when working with the body to get a message across body workers can often use didactic information which without prior knowledge, in detail, of a profession like Chiropractic, an outside of Chiropractic scientist may scorn at the turn of phrase used – e.g. fascia has memory or your emotions are stored in your fascia. Scorn away!
Due to the didactic information, as every educator on the planet will know, we need to tell lies to improve our communication, we need to express what isn’t true so that we may teach others what is true, to the level of their attention. Fascia is an extension of the skin between the muscles and the tendons, giving us a thicker skin or a second skin. An emotional trauma can affect the body: For example you are prone to anger bursts, anger is our emotion and kidney or stomach fascia is our targetted tissue.
Feeling the (usually right) kidney area and or the stomach area is easy to feel to a body worker trained in visceral manipulation. The left kidney in function is tied up in the reproductive system. How many of you will feel the difference of your visceral tissues from one day to the next?
The fascia is whitish in colour and thus has a poor blood supply, when a bout of anger hits the body tissue relative will tense, sometime we do not know our own strength and will break something when we are angry; the same happens to our fascia our muscular contraction or body contortion is so much that we create micro trauma to our tissues. Fascia will heal itself when we apply the correct forces across it. Once we have injured the fascia we will inherently move away from the tissues weakness and avoid applying forces that heal the body tissues naturally. This can lead to something as simple as oesophageal reflux, flank pain due to referred kidney pain without any physiological tests found positive or something a little more esoteric like have recurrent nightmares / terrors.
Thus the fascia does not heal and it seems as if the tissue has a memory as it does not change from the day you microtraumord it. The fascia looses it elasticity as part of applying a normal force across fascia is to stimulate the laying down of new ealstin and MG ion cross links. The micro movement nuance is missing from your body useage and the tissue is destined not to heal, leading ultimately to an ulcer formation, achalasis or perhaps needing hypertension medication or developing osteoporosis.
Simply noticing through a regime of working to get to know your body such as the chinese systems of qi gong allows us to be able to detect, as in get to know, the energy, the physical ease, your cognitive application and your balance of emotion within your body. Once we know these things we can regularly access information on them and know when they are not correct. Seeking the appriopriate helap of a body worker of of a psychotherapist when we need it. Utilising medication to cover up symptoms if you really need to, initially. Ultimately the problems or pain we face can be resolved before we get to pain. Pain tells you you are ignoring you… why then do we first reach for medication to cover up what we feel????
The classic example of somebody having a restriction in their flexibility and they feel it at the back of the legs is thought to mean tight hamstrings. Yet in a fascial model of the body the TFL muscle is actually under about twice the strain that the hamstring muscles are under during a straight leg raise. The most obvious place to consider changing would be the side of the leg in tight hamstrings and not the back of the leg where it is felt! The fascial connections of the thigh are complex and numerous; for example in clinical practice I have ‘worked’ on the adductor muscle of the lesser affected leg and gained 20-25 degrees of extra flexibility in a straight leg raise of the more affected leg.
Having the view that my problem is where I feel it is a difficult concept for most to let go of. Sometimes where you feel it does not need to be changed. Where you don’t feel it does! Having an in depth knowledge of anatomy and understanding human movement and how tissues interact within the human body is essential to truly get to the root of a musculoskeletal problem.
Training such as in a Chiropractic degree (undergraduate Masters) is ideal to start to see the root causes of a problem within the human body. When the human body is not able to change in a certain place, the body compensates and thus moves the symptom, yet the root cause is still the same; there is just a longer more complex chain of events that exist once a compensation occurs. Addressing the fascia before any adjustments is my strategy in clinical treatment. This way I am able to work through the layers of compensation until I find the root cause. Step one for you with tight hamstrings is to come to terms that the root cause is most likely (if you’ve had the problem for more than 5 days) somewhere else (in my opinion) than the back of your leg. Psychologically speaking if you keep on putting your problem to the back of your legs you will in fact keep a problem at the back of your legs! When seeking help from a Chiropractor it can be useful to look up the conditions that have evidence behind them.