When you were little, somebody may have told you, “You ain’t nothing but skin and bones!” What they meant to convey was that they felt you were too thin. However, if they wanted to be medically accurate, they would have told you, “You ain’t nothing but skin and bones and fascia!”
Fascia. It’s nothing new—it’s always been right there, an overlooked layer in our bodies between skin and bone. However, the benefits of fascial manipulation (FM, for short) have only recently been medically proven and grabbed attention in the headlines. To understand FM, though, you first need to understand what fascia are.
What Are Fascia?
Imagine that you’re sleeping with a pillow in a pillowcase. It’s a hot summer night, so you toss and turn a lot, moving the cushion around a bunch, flipping it over and over to get a cool spot. Over time, the case will get all twisted up as you move it around, getting snagged in certain places while bunching up in others.
In the morning, the pillow is completely misaligned from the case. The corners don’t line up, and the pillow is sideways inside—maybe it’s even folded over or bunched up. Come morning, your cushion looks like a misshapen lump, and you are exhausted from a sleepless night.
This is very (very) basic example, shows what happens between your muscles and your fascia. Fascia is like the pillowcase. Fascia is a protective sleeve that fits around all the parts inside your body, keeping everything in its place—including your muscles. Fascia is everywhere—around your bones, blood vessels, organs, surrounding both muscle fibers and whole muscle groups.
How It Can Go Wrong
While your muscles won’t necessarily get twisted around like your pillow inside its case, your fascia (the pillowcase) can get tight, or restricted in places. This causes the muscle inside to restrict, too. Even worse, your fascia can get swollen or inflamed for a variety of reasons, causing muscle and joint dysfunction due to “misalignment” between your fascia and muscles. When your fascia gets “misaligned” (again, we’re using a very simplified analogy), this results in abnormal muscle movement and excessive wear on your joints and skeletal system.
This is where Fascial Manipulation comes in. Originating in Italy, FM has been gaining popularity in the United States since 2011. In its most basic sense, FM is a method of applying physical pressure to the fascia to break up hyaluronic acid buildup. Usually, hyaluronic acid acts like an oily substance that helps your fascia move smoothly. When your fascia starts to get misaligned or restricted, hyaluronic acid clumps up in spots, further preventing your fascia from running correctly. It takes pressure and friction to smooth it all out again.
Think of Fascial Manipulation as a way of unwrinkling your fascia and smoothing out that acid so your muscles and joints can move correctly again. Counterintuitively, this process creates localized inflammation, but don’t worry. This is a necessary and critical part of the healing process called “Targeted Micro Trauma”—a term we’ve coined.
Like with anything medical, there is so much more detail that goes into the process. Muscle chemistry, physics, and we haven’t even mentioned the “Golgi Tendon Organ” yet! Swing by our office and Dr. Ed Traum can tell you everything you’d want to know about FM. He is the only physician in the region who has completed all of the courses offered by the Fascial Manipulation Association.
FM is a well researched and medically validated technique. We are so confident in this process that if there is no improvement after five treatments, we will refund the treatment cost. So, give us a call today and schedule an appointment.