About Fascia: food for thoughts

can we still speak of plantar fascia, or thoraco-lumbar, sub-pectoral ? And the treatment? Do we manipulate, stretch, melt the fascia, or does the therapist communicate and resonate information through touch?

 From Latin FASCIA, FASCEA that etymologists connect to the verb PANDERE  „stretch, spread“. Recent studies connect to the Indo-Germanic root Bahd  which can transform into PHAD, FADH, FADS „ to tie ,to fasten“ hence the terms Bandage, Patch, Fascia.

"Properly Strip of cloth, of cloth on the other, long and narrow, to bind a body. Everything that extends around a body and serves to dress it, adorn it, protect it."

James Oschman ( author of books and articles on Energy Medicine) refers to fascia as a body-wide communication system, helping to fill in some of the knowledge gaps and unrequited questions that endless research into the brain and the peripheral nervous system have thrown up.

The glial cells ( with neurons and bloodvessels, they shape the nervous system) which contribute 50% of the volume of the brain provide a perfect example. These are connective tissue cells that also form a communication system! Previously, the glia (Greek for “glue”) were considered merely to provide mechanical and nutritional support. The work of JM Garcia Castellano (Researcher affiliated with various american Hospitals) suggests that instead the glia “interact morphologically, biochemically and physiologically with neurons throughout the brain”, as well as modulate the activity of those neurons and influence our behaviour! This was a revelation, demonstrating that the link between the connective tissue and the neural tissue is one of the most critical relationships in a body! These ancient communication systems have survived evolutionary change, providing answers to questions that defied explanation by neuronal mechanisms.

Alfred Pischinger ( pioneeer in the study of  the extracellular matrix) describes Fascia as “the largest system in the body as it is the only one that touches all other systems.” This has massive implications for how we look at pathology with-in the body, and how we define health, not organ by organ, but as a unified whole in which all systems function optimally.

 Serge Paoletti (Osteopath and author) and Pischinger believe that as such fascia “will necessarily be involved in every type of human pathology” in varying degrees. Leading on from this, Helene Langevin ( Prof. at the department of neurological sciences at the University of Vermont) and her colleagues describe the fascia as a “metasystem”, connecting and affecting all other systems. This is the very essence of a holistic approach to therapy – be it manual therapy, medicine, exercise science or movement rehabilitation – wholes rather than parts! 

From this point of view, can we  still speak of plantar fascia, or thoraco-lumbar, sub-pectoral…. ?

And the treatment?  Do we manipulate, stretch, melt the fascia, or does the therapist communicate and resonate information  through touch?

What do you think?


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Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners.

W. Shakespeare - Othello