Fascia is a connective tissue found throughout the body. It is a thin, tough, and elastic tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs. Fascia provides structural integrity and helps to distribute forces and tension within the body.
One of the key functions of fascia is to transmit mechanical forces generated by muscle contractions. It acts as a continuous network that connects different parts of the body, allowing for coordinated movement and stability. Fascia also plays a role in proprioception, the body's ability to sense its position and movements in space.
In addition to its mechanical functions, fascia is involved in various physiological processes, including inflammation, immune response, and tissue repair. It contains a rich supply of blood vessels, nerves, and cells that contribute to these processes.
Research on fascia has increased in recent years, leading to a better understanding of its role in health and disease. Fascial therapies, such as myofascial release and fascial stretching, have gained popularity as techniques to improve flexibility, reduce pain, and enhance athletic performance.
okay so fascia is a perfectly good medical term that has been incorporated niala jazzed brought in to a different meaning the medical meaning for fascia is certain sheets of biological fabric inside the body so we talked about plantar fascia and plantar fasciitis it's actually the plantar aponeurosis we talked about the thoracolumbar fascia it's actually the thoracolumbar aponeurosis and other things we needed a word that would describe the whole net your body is held together by a net if you you're 65% water depending on how fat you are you're somewhere near 60 65 percent water and and how old you are and why doesn't that water just end up as a puddle at your feet you you know why don't you just have great big balloon legs because the fascia because the biological fabric of the body which is not dissimilar to the plastic in a plastic carrier bag that you bring your groceries home in that that fascia organizes the water into cells organizes the cells into groups of cells called fascicles because they are surrounded by fascia and organizes that into a bag that you might call a muscle and organizes that inside of a gift bags within bags within bags within bags all the way down to the cellular level you can just think of an orange an orange is an easy way to think about that each drop of juice is contained within one of those little cells those cells are contained within the section the section is contained within the rind of the whole orange it's the same for a human being you have small droplets of water gel but very watery gel combined in a membrane combined in a bigger membrane combined in a bigger membrane combined in the membrane of the whole body so we really haven't had a word for that whole web work we haven't had a word for that whole network so fascia has been incorporated as a term for that whole webbing the soft-tissue webbing of the body now in fact that same kind of webbing goes right through your bones and it goes right through all the cartilage that's at the end of the bones on your joints and the cartilage that's right in here and the cartilage that's in between your vertebrae and all of that that web work goes through all of it it's very much like leather like your belt or your shoes that kind of thing is the fashion inside a bone but then the bone has been impregnated with calcium salts so it has that solidity so you can either pull on a bone or push on a bone and it will resist either one of those forces tendons if you push on it it's going to collapse but it's great for tension so tendon in the new use of the word fascia tendon is part of the fascia all of the fashion that goes around the muscles and within the muscles and through the muscles and around the organs through the organs and in between everything it's all this network and the reason the only reason that it's new it's not a new tissue you've been dealing with if you're a trainer you've been training fashion since you started training if you're a body worker you've been working with fashion since you put your hands on the body you can't avoid it it's right under the skin here so you're gonna come in contact with it the only thing that's new what's new is we're considering it as a system we thought about the plantar fascia we've thought about the Achilles tendon you can think about the central tendon of the diaphragm you can think about the nuchal ligament all of these are simply zip codes or post coats for those of you outside of the United States these are areas but they have no separation it's really important that you understand this the science is the science is that there is no separation between these things we have made the separation we came along with a scalpel we cut out the planet our fashion said see plantar fascia we cut out the biceps and said see it's a muscle called a biceps but when in the action of cutting that muscle out we cut it away from all the connections that it has my work the anatomy trains is that the biceps has a connection up and down it goes up from there into the pectoralis minor and down from there to the thumb there are specific connections from the biceps north and south there are also connections from the biceps east and west it connects to the brachialis it connects even over the inter muscular septum into the triceps fascia when you are doing your preacher curl you may be training the muscle of the biceps but your training all kinds of fascia around it you're training that by your training the faster that goes to the brachialis you're even training the fashion of the triceps I didn't say the muscle your training the fashion of the triceps when you're doing a preacher girl when and the ligaments we've thought about the ligament so nothing's happening with the ligaments nothing's happening with the ligaments nothing's happening with the ligaments bang the ligaments come into being come into use only when I get out to the end of the motion whatever that end of the motion is first I hit the muscle then I'm going to hit the ligaments and if you put my arm behind my back and lifted it up like you were my older brother trying to get me to do something that pushing the head of the humerus against the weak part of the ligamentous capsule in the shoulder will persuade you to do anything that your older brother says so this whole set of stuff works together in movement and it also this was the fundamental inside of IDA Roth it deforms in response to your attitude and I'm using the word attitude deliberately because I mean both the outer attitude your posture the way your body is in space but the inner attitude as well you don't see very many people going around going I'm so depressed if you're really gonna be depressed and if you're really going to get any joy out of being depressed you have to take the posture that goes with being depressed
Tensegrity, derived from the words "tensional integrity," is a structural design principle that utilizes a combination of tension and compression elements to create stable structures. In tensegrity structures, the compression elements (such as rods or struts) do not touch each other directly, but are instead connected by tension elements (such as cables or wires). This unique arrangement allows for a balance of forces, resulting in lightweight and flexible structures that can withstand external loads.
