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What is fascia and why does it matter?



  What is the fascia woman stretching
Photo: Ann Patchanan / Shutterstock

The fascia network

The fascia is like a full body harness: it holds everything under the skin's surface and wraps it up Muscles, bones, organs, nerves and blood vessels form a network of collagen and elastic fibers. Every step and every squat – and sitting every hour – affects your fascia, says Arkady Lipnitsky, a chiropractor at the ReBalance NYC Wellness Center. "If your joints feel stiff after prolonged sitting, you can blame the fascia, which has temporarily lost its elastic properties and fluid resistance," says physiologist Sue Hitzmann, founding member of the Fascia Research Society creator of the MELT method. "Move and the feeling goes away. That's one important reason why exercise is so important. [Linked: Should You Try A Supported Stretch Class?]

When Things Turn To Kinky

Over time (or due to injury), the fascia may tear, ignite, or be shortened or held together ̵

1; these adhesions can occur as a node. Consider the common case of plantar fasciitis, which can cause pain while walking. The pain develops when the fascia, which runs from the heel bone to the back of the foot along the arch of the foot, is inflamed by repeated overstretching, says Sports Medicine Physician Jordan Metzl in The Athletes Book of Home Remedies . (The solution: rest from offensive activity and gentle flexions.) However, large adhesions can restrict movement and even prevent muscles from contracting efficiently, limiting flexibility, flexibility, and strength, Lipnitsky says. (See also: The Best Recovery Tools for Pain Relief in Plantar Scarce)

Getting rid of

Massaging and relaxing the fascia can help prevent problems. Such myofascial release – through pressure from hands or tools – and stretching keeps the fascia smooth, says Ashley Black, who helps clients maintain healthy fascia and has developed the FasciaBlaster tool. "You can walk with tight spaces," she says. "It requires light, lively scrubbing to break it." Research in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that pre-workout foam rollers and roller massage can increase flexibility and reduce post-workout pain. "Myofascial release increases blood flow to the region, which can relieve pain and help you recover from exercise more quickly," said Armin Tehrany, MD, founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care. (See also: The Best Training Method for Your Timing)


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