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Fascia: What On Earth Is It?

by Thomas Moulson on

When you think about the internet, you might picture a vast network connecting millions of devices worldwide. This interconnected system allows for seamless communication, information exchange, and coordination.

“Hang on a second,” I hear you thinking, “Isn’t this a blog about Fascia?”

Quite right. Let's bring that concept into the human body then…

Just like the internet, fascia is a vast, continuous network of fibrous connective tissue that spans the entire body. It envelops and connects muscles, bones, nerves, and organs, allowing them to function as a coordinated whole. Fascia provides structural support, enables movement, and even plays a role in transmitting pain and other signals throughout the body.

"A continuous what? of fibrous what? Who needs a tissue?"


I find medical definitions a bit tricky and that’s because of language like “fascia is a vast, continuous network of fibrous connective tissue”. My mind doesn’t even really know what to picture: Is it on the bone? The organs? It must connect to something; it must start and end somewhere, right?

Firstly, let me complicate it a bit more: there are two types of fascia:

Superficial fascia:

a thin layer of loose ‘fibrous connective tissue’ that lies directly beneath the skin, separating it from the muscle.

Deep fascia:

you guessed it, it’s deeper. It’s also a more dense ‘fibrous connective tissue’ that separates muscles into functional groups, while also connecting the organs.

(Despite the different tiers of fascia, I am going to keep referring to it as a singular thing: Fascia. It will make it easier for both you and me).

Here’s a 2D look at where the fascia is located in relation to skin and muscle:

And here’s a zoomed out view so you can see how it looks in relation to other bits and bones:

Fascia holds everything inside our body together: bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and everything else.

“So If I feel pain, that’s my fascia?”
Yes. Everything comes through the fascia

Above, I asked whether or not the fascia has a start or end, and the answer seems to be: No, It really is everywhere. According to Fascia expert Dr. Robert Schleip, Fasica does not start or end; it is a continuous structure that envelops and penetrates organs, muscles, and other structures (Schleip et al., 2012).

Imagine your body as a city and fascia as the internet connecting every building (organs and muscles), street (blood vessels), and communication line (nerves). Just like how the internet ensures that every device can communicate and work together, fascia ensures that every part of your body is interconnected and can function harmoniously.

When there is a problem with your fascia, it can disrupt this network, much like how a slow internet connection can hinder communication and productivity. This is why issues in one area of the fascia can lead to discomfort or pain in another part of the body.

“Ok, if it’s so important, how do I look after it?”
Good question, here are a few ideas:

How can you help release tension in the fascia?

Myofascial Release:

Myofascial release is a technique that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure to the fascia to reduce tension and improve movement. This can be done through self-massage using tools like foam rollers or massage balls, or by seeking professional treatment from a physical therapist or massage therapist

Myofascial Release Video
Click the thumbnail above to watch BackHug founder Chongsu Lee show you how to perform myofascial release.

De-stiffening Joints:

The joints are supposed to be loose and “well oiled” with Synovial fluid - a thick liquid located between the joints - to allow movement. But, if they get stiff as a result of stress as described above, it makes the surrounding connective tissues, the fascia, tight. In turn, those tight fascia apply pressure to the muscles and nerves. This means that injuries or tightness in one part of the body can easily cause issues in other parts of the body. As the tension in fascia ripples through other parts of the body, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th nerves become stretched through the tensed fascia and develop pain (Chongsu Lee, 2022). 

The issue with this method is that de-stiffening joints is hard to do, this is because you need constant pressure in certain areas. You will either have to go to a physical therapist and get specialist treatment or you can easily de-stiffen your joints with BackHug, the first device in the word that is able to target joints in your back.

So...fascia, what on earth is it?

We now know that the Fascia is a crucial part of your body, connecting muscles, organs, nerves, blood vessels, and basically everything else inside your body so It's crucial to maintain the health of your fascia with techniques like myofascial release and joint de-stiffening. By taking care of your fascia and mobility, you will ensure that your body's internet remains fast, reliable, and efficient, allowing all parts of your body to communicate and work together seamlessly.