS ~ Amika Wauters 

Let’s backup a bit and learn more about the fascia and its importance to the cellular function and function to the body…

“Fascia plays a vital role in the following functions: Cellular respiration; Elimination; Metabolism; Fluid and Lymph flow; Repair by deposition of repair tissue; Conversion of body heat; Fat storage; Cellular health and the immune system ~ Myofascial Release ~ Ruth Duncan

Many forms of healing help to reverse the hardening effects of the stress on your muscles and fascia tissue. With hands-on healing, areas of holding begin to soften. Fresh blood begins to flow where hardened muscles previously squeezed the blood flow out. Fascia tissue begins to separate from each other, calming the nervous system and relaxing the body/mind.

INTRODUCING THE FASCIA

It’s important we learn a bit about the fascia before exploring the many muscle groups of the body and their metaphysical meaning.  The fascia surrounds and embeds every living tissue, including all the muscles; without this 3 dimensional web, the body would quickly collapse.  There’s many web sites on the subject of the fascia if this introduction tweaks your interest…

If you’ve ever studied  the intricate web of a spider then you probably know its threads are woven from the inner vibration of the spider.  As the spider evolves, all that it has learned to survive is recorded and stored within its body.  Its web of life blends the past and present together attracting future events to come.  Without its web the spider could not survive.  It has become for the spider the visual point of the self, that continually evolves, disintegrates and then comes into being again.   A dynamic tapestry of energy, a universe within a universe never at rest but constantly sending and receiving even the most minute vibrations of its world.  It is and has become the instrument for the conscious expression of the spider.  A matrix of interlocking energies uniting the spiritual with the physical a powerful symbol of the creative spirit manifesting into form.

Just as the web is the foundation for the spider, so is the fascia system the matrix to the human body.  The purpose of fascia is to maintain our body shape and keep our organs in their proper place; It is a catalyst and one of many different sources of power to our bodies. Without it we could not survive.   It hugs our human form in a continuous web of threadlike energy which possesses 10 times more sensory nerve receptors than the muscles in our body, and has a signalling system very similar to that of the nervous system.  The fascia system is a totally integrated system in which every cell in the body is embedded in its structure .

“Research is revealing that the body is made up of unique molecular crystalline structures. These living structures can create, transmit, and receive biophotons to facilitate communication between tissues and molecules. This communication also relies upon a quantum field of biophotons. These two processes—the crystalline and the quantum—interact to spread information around the body.

This crystal matrix is critical for health, as it interconnects a person’s internal self with the environment. Light travels through the body’s crystal matrix into the DNA, which then produces “bio-holograms” that create the body. The most conductive light-matrix is the connective tissue, the largest organ in the body. The connective tissue is crystalline information;  the collagenous molecules that encase the organs are liquid crystals and the other, firmer tissues are considered solid crystals. The collagen molecules are also interesting in that they are semiconductors, able to convey electricity and information. The connective tissue can therefore process information just like the semiconductor chips in your computer.” The SUBTLE BODY: Cyndi Dale

If you can accept the concept that our bodies are like tiny microchips containing a library of  thousands of files  then you may also accept the theory that the fascia can store large amounts of information and arrange it in an infinite variety of ways—yet it isn’t that intelligent—that’s the brain’s role.  Its ability to retrieve information is quite miraculous and it can perform many complex operations in a twinkling of an eye. It is, an excellent record keeper of every injury, every memory (good and bad) that has had an emotional impact on our lives.  When we discover “balance” by learning the lesson, these events are no longer stored in the fascia where information would be pushed up for recognition.  Instead it is sent deep into our ‘energy systems’ for “reference”.

The fascia contains numerous cross energy currents, that needs to be moist to allow the free flow of energy. .It’s only been recent that we’ve begun to understand its intimate connection to the natural currents of the body. In different areas of the body, the fascia varies in thickness and strength, forming a shield of protection and location to the more delicate organs, like the spleen, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

The fascia, also known as connective tissue is made up of three basic components: Elastin, Collagen, and a Ground Substance. Elastin, a fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be stretchy, flexible and expandable. When you think of elastin, think of an expanding and contracting elastic. Collagen another fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be strong, supportive and structural. Collagen gives fascia its strength and integrity. Blended in with, and in between, these fibrous elements is the ground substance. It is the gel or goo, so to speak, that allows the fascia great fluidity, in its normal state.

Apparently there are approximately 120 types of fascia found in every region of the body.  The abdominal area has may levels of fascia; in fact it has the greatest concentration of fascia in the body. Together the deep and superficial fascia hold our skin, muscles, bones, organs and systems together, offering them  a shield of protection and lubrication…certain areas hold stronger concentrations of energy..interconnected with all the inner workings of the body.

Habitual poor posture causes the fascia to bind down or clump together to support the pressure that’s been imposed on it. This causes the fascia to deform, creating an abnormal pull , which in turn worsens the condition. Because this imbalance occurs over a long period of time, We don’t usually realize it until the pain becomes excruciating.

