What is Fascia?

What, Who, Why…

It seems fascia is suddenly the word on everyone’s lips! But why?

Due to ground-breaking work by Dr Robert Schleip, Professor Carla Stecco, Dr Jean-Claude Guimbarteau and the like, this so-called Cinderella tissue has emerged as far more than “nature’s packing material” as once assumed, gaining prominence as one of the most, if not the most, significant contributor to fluid, efficient movement.

With roles in proprioception, force transmission, elastic recoil, and the immune and lymphatic systems, fascia has ignited the imagination of talented researchers the world over, producing a burgeoning body of work to carry us forward in our exploration of the endless web.

ABOUT US

This website will aspire to disseminate the very latest in pioneering research findings, gathering information from far and wide. Interesting articles and perspectives into the critical contribution this tissue proffers from the very people making the discoveries and breaking new ground. There will be blogs, interviews, maybe even the odd podcast or two, as I travel the world in my quest to know as much as I can about this fascia-nating tissue!

From a clinical perspective, we’ll look at not only healthy fascia but what can go wrong with it, the implications both acute and chronic, and what to do about it! Educating our clientele about fascia to facilitate self-efficacy and greater personal responsibility has got to be a major objective, and an absolute necessity if we’re to achieve the best possible clinical outcomes.
So stay tuned….

Latest news & blogs

“WHEN FASCIA GOES ROGUE II”

Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis is a common condition in the population. Characterised by heel pain, often described as “stabbing” or “like a stone bruise” on getting up in the morning or on taking those first few steps once the individual has been sitting/immobile for any length of time, it can be debilitating. Prolonged standing can…

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Hypermobility Part II

Following the overwhelming response to last week’s #funfacts on the subject of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (hEDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, let’s look into the mid- and longer-term health implications for elite dancers…. OK, so it’s an aged article (2004) but the incidence if not necessity for elite dancers to be somewhere on the hypermobility spectrum has…

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The Arachnoid Mater Revisited!

Our theme of the neural fascia continures this week with a look at the arachnoid mater, the second layer of protective fascial tissue around the brain and spinal cord, both beautifully demonstrated in these images supplied through “Wickiwand”. The arachnoid mater is a derivative of the neural crest mesectoderm in the embryo, and while it…

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FASCIA and HYPERMOBILITY SYNDROME

Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (hEDS), or Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder are common but frequently under-diagnosed conditions affecting both females and males (but are more common in females). They are heritable genetic non-inflammatory connective tissue disorders, with the prevalence amongst children estimated at between 5 and 18%. There are variations in incidence associated with ethnicity, reducing with age (Peterson…

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The Arachnoid Mater

This is our final week of looking at the meninges, and our inevitable conclusion is with the Pia Mater – the “tender Mother” in contrast to the “tough Mother” that is the Dura Mater. Both the Pia and Arachnoid Mater derive from of the neural crest while the Dura is derived from embryonic mesoderm. The…

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Pia Mater

Further to our exploration of the cranial and spinal meninges, I wanted to expand today on the remarkable Pia Mater – the “tender Mother” in contrast to the “tough Mother” that is the Dura Mater. Both the Pia and Arachnoid Mater derive from of the neural crest while the Dura is derived from embryonic mesoderm.…

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“WHEN FASCIA GOES ROGUE” PART I

DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition most therapists have seen at some point in their careers. Characterised by contracture of the connective tissues of the palmar aponeurosis which cover the flexor tendons of the hand (Chaitow, 2014), Dupuytren’s commonly affects older men particularly of Scandinavian and Celtic ancestry (earning it the title “Viking disease”).…

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Meningeal Fascia

We spend a lot of time studying the fascia of the musculoskeletal fascia – and who could blame us? – but over the next few weeks we’ll be delving into the visceral fascia. In this lovely illustration from Nature, we can see the Dura Mater, or “tough Mother” forming the outermost of the three meningeal…

