It's Time To Pay Attention To Your Fascia (Fascia Stretching)

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2020

You may be wondering, "what is fascia?" or "what is fascia stretching?" If you haven't heard of this term before, then this article is definitely for you. We'll cover the essential things about the fasciae, what they are, and how you can keep them healthy. Let's begin!

What is a Fascia, and Why is it Important?

The fascia is a part of our bodies. It's found just beneath the skin, and its primary role is to attach, stabilize, encase, and also separate our internal organs from the muscles. Fasciae are bands of connective tissues containing fibrous bundles of collagen fibers. 

Our ligaments and tendons contain collagen as their principal component as well. What differentiates them from the fascia is their function and location. For example, tendons attach to our bones, and ligaments connect our bones together. As for the fasciae, they surround our muscles. Like any part of our bodies, it's essential to keep our fasciae healthy. 

Factors that can Negatively Affect the Fasciae

  • Inactivity and sitting for long periods - To maintain healthy and flexible fasciae, it's crucial that we exercise regularly. Simple exercises at home will do as long as you try to integrate a routine every day. 
  • Bad posture - When you're not mindful of your posture, it can affect your fasciae. Bad posture forces the fascia to create restrictions on connective tissues.
  • Not drinking enough water - Staying hydrated will make your fasciae more flexible and mobile. Hydration is vital, not just for the fascia but for our overall health as well. 
  • Overtraining and muscle injury - Overtraining will not only cause muscle injury, but the fasciae will also be overworked. This will cause the fasciae to exert more force for tension. You may suffer from a condition called plantar fasciitis, where there will be inflammation and pain. 
  • Not sleeping adequately - If you don't get enough sleep or if you sleep poorly, that can cause the fasciae to become dehydrated. It happens when you move a lot while you sleep. That's why it's crucial to ensure that your bed is comfortable so that you can sleep well every night. 
  • Unhealthy diet - We all know that an unhealthy diet won't do us any good. So, to keep our fasciae healthy, it's crucial to eat foods that are protein-rich such as beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and daily products. It would be best to consult with your dietician about any changes in your usual diet
  • Stress - When you're too stressed out, you become tense. The fasciae will become glued together and will create unhealthy adhesions within the tissues. There are many ways to destress, and some of those are meditation, yoga, and stretching

How to Keep Your Fasciae Healthy

A healthy fascia means it is malleable enough to bend, twist, and glide. It is also flexible, supple, and pain-free. However, if your fasciae get too clumpy, tight, flaky, and sticky, it begins forming restrictions, distortions, and adhesions. When the fasciae are not healthy, it's going to cause you a lot of discomfort. So, to keep them healthy, here are some steps you can take. 

Do Some Fascia Stretching for at Least 10 Minutes a Day

Stretching can ease the tension in your muscles. Keep in mind to hold your stretches for 30 to 60 seconds for the best results. However, do not force a position if you are feeling pain. Work on your flexibility slowly.

To promote better stretching, you can use a foot stretcher. It's a device that's used by ballet dancers, cheerleaders, gymnasts, and athletes. Using it regularly can help in increasing the flexibility of the arch, ankle, and metatarsals. You can avoid ankle injury if you regularly take time to stretch using the foot stretcher. 

Another type of stretching is called Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST). It is a kind of stretch therapy that targets the fasciae as well as the muscles. It also targets the entire joint and its capsule by using traction to remove movement restrictions and to stimulate lubrication. It is done by gently pulling and moving the legs, arms, neck, and spine in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement.

Join a Mobility Program and Practice Regularly

When your mobility is healthy, you won't have any problems moving quickly and freely. Joining a mobility program can help in supporting your movement and improving your fasciae. You may try foam rolling, myofascial work, as well as manual therapy. All these can help you more fluidly. 

Want to pinpoint which part of your body you want to know precisely if your fascia is tight and holding tension? Try this first procedure called foam rolling. All you need is to buy a roller, and you will feel that your muscles talk to you upon using this beneficial equipment. Using these foam rollers will help restore the fasciae to its optimal health.

Treat Yourself to a Sauna or Try Cold Therapy

Studies have shown that both infrared and traditional steam saunas improved exercise recovery and decreased delayed onset muscle soreness. The infrared saunas also penetrate the neuromuscular system to promote healing. 

As opposed to a sauna, cold therapy is another way of treating our fasciae to work better. Cold therapy uses freezing temperatures, but you can still try this at home by applying an ice pack and wrapping it in thin fabric. 

When you use this kind of therapy, you will experience less swelling and pain-free conditions in the areas where your fasciae might have inflammation. Always remember to put an interval of about 15 minutes to avoid tissue, nerve, and skin damage. 

Perform Some Cardio Exercises

It would be great if you can get into the habit of integrating some cardio exercises every day. You can try brisk walking, cycling, swimming, running, climbing the stairs, rowing, hiking, dancing, and others. 

Such activities can significantly help in promoting a healthy immune system, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the occurrence of chronic pain. On top of that, cardio exercises also enhance good circulation, making the fasciae work more efficiently. 

Try Doing Yoga

Yoga has been gaining a lot of popularity over the years. It's because it has many great benefits, not just physically but also mentally and spiritually as well. When you begin to practice yoga, you'll notice improvements with your strength, flexibility, and balance. Try some yoga sessions once or twice a week. It may provide you with complimentary mental benefits, like lowering your anxiety and stress levels

Stay Hydrated

Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will ensure that your fasciae stay hydrated. If the fasciae suffer from dehydration, it will increase the friction signal, which may release inflammatory chemicals. When this happens, there's a much higher risk for fascial erosion, tear, and rupture. 

Try Fascial Massage

Don't get confused by facial and fascial massage. Massage therapists can help loosen and lengthen constricted fasciae by using sustained pressure through a technique called myofascial release. 

This massaging technique also breaks down adhesions between connective tissues, which softens and re-aligns them that frees up muscles. This allows them to have a more relaxed and active movement. It also improves posture and ease areas of muscle tension, enhancing your flexibility.

Final Thoughts

If you feel a pain that doesn't go away, no matter what you do, it's best to go to your doctor. Your physician will be able to assess what's wrong with the affected area and can give you proper medical attention and care. 

Remember that fascia is an integral part of our bodies, and we should take good care of them. These steps will help you attain healthy fasciae and better overall well-being.

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