What is fascia?
Fascia is connective tissue which forms a three dimensional web like structure inside our bodies, in which everything in our bodies is wrapped. It has a more regular structure in young people and becomes more haphazard with age, use and trauma. It is a wrapping which wraps muscle fibres, muscle fibre bundles, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones, essential organs and even the brain. It is also one continuous element which provides our body structure. Scientists have long know of its existence but in recent years due to advances in technology, they have begun to study it and discover how incredible it really is. Dr Robert Schliep explains that the "fascial network is one of our richest sensory organs, the fascial element of the muscle is innervated by approximately 6 times as many sensory nerves than its red muscular counterpart." This makes it very sensitive and extensively linked to the brain and our nervous system. Myofascial release uses techniques to stimulate these fascial nerve endings (mechanoreceptors). It provides a communication system between muscles, as Bordoni and Zanier describes it "The fascial continuum is essential for transmitting muscle force, for correct motor coordination," so they are able to work effectively together, to provide the body with controlled fast, efficient movement and stability on demand. It also is the body's shock absorber, this role demonstrates the strength of the fascial system. This can only be achieved when the fascia is without distortions and able to function effectively.
Fascia is made up of ground substance (a gel like substance), collagen and elastin. Collagen provides strength, elastin provides stretch and the gel substance absorbs water. Together they are able to absorb force, provide cushioning and give the body a strong, flexible structure. When it absorbs force the fascia distributes it throughout the fascia network. It is also a transport system for the interstitial fluid, which surrounds the cells in the body, aiding the bodies nutrient delivery and waste removal. It amazingly contains over 'a quarter of all the bodies fluids.' If we become dehydrated, essentially it becomes dehydrated and is therefore less able to function effectively.
This video show what fascia looks like and show how responds to traction.