by Dawn Lefebvre, BScN, BScK
As a follow-up to my previous Fascia article, I wanted to focus more on the training of fascia. Release work gets a lot of attention, and it is an essential part of taking care of your fascia as it rehydrates the tissues and treats tension and adhesions between fascia and muscle; common release techniques include massage, foam rollers, and ball rolling. But… fascia is so much more than that! Even though we get the most obvious benefit from doing release work and we can often feel the results instantly, there are other aspects that deserve just as much attention and are just as important to our movement.
With injury or chronic underuse (do you sit a lot?!?), fascia’s normally well-ordered structure gets disorganized. Imagine scaffolding that has clear organization, each level building on the others with all the supports working together. Think of the strength of that structure, and then compare it to another where the supports are haphazard, bent and twisted. I know which one I would want to stand on! Training your fascia helps realign the fibres and build new, healthy tissue, improving the infrastructure of your body.
Fascia is an elastic connective tissue, and its recoil properties are so important to healthy, efficient movement. If you’re not including recoil movements in your activities, your fascia probably needs work! In Pilates we use jumping or bouncing movements to target the fascia (think of jumping swan or jumpboard work on the reformer, or recoil pushups on the wall).
If you’re wondering what healthy fascia does in movement, imagine jumping. Do you jump with stiff legs, or do you bend your legs and roll fluidly through your feet, transmitting the force upward through your body? Now focus on your landing. Do you crash down onto your feet, with the whole force of your body landing at once? Think of what it would be like to land on your toes and roll smoothly down through your feet, letting your knees bend, dissipating the force through your whole body. Imagine jumping like a cat instead of an elephant!
Smooth, fluid movement depends on healthy fascia, so get training! Everyone can benefit from healthier fascia, and because tissues lose their elasticity over time, training it becomes even more important as we age. Learn more at our Fascia Class starting April 13!