In the modern fitness world, most of the popular workout routines underline their tempo as a key factor in their success. And indeed, they produce great results in terms of fat loss and muscle gains if they are combined with a proper diet. On a body homeostasis scale, you get something, but what do you sacrifice?
By pushing a tempo, roughly said, you sacrifice the softness of your tissues and muscles’ ability to contract and move properly. This is where fascia jumps in. What is fascia? Which role does it play in our body, and why is it very important for a normal human movement and overall health? Find out in the following rows.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a membrane that separates muscles and individual muscle groups. First guy mentioning fascia was Andrew Taylor Still, dr. Med. founder of the osteopathy. You can think of it as a kind of a connection tape. It is built from collagen and it builds up a connection through the whole body. There are 4 different layers of fascia.
Every layer is inbuilt into another and they bind up to surrounding structures. Ageing, trauma, illness, muscle activity, emotional status, and hydration level are just some of the factors affecting fascia daily, even now, while you are reading this.
Superficial Fascia layer
The superficial fascia layer is covering the whole body, including our head. It is built as a loose structure of fibers which are directed in different ways. Also, it is rich in fatty tissues, and its primary role is to protect and warm us. Because of its elasticity it is moving around as we do. Fascia is a final spot of peripheral nerves and the blood supply system.
Deep Fascia layer
The deep layer, also known as an axial layer, is the second layer. It is thick, a bit harder membrane that covers our muscles. It stretches from our torso towards the periphery, finishing in the base of our skull. It is important to mention a thoracolumbar fascia (TLF). Even though it has an individual name, in reality, it is a part of the deep fascia layer.
It is big, diamond-shaped, and thin in the places where it covers thoracic parts of the back muscles. On the other hand, it is strong and thick in the lumbar region. It creates a tunica for our lumbar muscles and it is a very important factor in our lower back health.
Visceral and Cranial Fascia Layers
These are the deepest level of the fascia. They envelop our body organs. Visceral fascia protects our abdominal cavity organs, chest organs, and pelvis organs. Cranial fascia secures a space for our brain and our spinal cord.
Fascia Role in Our Body
There is a liquid between different kinds of fascial layers which contributes to the sliding process while we are moving or even laying down and just breathing. Ideally, it is soft, it slides easily what enables movement to different directions and full elongation of our structures. Also, it is a strong tissue that contracts very fast independently from the muscles. It feels our movement and protects our organs. This system provides us with sensory information. We feel pain through fascia because of nociceptors (pain sensory neurons).
Different kinds of mechanoreceptors are found in different fascial layers. They gather sensory information about our body position through touch, different vibrations, and different kinds of pressure affecting our body. Some of them are Pacinian corpuscles (vibration and pressure), Golgi tendon organs (stretching), and Ruffini corpuscle, slow adaptative receptors which are stretch and movement sensitive.
Remember of these little ones next time you take a foam roller to increase your mobility or flexibility. This neurological richness is a sign of how fascia can interact through the nervous system. This is a keyway how stress can manifest in our muscles. Bigger stress always creates a higher tension. Also, the pH system is a very important part of fascial tension. Breathing plays a main role here by changing our CO2 concentration in our body.
How to properly treat fascia?
I hope this text brought you closer to the impact which fascia has on our bodies, and how different emotional or physical tensions can disrupt this equalization. The best way to treat fascia is to move and to be hydrated. Think of the movement not as a bicep’s curls but as a complex interaction of different body parts, in a challenging way.
You do not need to be a professional athlete competing in the NFL betting odds, but simply to do exercise, adequate to your age and physical build.
A good way for that is movement type of training where you will crawl, push, pull, and rotate in a complex, more human way. Also, kettlebells, gymnastic elements, and bodyweight exercises are a great way to secure optimal fascial state. Techniques like Yoga or Pilates also contributes to overall fascial health. Be sure to move and to relax properly. Handle the pressure by being relaxed.