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ACL Injury Prevalence in Females

I’ve touched on the heightened prevalence of ACL injuries in females compared to males in athletic populations – between 2 and 8 times more frequently, depending on which authors you’re reading! Today I’d like to explore this a little further…. A consensus statement came to light in a 2016 article that appeared in the Journal…

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Reference List for FASCIA and AGING February 28, 2021

Adstrum, S., Hedley, G., Schleip, R., Stecco, C., and Yucesoy, C. A. (2017). Defining the fascial system. Bodyw. Mov. Ther. 21, 173–177. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.11.003 Azizi, E., Deslauriers, A. R., Holt, N. C., and Eaton, C. E. (2017). Resistance to radial expansion limits muscle strain and work. Model. Mechanobiol. 16, 1633–1643. doi: 10.1007/s10237-017-0909- 3 Baar, K…

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The Superficial Fascia In Its Entirety!

This exquisite image comes to us from Clinical Anatomist John Sharkey, and is reproduced with his kind permission. This image represents painstaking work to remove the superficial fascia of an ENTIRE male cadaver. Note the inclusion of the fingers and toes (which must have taken hours in themselves!) Note thatthis is only the superficial fascia!…

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FASCIA AND AGING

Aging is a major influence on fascia, never more obvious (unfortunately!) than in the sagging and wrinkling of skin. The density, thickness and integrity of fascia tends to deteriorate, with a general loss in organisation and structure. The arrangement of collagen fibrils becomes denser and more regular with age, with an associated gradual decrease in the…

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FASCIA AND THE INFLUENCE OF HORMONES – PART II

Remember we spoke last week about the idea that hormones – namely estrogen and relaxin – may be implicated in the sensitization of fascial nociceptors, making females far more susceptible to myofascial pain than men? Caterina Fede’s work with colleagues from the Anatomy Department of the University of Padua from 2016 can be extrapolated to…

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FASCIA AND THE INFLUENCE OF HORMONES

Caterina Fede and her associates hypothesized that hormones – namely estrogen and relaxin, for example – are possibly implicated in the sensitization of fascial nociceptors. These hormones are critical to remodeling of the extracellular matrix by constraining fibrosis and inflammation, both of which exert a major influence on the stiffness of fascia and on sensitization…

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FASCIA AND FEET

I was walking along the beach today and started thinking about how much we take “functional feet” for granted. Let’s face it, the only time you think about your feet is when they’re misbehaving (read “painful”)…. And the plantar fascia (aponeurosis) is so often the cause of that pain. Take a look at the picture…

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FASCIA AND INFLAMMATION

Acute inflammation is a biological response of the immune system and the very keystone of healing. Helene Langevin (FRS Webinar May 2020) identifies fascia and its extracellular matrix as the “arena” of the inflammatory reaction and so the home for our immune response. The health of our fascia and the efficacy of our lymphatic system…

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FASCIA AND DIABETES

Both circulating and cellular biomarkers underscore that diabetes is a chronic inflammatory disease. Diabetes not only increases the risk of macrovascular complications like strokes and heart attacks but also microvascular complications like diabetic retinopathy (eyes), neuropathy (nerves), and nephropathy (kidneys). According to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million people or 9.4% of the American population,…

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FASCIA & TARGETED NUTRITION PART II

Today, we continue the discussion about TARGETED NUTRUTION! Last week, we discussed the importance of Vitamin C and Glycine in the diet for maintaining/rehabilitating tendon. In one particular experiment, Keith Baar and colleagues found that consuming 15G of gelatin doubled the amount of collagen synthesis compared to a control group, and another cohort that only…

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Recommended Reading

As mentioned in the most recent MeetUp, I will be posting regular suggestions as recommended reading: Clinical Relevance of Fascial Tissue and Dysfunction. Klingler W, Velders M, Hoppe K, Schleip R. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2014) 18: 439 Targeted Nurtition Part II: Breaking down, starting up: can a vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplement before exercise increase…

