As we learned in Part One of this series, the fascia is a type of connective tissue that surrounds, supports, and separates muscles and other internal organs in the human body. It is a continuous web of connective tissue that extends from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. The fascia has a number of important functions, including providing structural support, helping to transmit forces throughout the body, and protecting and insulating the underlying tissues.

A Little History of The Fascial System 

The fascia, aka The fascial system, has been recognized and studied by medical professionals for centuries, but it was not until relatively recently that the full extent of its importance and complexity was fully understood. In the 19th century, anatomists and physiologists began to recognize the fascia as a distinct tissue and began to study it more closely. However, it was only in the 20th century that the fascia began to receive more widespread attention in the medical community and amongst holistic practitioners and massage therapists. 

One of the key figures in the study of the fascia was Dr. Jean-Paul Zyllbermann, a French anatomist and physiologist who conducted extensive research on the fascia during the 1970s and 1980s. Dr. Zyllbermann’s work helped to shed light on the complex and interconnected nature of the fascia and its many functions in the body. His research focused on the structural and functional characteristics of the fascia and its role in the body’s movements. He studied the fascia in a variety of animals and in humans and developed a detailed classification system for the different types of fascia found in the body.

Dr. Zyllbermann’s work helped to establish the fascia as a distinct tissue and contributed to a greater understanding of its importance in the body. His research has been widely cited and has had a lasting impact on the field of anatomy and physiology. He also wrote several articles and papers on the fascia, which were published in scientific journals and other publications. Some of his key contributions to the field include his work on the anatomy and function of the fascia, as well as his development of a classification system for the different types of fascia found in the body.

Thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Zyllbermann in the 21st century, the study of the fascia has continued to advance, and it is now recognized among many holistic, allopathic, and functional medicine practitioners as a vital and integral part of the human body. The fascia is now considered to be an important factor in a wide range of health conditions, including chronic pain, mobility issues, and functional impairments. As a result, the fascia is becoming an increasingly important focus of research and treatment in the field of medicine.

What Damages The Fascial System?
There are several things that can damage the fascia, including:

  1. Trauma: Physical trauma, such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury, can damage the fascia and cause inflammation, swelling, and other problems.
  2. Overuse: Repetitive strain or overuse can cause microtrauma to the fascia, leading to inflammation and discomfort. This can be common in athletes and people who engage in activities that involve repetitive movements.
  3. Poor posture: Poor posture can put strain on the fascia and cause it to become impaired. This can be due to sitting or standing in an awkward position for extended periods of time, or to carrying excess weight, which can put additional stress on the fascia.
  4. Dehydration: The fascia contains a high water content, and when the body is dehydrated, it can cause the fascia to become impaired. This can lead to reduced flexibility and mobility, as well as other problems.
  5. Poor nutrition: A diet that is low in protein and other nutrients that are important for the health of the fascia can cause it to become impaired. This can lead to reduced strength and flexibility, as well as other problems.
  6. Chronic stress: Chronic stress can affect the health of the fascia by altering hormone levels and disrupting the body’s natural healing processes. This can lead to inflammation and other problems with the fascia.

Environmental Toxins Damage The Fascia Too!
Exposure to environmental toxins like mycotoxin-producing molds and herbicides can also damage the fascia in several ways. Some potential mechanisms through which this can occur include:

Inflammation: Many environmental toxins are pro-inflammatory, meaning that they can stimulate the body’s immune system and cause inflammation. This can lead to damage in the fascia, as well as other tissues and organs in the body.

Oxidative stress: Some environmental toxins can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and tissues through a process called oxidative stress. The fascia, like other tissues in the body, is vulnerable to oxidative stress, and exposure to toxins can increase the risk of damage.

Hormone disruption: Many environmental toxins can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance, which can have a variety of effects on the body, including damage to the fascia. For example, certain chemicals can bind to hormone receptors and mimic the effects of hormones, leading to changes in the body’s normal function.

Genetic damage: Some environmental toxins can cause genetic damage, which can lead to problems with the fascia and other tissues in the body. This can occur through a process called DNA methylation, in which certain chemicals alter the way that genes are expressed, leading to changes in the body’s normal function.

How To Support The Fascial System Through Stretching

There are a number of stretching exercises that can help to support and maintain the health of the fascial system. These exercises can help to improve flexibility, mobility, and overall function and may be especially beneficial for individuals who are experiencing problems with their fascia or who have conditions that affect the fascia, such as fibromyalgia or chronic pain.

Some examples of stretching exercises that may be helpful for supporting the fascial system include:

Static stretches: These stretches involve holding a stretch for an extended period of time, typically 15-30 seconds. Static stretches are a good way to gradually lengthen the fascia and improve flexibility.

Dynamic stretches: These stretches involve actively moving through a range of motion, such as swinging the arms or legs back and forth. Dynamic stretches can help to improve mobility and warm up the body for activity.

Myofascial release stretches: These stretches involve using a foam roller or other tool to apply pressure to specific areas of the body, such as the legs or back. Myofascial release stretches can help to release tension and improve the health of the fascia. In part three of this series, I’ll share information about using a foam roller. 

A note about stretching: It’s very important to stretch properly to avoid injury and get the most benefit from the exercises. This may involve warming up the muscles before stretching, using proper form, and avoiding overextending or forcing the body into uncomfortable positions. If you have any questions or need support for doing stretching exercises, please be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare provider or a massage therapist who specializes in Myofascial Release techniques and or the Gillespie Approach to Craniosacral Fascial Therapy. 

Other Ways to Support The Fascial System
Below are a few more ways to support the fascia in the body:

  1. Massage: Massage can help to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and improve the mobility of the fascia. Massage can be done by a qualified massage therapist or through self-massage techniques such as foam rolling.
  2. Exercise: Regular exercise can help to improve the strength and flexibility of the fascia. Weight-bearing exercises such as running, walking, and strength training can help to stimulate the fascia and improve its function.
  3. Hydration: The fascia contains a high water content, and proper hydration is important for maintaining its health and function. Drinking plenty of mineral-rich water and other hydrating fluids can help to keep the fascia hydrated and healthy.
  4. Good posture: Maintaining good posture can help to reduce strain on the fascia and prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to fascial restrictions.
  5. Proper nutrition: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to support the health and function of the fascia. This includes getting enough protein and healthy fat which is important for the repair and maintenance of connective tissue, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients.

I hope you found this post helpful; if so, please share it with your family and friends; also, if you haven’t already, check out Part One of this series, where I share an easy-to-understand kid-friendly explanation of our fabulous fascia. 

Next week in Part Three, I’ll be discussing foam rollers and how to use them at home to support the fascial system. Stay tuned 🙂

Blessings,
Chemical Free Gal – If you enjoyed this post and would like to support me so that I can continue to provide valuable resources and help to people in our community, click here.

Disclaimer: The information provided on ChemicalFreeGal.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. The content on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any views or opinions written in this blog should not be taken as fact or professional advice.

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