Fascia…It’s Just So ‘Fascia’nating!
by Vicki Van Blaircom
I’ve been in the Fitness Industry for almost forty years so I have a good understanding about the muscles and bones and how they work together. There is a important system in our bodies however that seems to be a mystery to most of us. That system is your connective tissue system, otherwise known as your fascia or the collagen in your body.
I ran marathons for twelve years, sixty-four in total and one in all fifty states. For most of my marathon career I had weekly massages. I knew they felt good but didn’t realize how important they were for my fascia. Massage works the muscles but more importantly it moves the fascia and helps release adhesions. When I got divorced I stopped getting massages as I continued to deal with the emotional stress and physical demands I placed on my body. Eventually those stresses, along with a heavy loaded twist during a home improvement project threw my back out and ended my marathon days forever. I was in almost constant pain for two years, I gained thirty pounds and went from doctor to doctor seeking help. Eventually I came across a knowledgeable chiropractor and a Pelvic Floor PT who changed my life and thought process forever.
Part of my therapy consisted of diaphragmatic breathing and release of my fascia. My psychologist also recommended sunlight for twenty minutes a day and to go outside and breathe whenever I had anxiety. It turns out fascia loves three things – breathing, hydration and sunlight. Those who meditate know breathing is calming and rejuvenating, doctors recommend light therapy for depression and we’re always told to drink a certain amount of water per day. These recommendations are so important for your connective tissue and pain management. Also, every broken bone or injury, every trying emotional time in your life is held in your body until the fascia is released so it’s important to know how to release it.
Your fascia is meant to slide and glide over your muscles and bones. Picture a spider’s web or the lattice that goes over certain fruit. That web makes your body stand up and be functional, it is what separates us from animals who can’t stand and use our bodies as we do. Think of your IT band, we weren’t born with it. As transitioning babies we wanted to stand up to walk so we produced fascia, grew the structure and that’s what helped us take our first steps. We became toddlers! Now picture a hard fall, a broken bone, an emotional experience like a death of a loved one, trouble at work, a divorce. Your fascia stops gliding, it bunches, it knots, it stops the body from being a successful mover. Now you’re in pain, your body adapts and your movement pattern changes.
The good news is your fascia can change and it’s not hard to do. I took an intensive course through Stott Pilates in April and have been studying fascia ever since. I’ve been changing my body through my growing knowledge, I lost inches off my body, my cellulite is diminishing and my pain is almost minimal. It takes me about fifteen minutes a day of self care to make the changes I’ve been seeing in my body.
I love talking about fascia and want to help you change your body too. Please feel free to book a private with me at Studio Be, the studio is such a wonderful environment and very fascia friendly. Through Pilates, fascia movement, breathing, hydration and our lovely sunlight studio you can be on the way to a whole new you!