Have you ever wondered why your organs do not collide inside you when you jump rope? Or how your muscles stay attached to your bones? The answer is fascia.
What is fascia?
Fascia is an uninterrupted interwoven system of connective tissue found throughout the body extending from head to toe. It holds your whole body together providing it a framework that supports and protects individual muscle groups and organs.
There are three types of fascia in the body:
- Superficial Fascia- associated with the skin
- Deep Fascia- associated with muscles, nerves, bones and blood vessels
- Visceral Fascia- associated with internal organs
In order to help you visualize fascia, compare your body to that of an orange. The outer rind is like your outer skin, the edible fruit part is the muscles and the clear membrane between the rind and fruit is like your fascia.
Why do you need to keep fascia healthy?
Many times when you feel achy or have tight muscles, it could be related to the fascia. Even if you have strong muscles, fascia plays a vital role in its protection and keeping them in place for you to move them properly.
Main functions of fascia are:
- Fascia holds the muscle and keeps them together in the right place.
- Fascia separates the muscles so they can expand and contract independently of each other.
- Fascia provides the lubricated surface so that muscles can easily and smoothly glide, slide, twist and bend against each other without friction.
What are the symptoms of unhealthy fascia?
Fascia is everywhere in the body. It has sensory receptors as it is connective tissue and can become painful if damaged. Most of the people do not realize that the pain-causing factor is fascia unless it is properly diagnosed.
- Soreness or tightness
- Pain, which gets worse in stressful conditions
- Hindered motion
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased blood flow
What is the cause of unhealthy fascia in TCM?
In traditional Chinese medicine, the meridian is an energy path in the human body through which the ‘Qi’ energy flows. Meridians can be mapped through the body and are known to flow within the body, not on the surface. Each meridian has several acupuncture points along its pathway. The meridians are thought to be located in the fascia just below the subcutaneous tissue.
The primary goal for treatment in Chinese medicine is to move Qi and Blood. It is a symbolic way of saying that painful areas are stimulated to break adhesions caused by lower levels of oxygen, nutrients, and blood perfusion due to lack of movement, traumatic injury, or repetitive stress. This constant stress leads to over-stimulation of the nerves in that particular area.
Blockage in the path of flow of Qi within a meridian can cause an imbalance in the body leading to many physical symptoms such as pain, insomnia, stress, and indigestion.
When fascia gets stuck, it obstructs the blood flow. Therefore, the nourishment going into and waste coming out of muscle also get impeded. These knots are known as myofascial knots or trigger points which are simply areas of pain.
How does acupuncture affect your fascia?
Acupuncture is a practice that is known to stimulate certain points on the body with a needle penetrating the skin to produce distinct physical effects. A needle is inserted and manipulated until a tissue reaction called ‘de qi’ occurs.
The trigger points are released with acupuncture leading to reopening of the tissue and restoration of the muscle function, proprioception, and fluid flow. The biochemical pull that caused the imbalance in the first place is also eased by acupuncture.
In addition to sufficient blood supply, the Qi regulation is also induced that is focused on the electrochemical and neurological interaction between the muscle fibers, its related connective tissues, and the nervous system.
Acupuncture turns off the abnormally over-stimulated nerves or turns on the nerves related to underutilized muscles. It stimulates the peripheral nervous system to regulate pain signals along with other regulatory reactions.
Whether athletic or less active, patients who choose acupuncture can benefit from fascia pain relief due to its ability to regulate all the body systems. It targets the entire pain lever to provide relief. Moreover, acupuncture will make you feel that you pulling yourself open and you will be able to move like never before.