Fascia is a relatively newly understood tissue, and scientists are only now starting to understand its role in the alignment, function and movement of our bodies.
Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, organs, and other structures in the body. It is a complex network of collagen fibers that provides stability, flexibility, and protection to the body. Fascia plays a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity and function of the musculoskeletal system.
Biotensegrity is a fairly new concept developed by Dr Stephen Levin M.D that describes how the body’s structures are interconnected and balanced through a combination of tension and compression forces. It suggests that the body is a dynamic and integrated system where every part contributes to the overall stability and movement. Biotensegrity emphasizes the importance of maintaining proper alignment and balance within the body for optimal function and health. These 2 concepts are only just starting to be understood and how incorporating these concepts into our training programmes can help maintain our bodies even into old age.
Fascia is a spongy, stretchy elastic tissue, that helps hold our body up (keeping the joints apart) and helps to absorb shock when walking or jumping (think of a child jumping or running, with a spring in their step). However when it becomes injured or distorted, the water molecules get pushed out, leaving it dehydrated, less elastic, and tight. This can happen through INJURY, REPETETIVE STRAIN as well as IMMOBILITY.
In health the fibres of this Facial network resemble a net like structure and line up next to each other much like the strings of a tennis racket, this provides stability and spring to our joints. Through injury or immobility, these fibres or strings become tangled, or ‘slack’ and cross over each other leaving our joints with limited spring and stability, causing more pressure to be placed on our joints. When this happens we lose that spring in our step and land with a thud even when walking, causing our joints to take the brunt of our movement, and become injured easily.
This also leads to joints not being held apart like they should be, and they start to ‘collapse’ in on each other, and bear more weight than they’re designed to, leading to conditions such as arthritis, inflammation and PAIN! The techniques within Active Balance help ‘untangle’ and restore the spring ability of this fascial network which is of paramount importance to restoring the health of our joints, reducing pain, and reducing the likelihood of injury, during activities such as high performance sports, including football, dancing, tennis and running etc, and is now believed to be the key to maintaining our musculoskeletal and joint health, even into old age
Want to incorporate fascia training into your routine? Train like a ninja!
One concept within the world of fascia is known as the ‘NINJA PRINCIPLE’. This is inspired by the legendary ninja of Japan, who moved as silently as cats and left no trace.
“When performing bouncy movements such as hopping running dancing and running, special attention needs to be paid to executing the movement as smoothly and softly as possible, and any jerky movements should therefore be avoided.” Schleip
When this principle is incorporated into your life normal stairs, moving round your home or playing with your children can become a training ground, employing gentle stepping, and making ‘as little noise as possible’ helps develop the best ‘spring’ effect into your fascia.
When it comes to musculoskeletal health and alignment, understanding fascia and biotensegrity can be hugely beneficial. Proper alignment helps distribute forces evenly throughout the body, reducing the risk of injury and promoting efficient movement. It also allows the muscles and joints to work together harmoniously, improving overall physical performance.
Additionally, maintaining good musculoskeletal health and alignment can have positive effects on mental health. When the body is aligned and functioning optimally, it can reduce physical discomfort and pain, leading to improved mood and overall well-being. Proper alignment also promotes better body awareness and proprioception, which can enhance mindfulness and emotional stability.
In summary, understanding fascia, biotensegrity, and the importance of musculoskeletal health and alignment can help improve overall physical function, reduce the risk of injury, and contribute to mental well-being.