Fascia or Connective Tissue, what is it?
Connective tissue is made up mainly of collagen fibre. Collagen represents over one third of all protein in our body and is used to make anything which requires structure, bones, skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and all the organs. The collagen gives the body tensile strength and the ability to realise and retain it’s structure. Healthy connective tissue is flexible, mobile and resistant to intrinsic (such as excessive movement) and extrinsic factors (such as gravity).
Connective tissue is the common denominator in the human body. As its name suggests, as well as giving form and structure, it connects. It becomes the link between muscles and bones, bones and joints, wrapping each and every nerve and each individual organ.
As structural integration practitioners, why do we work with it?
We work with connective tissue as it is the true organ of form and support in the body, it organises muscles into groups, supports and organises the body’s tissues, fluids and systems. It is elastic, stable and malleable so it can be used as a medium for dramatic and far reaching change in the body.
Connective tissue is aptly named, as well as dividing compartments and systems in the body it also connects them “It (connective tissue) binds every cell in the body to it’s neighbours and even connects… the inner network of each cell to the mechanical state of the entire body” (Tom Myers).
Through the connective tissue everything is actually linked to everything else. If there is a change in one part of the body, it will reverberate around the entire body. Therefore by working on the mechanical aspect of connective tissue we are interacting with every system in the body (nervous system, digestion system etc.), every cell, and consequently the whole person. The continuous nature of the fascia implies that if it is affected in one area it will affect another, meaning there are no truly local effects.
“The connective tissue not only bind the various parts of the body, but in a broader sense, connects the numerous branches of medicine.” (Snyder 1969).
What happens when it is manipulated?
By manually working the connective tissue by way of slow stretching techniques or pressure a practitioner can change it’s length, it’s relationship with surrounding structures and improve the hydration of the area. This gives the connective tissue and the structures nearby the ability to exchange nutrients and waste products leading to a healthier cellular environment.
The change in length and freedom from other structures translates into more movement and flexibility for the person who receives the treatment.
The effect can be summed up as;
“turning up the temperature and humidity in a greenhouse that has been too dry and cold.” (Deane Juhan).
To find out more about our Structural Integration or “Rolfing” treatment contact us on 01225 571084.