New findings on fascia, the long-ignored connective tissue in our bodies. According to an article in Men’s Health magazine (10/09), scientists have discovered the one of the secrets to healing your longtime movement injuries, improving your posture, and building a stronger, faster, more athletic body. And one of those secrets lies within your fascia. Fascia, once thought of as the rubbery gunk of support straps and packing material beneath the skin which separates your muscles, seems to put a lot of what we thought about muscles to be erroneous. During a cadaver dissection, Thomas Myers discovered that the link between this connective tissue and muscle was less benign than mere separation and more like a series of very specific straight lines that run from head to foot to forehead and back again. For example, the article says, one line of fascia tissue crisscrosses your abdomen and drops over your hip and down your shin to your foot, where it loops under your arch like a stirrup. What does this mean? This means that the angle of your pelvis affects the strength of your arches. Foot or knee pain may actually be the smoke from the fire-the fire is probably coming from the hip or back. Similarly, your thumbs are connected to your pecs by fascia, which is why Myers says that people who frequently use PDA’s in a slumped posture are setting themselves up for future problems, known as the ‘Blackberry syndrome’. Slumped posture, or slouching, over time, causes your connective tissue to adapt to this posture, making it extremely hard to sit up straight, leading to neck and back problems. But it’s not too late. Try these three exercises, and do them as often as possible throughout the day.
1) Sit as tall as you can. It sounds obvious, but remind yourself every few minutes-you’ll be surprised at how much you slump when you’re not thinking about your posture-I know I do.
2) Pull your shoulders back and down-try to put as much distance between your ears and your shoulders.
3) Tighten your abs like you are ready to take a punch, but breathe normally. Difficult at first, but it will get easier.
More on this new exciting research soon.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.
I’ll have more on this in the future, but I want to share a personal experience fascia. I was at a seminar a couple of years ago-there were about 25 of us in this group. After a lecture, the instructor took us to an workout area, had us stand, and had us try to touch our toes. 19 of us could. He then gave us tennis balls, and told us to put our foot on top of the ball and roll it under for about a minute on each foot. If we noticed a particular tight spot, really dig your foot into the ball there. After doing each foot, our group again tried to touch our toes, and all but one could. It appears that if you release fascia in one area of the body, it appears to ‘talk’ to the rest of the body and release tension systemically.