What is Fascia?
Fascia (connective tissue) is the packing material inside of each and every one of us. It surrounds muscles, bones, blood vessels, organs, glands and the spinal cord it connects everything with each other, it actually holds it all together as it is a supportive system. It is mostly formed by elastic collagen fibres and a liquid called extracellular matrix.
You can imagine fascia is like a wetsuit covering and protecting your whole body. Since it covers from the superficial to a deep layer of the body, it is also considered a second body framework. Fascia has a soft texture, and because of this, can get atrophied (deteriorate) or adhered (stuck). This tissue atrophy and adhesion can cause pain or stiffness which may result in decreasing muscular functionality.
What does the fascia do ?
Fascia plays several important roles in our body
Since fascia connects the whole body, adhesion of the fascia can limit the movements of the muscle. (Imagine when you wear a very tight wetsuit, your movement is restricted)
By freeing up the fascia, the surrounded muscle will regain its movements and functionality. For example, when lower back pain is present, treatment on not only the pain source, but also on myofascia around the painful site such as the glutes, hamstrings, and adductors can decrease the symptoms.
Fascia is meant to slide and glide through movement and to stay hydrated and malleable. It should retain a certain springiness. However through trauma (both physical and emotional) inflicting inflammation these tissues loose their slide and glide and can get stuck together and can cause pain and dysfunction in the body.
Pregnancy and birth both leave a trauma in the tissue and it is now more than ever important to practice myofascial release. This can be done by bodyworker that works with fascial unwinding techniques, like a highly experienced massage therapist or a Rolfer. My recommendation would be to see someone who practices this work on postpartum women as part of any selfcare plan. But it is also something that you can practise yourself to some extent. It is called myofascial release and it is part of the Release & Breath section of the program. We use a foam roller and trigger point balls to soften and hydrate these tissues so they can get their gliding action back which then allows your body to move into optimal alignment and promotes optimal function and health.