Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Change: 8

 Fascia. Pronounced: FASH-ee-uh
(This is an ongoing story. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.)

Without getting too bogged down in science, here’s how Wikipedia defines fascia:

“A fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. Fasciae [plural] are similar to ligaments and tendons, as they are all made of collagen, except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, tendons join muscle to bone and fasciae surround muscles or other structures.”

It makes me think of a big, complex spider web inside me that keeps all my organs and whatnot from floating around willy-nilly.

AE often talks in metaphor, and this is what she says about fascia:

“Fascia should have the consistency of cotton candy – fluffy and supple – so everything it connects can move about freely.  But sometimes fascia becomes hard and unyielding, like beef jerky. It can get gunky, even brittle. So all the stuff it’s tethering no longer moves freely. It’s like things get glued in one place – often not in the place they should be.”

Here’s how gunked-up fascia creates pain in your body: Imagine a tablecloth. It starts out smooth and hangs gently over the sides of your nice, dining room table. But if someone grabs a little piece of it at the center of the table and they start twisting it, the sides of the cloth will start to rise up toward the middle. If the tablecloth is fascia that starts out expansive and flowing, one area of denseness (twisting up) will start to foreshorten other fascia throughout your body. In this way, neck pain can actually be a result of bound up fascia in your midsection.

What makes fascia get gunky? Say you get a cut. Your body “mends” itself, leaving a scar. The scar is tough skin – hard to the touch. In that same way, fascia can go from fluffy to gunky in your innards.  Surgeries. Injuries. Disease. Places that your body has healed itself now have gunk. 

Like the twisted tablecloth, this gunk can subtly affects other parts of our bodies and over time we start to move differently to accommodate these infinitesimal changes. After a while, we’ve compensated so much for these little tugs and pulls, that we’ve created big problems in other areas of our bodies.  The process is like tectonic plates shifting over millennia.  We don’t notice it’s happening until suddenly there’s an earthquake.

When AE “releases fascia,” she’s basically just finding the gooey, gunked-up, beef jerky and coaxing it into dissolving back into soft, fluffy cotton candy. 

When AE describes these phenomena, I mostly have no idea what she’s talking about.  But at the same time, she makes perfect sense to me. She talks about melting fascia and I’m nodding like it’s the most reasonable prescription for pain relief that I’ve ever heard in my life. 

It makes me wonder if she’s a witch.


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