Last week I talked about what is fascia and how pervasive it is in the body. This week I want to talk about why fascia is important, how it affects us in our movement, and how it may contribute to the aches and pain we sometimes feel.
As stated in my last blog, healthy hydrated fascia allows movement between tissues. Glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) combine with intercellular fluid to create a slippery substance that allows for a glide between tissues. Dehydrated GAGs (think of the grease in your wheels drying up) cause a gluing of the fascia and stuck movement, a possible pain point. And as these stuck points multiply range of movement is reduced creating stiffness, sore muscles, and setting you up for possible larger problems. So, hydration is extremely important! BUT, re-hydration is not as simple as drinking enough water following exercise. The stuck, areas can’t get the water because the waterways have been glued shut! Here is where soft tissue work from a knowledgeable body-worker or massage therapist becomes important. They can help to release restrictions in those glued areas, and open the lines to allow your fascia to re-hydrate, become fluid, more responsive, and finally, less painful.
I said last week that fascia is all connected. In fact, it is more than connected, one tissue “becomes” the next in the chain. Because of this unity of the body, an injury in one place on the body can begin to cause issues in another part. The body tries to do a “work around” in order to keep functioning, and we may be able to keep going but as these imbalances build up (read as “I must be getting older”) further down the road another injury is bound to crop up.
Incorporating regular massage as part of your health maintenance program will go a long way toward avoiding those build ups of stuck tissues and larger problems looming in the future. Especially massage that is focused on moving, releasing, and creating conditions for re-hydrating fascia.
We at Asheville Therapeutic Massage are dedicated to helping you out of pain as well maintaining a healthy and mobile lifestyle. Please check our website for previous blogs, to learn about us, or to book an appointment. Call 828-779-7135 for appointments or questions.