Fascia is an expansive network of connective tissue that encases and connects every part of the body. It surrounds, intertwines and connects bones, muscles and organs. Fascia can be found as a very fine covering over muscle tissue, but it can also be found in larger sheets in the body such as the IT (iliotibial) band on the side of the body or the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot.
Previously fascia was thought to be just a covering, unimportant, and was dissected away from other parts of the body and ignored. In recent years fascia has become the subject of a growing body of research that has shown quite the contrary. Fascia acts as a body-wide force transmission system and functions as a communication system to the Central Nervous System.
Because of its interconnectedness, movement in any part of the body pulls on or creates a tension on the fascial system which in turn is transmitted to all other parts of the body. For example, a movement in the foot has an effect all the way up to the skull.
Scientists have shown that fascia can adapt and adjust to forces placed on the fascial system which means it can be trained. Training the fascia, just like training our muscular or cardiovascular system better optimizes our ability to move, respond, perform and prepare. Additionally, when we take steps to improve the health of our fascial system, we also reduce the chance of injury and pain. Best of all, improving fascial health gives us an increased sense of well-being.
Schleip, R. (2015). Fascia as a sensory organ, fascia in sport and movement. Handspring, Scotland, 31-38.