Tensegrity structures have been used in various fields, including architecture, engineering, and biology. They offer advantages such as efficient material usage, adaptability to different environments, and the ability to distribute loads evenly. The concept of tensegrity has also influenced artistic and design disciplines, inspiring innovative and visually striking creations.
Tensegrity principles are not only present in architectural and engineering structures but also in the human body. The human musculoskeletal system exhibits tensegrity properties, where the bones act as compression elements and the muscles, tendons, ligaments and diaphragms act as tension elements. This interconnected network of bones and soft tissues provides stability, flexibility, and efficient load distribution.
In the human body, tensegrity allows for coordinated movement and optimal force transmission. It enables us to maintain balance, withstand external forces, and absorb shocks. Tensegrity within the human system ensures that forces are evenly distributed, reducing the risk of injuries and improving overall performance.
Video Captions / Written
Tom: I'm really pleased to talk about tensegrity, a central concept in new biomechanics. It's essential to understanding how the body works. Biomechanics revolves around tension and compression - the yin and yang of the field. It's either pushing or pulling, like hanging from a ceiling or bracing on the floor. For instance, a lamp above me hangs from the ceiling, and a table beside me sits on the floor. My feet brace against the floor, while my shoulders hang off my ribcage. Forces like shear, bending, and torsion are combinations of tension and compression.
The sum total of biomechanics involves handling tension and compression in the body. We're familiar with continuous compression structures, where one brick sits atop another, down to the bottom brick, which must be strong enough to handle the compressive forces above it. This principle explains why cities like New York are built on granite, as it can withstand significant compression.
Granite is strong against compression but weak against tension. Buildings are often continuous compression structures, like the Empire State Building, which stacks elements atop each other. Similarly, we often conceive of the body as a stack of bones, with muscles moving this stable skeleton. This view, while not entirely wrong, is limited. The body isn't built on leverage but on a different mechanics: tensegrity.
Tensegrity structures, a blend of tension and integrity, demonstrate this principle. In these structures, the integrity lies in the balance of cords (representing tension) and struts (like bones, representing compression). These elements don't touch each other but are held in balance by tension. This makes tensegrity structures adaptable and responsive.
In the body, soft tissues hold the skeleton up, not the other way around. Bones float in soft tissue, and the body's integrity depends on the balance of soft tissues like fascia and muscles. If we apply tension to the structure, it becomes tighter and stronger.
Tensegrity structures distribute strain across the system rather than localizing it. Injuries occur when strain is localized. The body's strength comes from its ability to adapt and adjust. For instance, if you move your arm, your entire body responds, not just the local muscles.
This concept is crucial for those working with the body, like trainers, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. Understanding the body as a strain distribution machine and recognizing how different parts communicate is key. Often, problems manifest in overused areas, while underused areas remain hidden.
In gait analysis, for example, the pelvis moves with the leg. Understanding these small, internal movements helps make larger, external movements easier. Trainers should focus not just on the large muscles but also on the smaller, internal movements.
In conclusion, tensegrity offers a more comprehensive understanding of biomechanics, emphasizing the importance of balanced tension and compression in the body's structure and movement.
Fascial tensegrity lines, also known as anatomy trains, are conceptual models that describe the interconnectedness and continuity of fascial structures throughout the body. These models propose that fascia forms specific lines or chains that transmit tension and forces in a coordinated manner.
Anatomy Trains, developed by Thomas Myers, is a popular framework that identifies several fascial tensegrity lines. Each line represents a series of interconnected muscles, fascia, and other soft tissues that work together to create functional movement patterns.
Here are some examples of fascial tensegrity lines identified in the Anatomy Trains model
These fascial tensegrity lines provide a framework for understanding how different parts of the body are interconnected and how tension and forces are transmitted. Dysfunction or restrictions in one part of a line can potentially affect other areas along the same line, leading to imbalances and compensatory patterns.
By considering these fascial lines and their relationships, practitioners can develop targeted interventions to address imbalances and optimize movement efficiency. Techniques such as myofascial release, stretching, and movement retraining can be used to release tension, improve alignment, and restore balance along these lines.
Within Whole Body Breathing, the fascial lines connect to the seven diaphragms and result in the form/structure of the body.
Whole Body Breathing has its own set of fascial lines described loosely as lines belonging to the Hard Outer and Soft Inner
Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers (Affiliate Link)