Fascial Stretch

June 20, 2019

Internally, everyone has a web-like band of connective tissue found beneath our skin that consists primarily of collagen. This tissue that is also known as fascia, attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles, internal organs, tendons, bones, and joints, and has distinct pathways that run along the back, front and sides of the body. Fascia is responsible for ensuring that our highly complex structure remains contained and positioned appropriately throughout the body. Although we cannot see it, it has everything to do with how well our bodies function.

When fascia is fluid and moving properly, as you can imagine, you are moving properly as well. However, given that it literally surrounds every internal aspect of our bodies, if something happens causing it to harden or constrict, that is where you will start to experience either reduced mobility, altered movement, or even pain. Three main events with fascia result in these side effects, some of which occur over time, while others in situations that are more acute. You could experience an injury or over-stretched fascia, the fascia around your joints could become compressed over time, and/or you could develop adhesions when collagen fibres bond together and form harder, less flexible areas. If you experience any or all of these circumstances, you are likely dealing with side effects of overcompensation by muscle groups, pain in the joints, decreased movement, and/or overall soreness due to restriction.

What is Fascial Stretch?

Fascial Stretch is a unique type of stretching that goes beyond just the muscles to target the fascia as well, while remaining cognisant of the fascial pathways and connections. Understanding these pathways allows one to connect the location of pain with the cause. Most often, where you experience pain/discomfort is not actually the area that needs released. For example, you have a fascial line that runs from the back of your skull all the way down your back, right through to your calfs and ankles, and ends at the base of your feet. Therefore, if you have any restricted fascia in your lower body, you could actually experience pain in your upper body/neck. Alternately, poor posture in your upper body and a tight lower body put tension on the fascia and can result in back pain. Thus, understanding the flow of these pathways and addressing the complete system is critical for obtaining results that last.

Another extremely beneficial aspect of Fascial stretch is that it targets the entire joint and joint capsule. As previously mentioned, fascia is located throughout the joints as well.  In a sense, when this fascia becomes tight it essentially results in “fusing” of the joint, decreased mobility, overcompensation by the muscles, and ultimately aches and pains. With Fascial Stretch, the use of traction removes these restrictions and stimulates lubrication within the joint.

Fascial Stretch is an incredibly gentle and passive technique that allows you and your body to relax completely while still getting full benefit of the treatment. In a smooth and slow motion, the practitioner guides each joint in the body through varying planes of movement to restore maximum range of motion. There is no pain, not even discomfort. While therapeutic results remain highly individualized and depend on each case, research demonstrates that it significantly helps those who did not respond to other treatments.

Who Would Benefit From Fascial Stretch?

Fascial Stretch is beneficial for absolutely everyone. Whether you train hard, sit for long periods, or have gradually developed changes in movement over time, fascial stretch can help. In combination with massage, it lengthens and loosens tension and is a fantastic compliment that drastically speeds up results. Alternatively, applying this technique as a stand-alone treatment for the entire session will have you walking away feeling less restricted, with reduced pain, and moving in ways you forgot you could.

Cory Boyd

Registered Massage Therapist
Personal Trainer
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor

cory.wholetherapy@gmail.com