Fascial Expression

In case you were worried, the title is not a typo, just a play on words. FACIAL expressions (like smiles) are a critical part of human development, and safety/danger signaling to the nervous system. However, this is not what the title is referring to...At a time when facial expressions are particularly obscured, perhaps it's too soon for jokes. I digress...

FASCIAL [tissue] expressions, on the other hand, examine the connective tissues (also considered an organ), to which we can most attribute adaptability, and resiliency of our postures, patterns, and movements. Indeed, we can learn much about our sense of spacial awareness and the subtle (or not so subtle) changes of our bodies from these ubiquitous fibers (pre-movement and proprioception). Fascia is a living connective tissue, which consists of collagen fibers, hyaluronic acid (tissue regeneration and gliding), and telocytes (intracellular communicators)[2]. It weaves around and throughout our bodies, providing both structural support, and allowing for elastic mobility in all directions. It is largely responsible for the experience of stiffness in our hips after sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day, and also accounts for our ability to regain range of motion, when diligently rehabilitating an injury.

Fascia is the tensional, continuous fibrillar network within the body, extending from the surface of the skin to the nucleus of the cell. This global network is mobile, adaptable, fractal, and irregular; it constitutes the basic structural architecture of the human body [1].

Fascia and Healing

Fascial tissue is incredibly adaptable. One way we can understand its role in the body, is in understanding the relationship between form and function. The form of the tissue often directs the function of the tissue, and the function may in time shape or reshape the tissue's form for efficient purposes. For example, if you are a climber and have been climbing and training for 3-6 years, you may have noticed changes in your body the longer you climbed; calloused, burly fingers/forearms, prominently developed forearms. The more you enact a movement, posture or activity, the more your body recognizes it as a common pattern to re-enforce. In part, this is why cross training is so important, because it helps you balance out the less practiced movements and muscles.

There are so many incredible aspects of the fascial system that we could explore (and the exciting world of fascial research is ever growing), but for now, if you are interested in more in-depth learning, I will recommend you check out "The Fascia Guide" by Camilla Range Nordin, for a more detailed and comprehensive description of fascia. And I will leave you with this:

If you have been feeling discouraged by the changes in your body (especially in the last year), if your body movement feels limited or different than you are used to, and if, because of these restrictions, you have encountered pain and frustration, consider this...it took time to get where you are, so it will take time to get somewhere else, but there is always more space to explore. Your body is capable of adapting. It just needs the curiosity, patience and encouragement to understand where you want to go from here.



[1] Guimberteau & Armstrong, 2015, in the book ”Architecture of Human Living Fascia”, Guimberteau suggest the following definition of fascia.

[2] Nordin, Camilla Ranje. "What is Fascia."Standard Blog. The Fascia Guide. AtlasBalans AB, 2020. <https://fasciaguide.com/fascia-anatomy-physiology/what-is-fascia-detail/>

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