Fascias: all about fibrous membranes
What are fascias? And what is this for? In this article, we explain the seven things to know about these fibrous membranes.
What are fascias?
Have you ever removed the white, stringy membrane from a piece of turkey that you were about to cook? Well, this fibrous membrane is what we call the fascia.
This translucent, skinny, and milky white piece of skin does not look like much at first glance. The fascia is made up of connective tissue, collagen fibers, water, proteoglycans (water-retaining protein), and elastin (resistant elastic protein). It is only 0.5 to 3 millimeters thick. Together, they support your whole body, muscles, organs, bones, tensors, optic nerves, and your brain. Without these thin membranes, your body would simply disassemble.
Several layers of fascia run through your body. They are linked to your muscles and tendons and play an essential role in body movement.
There are three groups of fascias
It is part of the subcutaneous tissue. They connect organs and tissues surrounding the blood vessels, nerves, glands. They conserve water and fat.
They are the thickest fascias of all. They support muscles, bones, and joints. The deep fascia reacts to stimuli caused by emotions and is named as the organ of the 6th sense.
The visceral fascias
They hold each organ by surrounding them with protective tissue.
This whole network of fascias covers every part of your body, from the nervous system to the organs. Without the fascias, we could not move.
Roles and functions
Fascias have different bodily functions. Here are a few:
- Separating Muscles: they are responsible for separating the muscles of the organs and the tissues of the bones. They also prevent friction between each muscle.
- Force vector: they are responsible for transporting force from one muscle to another.
- Save the force: they save the force of the muscles and can release it if necessary, with a "spring" effect.
- Transport and supply function: they carry the lymphatic fluid to the lymph nodes.
- Protective function: they take care of each organ and muscle.
- Immune defense: It is part of the connective tissue system; they protect against foreign bodies.
- Conservative function: The fascias are a good reserve of water.
- Communication function: They establish communication between nerves and vessels.
- Movement: they participate in movement and bodily agility.
- Body of 6th sense: they react to mechanical and chemical reactions and transmit them to the brain.
- Damper function: each fibrous membrane absorbs shocks and balances forces.
- Fascias form and shape our appearance.
- They also influence our physical and mental well-being.
Fascias have a function of separation and protection. They generate, transport, and save our strength. They conserve our water and protect us from foreign bodies. They influence our agility in general.
Why are Fascias important?
Healthy fascias are elastic, mobile, and very moist because they contain a lot of water. If they are not flexible, they are not only painful; they can also cause tension and increase the risk of injury.
There can be several causes for the inflexibility of the fascias; the flexibility of the fascias will play a lot with age. If the water content decreases, the elasticity will also decrease. It is often the lack of water that causes the fascia to stick.
Poor posture or lack of exercise can also be the cause of rigid fascias. Sitting for too long, for example, prevents good lymphatic circulation which helps heal wounds.
Continued stress and lack of sleep can also disrupt hormones, which will further worsen the fascias. Poor nutrition leading to an acid-base imbalance can also change the quality of the fascias.
Consequences: the fascias clump together
Consequences of linked fascias
If the fascias cannot perform their role properly, it will have an impact on the whole body. Muscles, tendons, organs, joints lose flexibility. Problems like back pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, or even inflammation are common.
Consequences on the musculature
It's not just the muscles that keep your body moving. Fascias also play a big role in mobility. If you have overly rigid fascias, your body will be less flexible and more prone to injury. The success of your goal can be at risk if you cannot move perfectly during your training.
Consequences on the organs
The fascias that surround the organs can "trap" them if they are too rigid. The blood circulation in the vessels is not fluid, which affects the communication between cells and the brain. There may also be physical pain. The lymphatic system will also be disturbed. You may have heavy legs, swollen eyes, etc.
Your organs will be less well maintained. The pollutants in your body will not be properly filtered. In the long term, this will lead to heart, respiratory, and digestive problems.
Because of a lack of water, regular exercise, and a diet that is not balanced, your fascia may be disturbed enough to cause pain or inflexibility. All the more reason to take care of your body!
Fascia training & exercises
In the case of painful fascias, there are several tips for pain relief. Here are a few examples, easy to carry out on a daily basis. Know that regular sports will allow better mobility and reduce the risk of muscle pain.
The fascias adapt to the force required, the loads used, and the exercises performed. Practicing different types of sport will prevent the hardening of the fascias and maintain their flexibility. Fascia training takes time. Unlike your muscles, the fascias take longer to adapt to physical stress. With your regular training, the fascia tissues will gradually change, and a new fascia network will be built. It can last several months, so be patient!
· The fascias hold our whole body in place, like a net. They also form our figures.
· Fascias have several important roles and functions in the body.
· If your fascias are rigid, you may have severe physical pain.
· To take care of your fascias, you can do yoga, Pilates, flexibility, and mobility exercises, and massages.
· Fascia training is very short and will integrate seamlessly into your daily training.
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Author: Vicki Lezama