Fascia is a buzzword in the fitness world right now, some of you may be familiar with that term, and for some of you I might be speaking another language. Either way, some of the science coming out around fascia is a game changer for how we train our bodies, which is very exciting for me and you!
I am going to give you a glimpse into the awesome world of fascia and a cool way to experience your fascia on your own time.
Fascia is the connective tissue that runs through your entire body. I like to imagine it like the pith of an orange. Yes, you may be more similar to an orange than you ever thought! When you peel an orange you probably notice that inside the skin is a layer of white pith, this pith then divided the orange into different sections, then within each section the pith encapsulates a little sac of orange juice. Our bodies are the same way, fascia is under our skin, around our muscles and organs, as well as integrating with each muscle fiber.
So why is this cool you might ask? Well, scientists are now discovering that this white stuff that was once thrown out in dissection of human bodies is actually similar to muscle in that it can contract and relax. So rather than thinking of our body a whole bunch of different muscles, we can imagine our body as one giant muscle, with multiple different compartments. This means tightness in the soles of your feet could be affecting your low back, or that pesky right shoulder could be contributing to your left knee pain. Everything is connected!
To find out more about fascia check out this excerpt from a book by Brooke Thomas.
Try this at home
For this exercise we are going to focus on the fascia in and around your ribs, this is excellent for taking deeper breaths.
- Lay on your back with plenty of space around you.
- Reach your arms up over head and your legs long underneath you, then bring all your limbs over to one side, and let your head and pelvis fallow. Now your whole body should be in a crescent moon shape.
- From here you can just relax and breath into the stretched side of your ribs, as well as the space between your ribs and pelvis.
- If your shoulders are too tight for your arms to rest down, put a pillow or bolster under your arms so they can comfortably rest into gravity. If you feel strain in your back you could also add a pillow under your knees.
- You can stay here for up to 5 minutes, then transition back through the center and take a couple of breaths, notice if there is difference rom side to side.
- Repeat to the opposite side.
Now that you’ve opened the fascia around your ribs, you might notice deeper breaths, or increased movement ability in your torso, who knows maybe your neck even feels more mobile. The cool thing about fascia is; by addressing one area you can create whole body change.