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Otocast App for the FNPP Berlin and Sao Paolo

The 2018 Berlin Fascia Research Congress saw the unveiling of painstaking work created by the passionate Fascial Net Plastination Project volunteers and Dr Vladimir Chemerinsky of the Plastinarium in Guben, Germany. The brainchild of Dr. Robert Schleip, this audacious undertaking strived to represent the “fascial body” as the featured tissue in a series of wonderous…

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Fascia And Nutrition Part II

As we learned last week, the Standard Australian/American (S.A.D) Diet leaves a lot to be desired, the end result over time can be obesity and general poor health as well as multiple co-morbidities stemming from Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrition offers a nontoxic long-term approach to chronic disease management, potential for reducing pain and inflammation, and supports…

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FASCIA AND NUTRITION

Remember we talked about our fascia being the “home” of inflammation, and henceforth the arena which will dictate our capacity to heal? Hippocrates said millennia ago “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”? Unfortunately, modern Western medicine seems to have overlooked this basic tenet of human health, so we find ourselves living…

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Densification and Fibrosis

Now might be a good time to talk about the difference between densification and fibrosis. These terms are definitely NOT interchangeable! Both densification and fibrosis are capable of modifying the mechanical properties of deep fasciae and can damage the function of underlying muscles or organs, so an understanding and distinction between the two makes it…

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Hyaluronan

So, to carry on from last week’s exploration of hyaluronan, or as it was referred to as “highly ironic acid” by Robert Stern and his associates in their 2006 paper….. Hyaluronan is described as a non-Newtonian fluid. But what does that mean? It changes its flow behaviour under stress, and as such it is termed…

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Fascia and Stasis Part II

So last week we saw what happens at the level of the collagen in the perimysium (the deep fascial covering around the outside of muscles, encapsulating them like cling film) when we don’t move, and all at breathtaking speed! But there’s another aspect which must be taken into consideration, and that’s the reaction of hyaluronan…

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Fascia and Stasis Part I

To borrow from my recent presentation at the Australian Fascia Symposium, we all know we need to move, but how much is too much and how much is too little? Leon Chaitow (2012) described the basis of musculoskeletal dysfunction as either/or a combination of “overuse, misuse, disuse or abuse”, so today we’re going to focus…

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Fascia and Scar Tissue, Part II

We learned last week that scarring is an almost inevitable fact of life. Fortunately for many of us, the wound is superficial and as such so is the scar. But what if we have invasive surgery – for example, mastectomy with axillary webbing, or cording as it is otherwise known – a burn, a serious…

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Fascia and Scar Tissue

Scar tissue has long been a source of fascination to me, and to many others it seems! Often in fresh-tissue dissections, scars have captured my imagination for their capacity to influence mobility and range of motion both locally and in far remote areas, even if they look innocuous enough on the surface of the skin.…

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Fascia, Proprioception and Interoception

PROPRIOCEPTION & INTEROCEPTION – Traditionally within the human experience, we’ve always referred to our having 5 senses – sight, hearing, touch (our favourite, perhaps?), taste and smell. But what if I was to tell you that the story doesn’t end there?! Proprioception has long been referred to as “our true sixth sense”, and describes “our…

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Fascia as a Communicator

FASCIA AS A COMMUNICATOR The fact that the simplest of organisms have for millennia led relatively sophisticated lives – hunting prey, reproducing and avoiding predators – without a nervous system has long been the subject of fascination. Oschman (2012) refers to fascia as a body-wide communication system, helping to fill in some of the knowledge…

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Fascia and the Lymphatic System

FASCIA AND THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM In the current climate of a world pandemic, it’s crucial that we understand as individuals what we can do to optimize our health, whether we come into contact with COVID-19 or not. For the purposes of detoxification and optimal health, the fascia is to the lymphatics what the heart is…

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