Fascia is name given to the connective tissue that covers muscles, muscles fibres, bones, blood and lymph vessels, nerves as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. It surrounds and attaches to all structures binding some structures together while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other.
Having an appearance similar to a spider's web, fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies. While bones create support and muscles move us, the fascial web gives and defines our shape. Each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by fascia, like the yarn in a sweater. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. By connecting the tissue together, it provides a foundation for each part, and an organization for the whole.
The components of fascia provide a fascinating combination of flexibility, strength, elasticity, and impact absorption for structuring an active organism. Despite being densely woven, fascia in optimum condition, is loose and moist, facilitating strength, movement and balance. It is constantly changing and adapting in response to demands placed on an individual's body.
When one experiences physical stress, injury, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, fascia loses its pliability. It becomes rigid, tight, restricted, loses fluidity and is a source of tension to the rest of the body. The resulting stiffness or restricted movement is often associated with muscle, but it is connective tissue that accumulates much of this stress. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body pulling muscles and skeleton out of optimal alignment and posture.
These changes in the fascial system influence the comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing discomfort, pain, fatigue, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
When the fascial shape is altered then the body's container is changed and the body has an ability to move in a new way. Rolfing Structural Integration works to lengthen, distend, and soften fascia to restore postural balance, ease of movement, and a feeling of being more at home in your own body.
It can help stop the downward spiral of ill health starting, and as the person process continues circulation increases, as does muscular fluidity.