What is Fascia?
Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that filters through the entire body. This forms a three-dimensional structure of support that is continuous throughout the whole body. This continuous network envelops all muscles, bones, and organs. The fascia assists with muscles as they glide through movements facilitates fluid flow between tissues and transmits mechanical forces. This broad definition of fascia describes fascial tissues as an interconnected tensional network that can adapt to the demand placed on each part of the fascia.
The Structure of Fascia
Fascia will present differently according to where it is located in the body. The superficial fascia is a layer of areolar connective tissue or adipose tissue located directly beneath the skin. Deep fascia consists of dense connective tissue which separates groups of muscles and contains them into specific compartments. Visceral fascia surrounds all organs and helps to maintain the position of each organ.
Why is the fascia Important?
Pain and inflammation cause the fascia to tighten and lose its extensibility. Over time, this can force some parts of the body to maintain a particular position which will prevent full mobility of the fascia.
Since the fascia permeates the whole body, decreased mobility of the fascia in one area can contribute to pain in a distant area.
The fascia also contributes to the fluid dynamics of the body by influencing interstitial fluid flow. This will affect the functional and structural changes of the tissues, which helps maintain healthy tissue.
Differences in the content of water, ions and other substances within the interstitial fluid can change the biomechanical properties of connective tissue.
The fascia also contributes to the respiratory system and breathing mechanics.