WIT
WIT

Optimal fascial health

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What is Fascia?

Fascia is a 3 dimensional web of connective tissue that surrounds and connects everything in your body.  It is the extracellular matrix, the glue that holds us together.  It is all the space in between, literally surrounding and connecting every cell in your body.  All of your muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, tendons etc pass through this web.

Why It Matters?

This fascial network needs to be mobile and dynamic and FLUID.  Everything in the body (everything in life really) needs to flow.  Energy, oxygen, blood, nutrients, toxins, tendons, ligaments, muscles etc. need to be able to move and flow.  When we have injury or inflammation in an area it can lead to restriction and adhesions in this fascial web.  This impedes the flow of whatever happens to be in that area.  For example, if the fascia is tight and restricted surrounding the nerves and arteries of your low back this can lead to decreased circulation and increased pain in that area by tightening down, constricting around the arteries and nerves.

It's All Connected

When one part of this web is tight, it pulls and places too much tension on other parts.  This uneven pull in the system is what can lead to tightness, pain, and injury.  For instance, lets' say you did too many push ups at the gym or sat for WAY to many hours slumped over your keyboard, and end up with increased tightness in your neck and shoulders.  That tightness is now putting increased tension throughout your entire system, but for this particular example, especially down into your low back.  So the next day when you bend down to pick up the heavy box off the floor, you have all this extra tension through your low back- increasing the risk of injury or strain.

It's like if you were trying to pull the garden hose around the side of the house- but it's caught on a chair.  

The System Needs to Stay Mobile and Dynamic

In order for all the elements essential to our health and well-being to literally FLOW around our body, this fascial system needs to remain mobile and dynamic.  

What impedes the flow in this tissue?

  • Level of hydration- our bodies are approximately 60% water, so when we are dehydrated this will effect the flow in our tissue.
  • Nutrition- when we eat things that are inflammatory to our systems, this impedes the flow through this tissue.
  • Stress- studies have shown that cortisol (stress hormone) causes the fascial network to contract.
  • Injury
  • Repetitive Strain / Trauma
  • Poor Posture
  • Working Out
  • Pretty Much- LIFE

How Do You Keep Fascia Mobile & Dynamic?

  • Stay Hydrated
  • Eat Healthy
  • ROLL OUT- this is a sneaky hack that has SO many benefits!
  • Move your body
  • Exercise- increase blood flow and circulation
  • Decrease stress:  meditation, socialization (community), laugh, get out in nature

Alignment & Creating Space

Posture, alignment, and space are incredibly important to the state of our system.

  • As I mentioned above our system needs to be mobile and dynamic.  Part of this fluid mobility creates space for things to flow and move.  
  • Our joints and muscles and tendons need space in order to move and glide in relation to each other.  When things get tight and compressed- our movements and functions become compromised.
  • Forward head posture and "slumping" have far reaching effects, not only on our musculoskeletal system and things like neck and back pain.  This posture can also effect our breathing and respiration, circulation, and digestive system.  
  • We are all also well versed now in the health concerns with prolonged sitting.  
  • When thinking about your system- think about spaciousness.  In sitting and standing- think about "growing tall".  
  • Posture should not be "static".  
  • Our bodies are designed to move, our systems crave motion.  So instead of thinking about getting into a good posture and "holding it",  see if you can't start to envision staying tall, expanded, and lengthened as you move throughout your life.  Creating space in your system.  

A note about presence

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Awareness and Attention

Awareness in an OPEN FOCUS, a wide angle lens. it's blurry and soft, it sees the whole picture.

Attention is focused, sharp and pinpoint.

It's the difference between being outside at night and being aware of all of your surroundings (the noises in the distance, the grass under your feet, the breeze on your face.  Then you turn on the flashlight, and you shine a focused spotlight on a small area in the grass- this is now where your attention goes.

  • Try to start holding an awareness of your whole body and system, while you let your attention drift around to check in with different things.

OUR MOST IMPORTANT PARTNER IN THIS LIFE

In this lifetime we will have a lot of relationships, a lot of people will come and go.  However, there is ONE person (being) that has been there from the first breath we took and will be there until the last one we ever take on this earth- and that is OURSELVES.  That relationship, that partnership, that being is the most important ally that we have in this lifetime. Without it being whole and well we cannot relate, love, create, or experience to our fullest potential.   We need to take responsibility for the well-being of that being.  

  • It's an ongoing conversation- a back and forth just like you would have with a loved one.  
  • It takes being present- being aware and attentive.
  • The most important opinion is yours.  No one else can know what something feels like in your body.  All of the "experts" will give you their opinions through their particular lens, and that is incredibly valuable information.  However,  no one can know how that advice is going to sit in your body.  Only you can know that.  
  • So it is time to start that dialogue, really start to listen and pay attention.  

Can you become the observer?

Part of the path to optimal fascial health and wellness, is the necessity of becoming the observer. 

  • Can you start to observe your thoughts?
  • Observe the sensations happening in your body moment to moment?
  • Observe your emotions and feelings?
  • The key here is to just observe- try not to attach judgment.  ** Or observe if you DO in fact attach judgment.  And then try not to judge that you attached judgment.  :)

What type of person are you?

  • Are you the person that pays NO attention- and is disconnected from their body?
  • Are you the person that pays too much attention?  Is hyper focused on every little sensation?
  • Have you BECOME your illness or injury?  Has it become your identity?
  • Do your thoughts tend to be more positive or negative?
  • Are you a worrier?  Do you go down the rabbit hole?

Repetitive Inquiry

  • Get Curious- be the observer and inquire about the goings on in your system.  
  • How did that yoga pose or class feel in my body?
  • How did it feel to go for a run?
  • How do I feel when I start to think about the presentation I have to give at work next week?  Or the conversation I need to have with my mom?
  • We are dynamic beings that change every moment, there will never be a permanent state, which in my opinion is a wonderful thing.  It means that if we don't like the way something is right now, we can change it.  We just have to first be AWARE of what it is we want to change.