In his book Anatomy Trains, Thomas W. Myers explains that fascia is connective tissue, a three-dimensional spider’s-web-like membrane found all over the body that holds everything together, from the skin right down to the deeper tissues. It envelops and supports structures such as bone, muscle, organs and the intestines, separating but at the same time connecting them and enabling multidirectional internal mobility.
Long considered purely as an envelope, fascia attracted little scientific interest, yet it’s an essential part of the human body and often the key to understanding any dysfunction.
For anatomists, fascia is an organ and should no more be ignored than nerves or blood vessels. It’s the body’s largest sense organ and contains a great number of movement sensors and pain receptors. Closely linked to the autonomic nervous system, fasciae transmit continuous signals to the brain.
Healthy fasciae are homogenous, supple and don’t stick. They glide smoothly over each other. But this glide is reduced when we are inactive. Fascia is responsible for our biomechanical auto-regulation, an all-important system that must be kept functioning properly. Bones are suspended and supported by the tensile force of the fascia net. It’s through expanding fascia that we create internal space. That can’t happen when tightness and contraction dominate.
Here’s an example of extremely healthy fascia in a strong, supple body. Fascia acts as a shock absorber by distributing the force of gravity throughout the body.
How can we take care of fascia?
Through the regular practice of multidirectional physical activity.
Fascia is 68% water. Think of it like a sponge that can soak up water, be wrung out and soak up more water afresh. Dehydrated tissue risks developing adhesions, compressions and injury. It’s like glue that hardens as it dries out. Bounce and elasticity are lost, the autonomic nervous system overworks, tissues no longer glide smoothly over each other, and our bodies develop compensatory strategies.
Ergonomic movement, body–mind harmony, a free body
Anatomy Trains and myofascial meridians
What’s Anatomy Trains?
The Anatomy Trains concept was developed by Thomas W. Myers. It’s a new anatomical definition that maps connective lines and neuromyofascial meridians. It explains that our tissues are connected in long lines running through the body, rather than being separate elements. The body’s seen as a single entity; muscles can’t be isolated because they’re links in a chain, and it’s the connections with the rest of the chain that produce ergonomic, supple, light movements. Our challenge is to let go of the compensatory strategies we’ve acquired and return to the functional biomechanics we were born with.