“Fascia shrinks and toughens in response to any kind of stress; physical, environmental or psychological. When your posture closes for an extended period, pressure through the crystalline ground substance signals special cells within your fascia to produce more fiber. This causes overlapping fascial sheaths to adhere to one another. The knots we feel in our muscles when we are tense result when adjacent layers of fascia stick together. Chronic tension in the upper shoulders for example, causes fascia around the involved muscles to form adhesions that make it difficult to stretch out. “The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

“The long-term effects of stress on your body can be devastating. Not only are you plagued by an increase of stress hormones you also suffer from other aspects of the Fight or Flight Response. In Fight Response you hold on tightly. You tighten your muscles as if you were preparing to do battle with an enemy. If you remain frozen in this state of consciousness over time, your muscle tissue continues to shorten, harden, dry out and bond together. The fascia, or “connective tissue proper” as it is often called, forms layers around and between your muscles. When the muscles remain in a constant state of contraction, they bond together in a process called “hydrogen bonding.” Return to Nature: The Five Pillars of Healing ~ by Jon Burras

Fascia is designed to counteract stress by absorbing and distributing it along its entire network to maintain balance and to help reduce both physical and emotional trauma to the body. “Restrictions” of any nature can cause the fascia to shorten, solidify and thicken as it constantly tries to deal with stress and tension throughout its entire network. Because the fascia works as a complete network from head to toe, it effect and cause structural problems anywhere in the body.

“Over time, fascial restrictions insidiously spread like a pull in a sweater or stocking. Flexibility and spontaneity of movement are lost, setting t up the body for more trauma, pain and movement limitation. Although fascia is predominantly aligned top to toe, abnormal forces can cause it to twist and turn increasing the tensile force, pulling the body out of its three-dimensional alignment with the vertical gravitation axix. This results in biomechanical inefficiency and highly energy-consuming movement and posture (Barnes 1990). Deformation of tissues and the tensile force of the entire fascial unity can create pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures (Katake 1961). MYOFASCIAL RELEASE ~ Ruth Duncan

It is important to know that restrictions in the fascia do not show up in any of the normal testings, such as CT scan, X-rays, myelograms, blood work etc.  This is why, for a long time, myofascial problems were misdiagnosed or completely ignored.

Imagining the fascia as liquid crystal flowing into every cell and nucleus in the body, we can sense its extreme sensitivity/receptivity to our insides and emotions. Metaphysically we know unexpressed emotions of the past can become locked in our tissues and organs; the fascia then would undoubtedly retain physical trauma, memories, scars, pain and stress. This ‘irritation’ also causes inner friction, reduced movement and restrictions in tissue growth. . All these can cause the fascia to tighten, becomes knotted, congested, sticky or brittle; not only is there restriction in the area of the injury; but also affecting other areas of the body.  This can cause layers of the fascia to become glued together restricting blood flow to joints, limiting nerve activity and muscle contractions. Movement would be more painful, putting us in a holding pattern that affects the body, mind and emotions. Because the fascia is a web, like a spider’s web, a pull in any one part will cause a reverberation through the entire system.

“Because the fascia connects to all body regions, adhesions in one place can create strain in distant areas. A stiff knee can derive from restricted fascial organization in a foot or hip, from adhesions around digestive organs, or even from imbalanced head position due to hearing loss in one ear. Any immobilized region tugs on distant strands of the holistic fabric, distorting the entire organ of posture.” The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

As well, the fascia is a web or tapestry of family threads, inborn traits and emotional memories. The emotional pain originates early in childhood when the unconditional love that the child needs is not received. The parents usually mean well but their love wasn’t freely given, because they’ve were hiding from their own emotional pain. Not only are they afraid of showing emotions, they’re also afraid of feeling them. This emotional suppression tightens the threads of fascia in a stranglehold and the individual looks like they’re sitting on a time-bomb of sadness, anger and fear, which either explodes, or trickles out in states of moodiness.

If we try to avoid or deny we’re suffering, most of the time it becomes more intense, often showing up in different areas of our bodies with increasing vengeance.

“Copper wire is a well-known conductor of electricity. If copper wire becomes twisted or crushed, it loses its ability to conduct energy properly. It is thought that the fascia may act like copper wire when it becomes restricted through trauma, inflammatory processes, or poor posture over time. Then its ability to conduct the body’s bioelectricity seems to be diminished, setting structural compensations and, ultimately, symptoms or restrictions of motion.” Treatment of Chronic Pain by Integrative Approaches: ~ by Albert L.Ray 

HEALING THE FASCIA/MYOFASCIA

MYO means ‘muscle’, and fascia means ‘tissue’.  We already know the fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like three dimensional structure that intertwines, surrounds and supports every muscle and cell in the body.  The term myofascia, refers to both the muscle (myo) and its ‘fascia’ as a single unit.

In truth, when we move, we are mostly feeling this through the fascia layers and not so much our muscles. The fluidity of the fascia allows to the muscles to slide and glide through, next to and across one another. Even when the mind is going through all ups and downs of glory and defeat, your fascia is going through a thousand details (involuntarily) before you move a single muscle.  So even though your body hasn’t performed a task, the fascia is working hard at fighting and resisting your perceived circumstances.  In truth, it shouldn’t be fighting at all!

There are several modes of healing that aim to release tightness in muscles by stretching tight bands of fascia in the muscles and skin. Myofascial Release, Bowen Therapy, Reiki, Quantum Healing, Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Acupressure are designed to release chronically shortened muscle fibers through hands-on-healing and slow stretching.

“Shiatsu as ‘bodywork’ is distinguished by pressure, which has a specific effect on the connective tissue….body tissue which have become congested, brittle or poorly circulated can rapidly regain hydration and flexibility through the application of pressure…and a better connection in communication throughout the cells of the whole body (piezoelectricity).  SHIATSU THEORY AND PRACTICE ~ Carola Beresford-Cooke

~ to be continued….

Great Links

Excellent  article on the fascia https://chirobeans.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/fascia-havent-you-heard-everyones-talking-about-it/

This is a great site on the fascia http://www.selfcare4rsi.com/fascia.html

Fascia ~ Strolling Under the Skin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW0lvOVKDxE

TV Documentary on the Fascia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIFDwDdGnhQ

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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