Fascia is known by many names, interstitial fluid, connective tissue, extra cellular matrix, collagen based fibers, etc. It is controversially being called the “largest organ” in the body. Fascia is defined as a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other tissues of the body.
To call it connective tissue is not exactly fact. It is one type of connective tissue present in the human body.
Fascia provides space via an inert fluid between the cells and at the same time it creates connection. It protects, cushions and helps to keep the cells in place.
The fascial system is continuous. It is unlike muscles, which stop and start at the bone, and is more loosely understandable as a “body stocking”. It can be thought of as a communicating tensional network.
What does this mean for us?
Because fascia is mostly comprised of fluid, movement is essential for its health. When movement is present, warmth is created and that warmth keeps the fascia pliable. Unfortunately not all movement is healthy or complimentary for the fascial systems response. Because the style of connective tissue created in the body is determined by the forces applied to it, not all that is created is healthy.
Repetitive motions or patterns of movement determines the kind of connective tissue developed.
For example, after years of sitting at a desk and typing on a keyboard, the shoulders have a tendency to roll forward. Because of this repetitive motion, the connective tissue will develop in such a way that the shoulders remain forward in every day life. Carrying a heavy handbag on the same shoulder can cause the shoulder to be weighed down and typically the opposite shoulder will counterbalance by raising up higher.
Another example of fascia at work is with injuries. The body naturally wants to heal it self. Connective tissue wants to help. When an injury occurs fascia comes to the rescue creating a natural splint. Also known as scar tissue. Thank you fascia! However, unless work is performed to release the scar tissue, it typically stays put. Thankfully most structural abnormalities are not permanent. We can change!!