There’s been a new buzzword in the Pilates world for some time: fascia. And being curious Pilates teachers, Liz and I set out to discover more. We were so inspired by our training workshop with the brilliant Birthe Brosolat, you know how quick smart we bought those orange balls! And now we have put you through the Franklin balls class with such great results, we just couldn’t wait to order some new full foam rollers to keep exploring and developing our teaching into the new decade…
But what exactly is fascia? And why should we all be paying more attention to this often overlooked aspect of our anatomy? Did you miss our brief explanations whilst distracted with the new toys???
Put shortly, fascia is a clingfilm-like substance that wraps around all our muscles and organs, offering support and reducing friction during everyday movement. ‘Myofascial release’ is a set of techniques that aim to give this clingfilm a workout, stretching and smoothing it so your body works at its optimum level. Fascia is absorbent and can dry out, like a sponge, and so moving and stretching it re-hydrates it and can make you feel instantly more flexible.
And a more science-y explanation:
Fascia is connective tissue that is woven around each and every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein in our bodies, as well as all of our internal organs, including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. It is quite literally what holds us together. Evidence suggests that the fascia can be damaged by both physical and mental impact.
Back in a 2017 Telegraph article, Madeleine Howell reported it as a ‘breakout term’ in the wellness world; conferences, symposiums and on-line debates are full of discussions about how ‘fascia can impact our health, in both conventional and complementary health care. And while the science remains open to debate, anecdotally, like many others, I’ve found that myofascial release can have positive health effects.’
And now as we launch with our usual gusto into 2020, we know that the results are impressive. Fascial release can leave you with the feeling of all-round wellness that you might expect to experience coming away from a session with a massage therapist. And we love that it is so accessible to all out clients. Evidence suggests that ‘our issues live in our tissues’ and therefore when the fascia is damaged, this is reflected in how we feel on an emotional and physical level.
So, through working with our Franklin balls and foam rollers, and combining fascia release techniques with our Pilates moves, we can release tight junctions of fascia, sometimes even a blockage and generally move to feel, well, jolly, jolly nice. Because we all know that ‘Tension is the enemy of movement’!