Fascia: The One Tissue to Rule Them All?
“Researchers do not agree on one comprehensive "fascia" definition. Despite the scientific uncertainty, there is an agreement with medical text that the fascia covers every structure of the body, creating a structural continuity that gives form and function to every tissue and organ. The fascial tissue has a ubiquitous distribution in the body system; it is able to wrap, interpenetrate, support, and form the bloodstream, bone tissue, meningeal tissue, organs, and skeletal muscles. The fascia creates different interdependent layers with several depths, from the skin to the periosteum, forming a three-dimensional mechano-metabolic structure. [Anatomy, Fascia - PubMed]
Fascia is a primary component focused on in many holistic and alternative therapies, from Yoga and stretching the fascia system to affect internal organs, to Traditional Chinese Medicine where fascia hold the meridians and Acupoints. Fascia has the interesting property of being Thixotropic, it can transition from a solid state to a more gelatinous state when the right conditions are met. The inverse is also true. If the body comes under a consistent or suddenly impactful stress, be it chemical(GERD, allergies, LACK of vitamins and minerals, etc.), mental(work, loss, PTSD, etc.), or physical, the fascia system is forced to react to protect the area, solidifying certain tissues to prevent further damage. This can create a referred sensation that might usually be uncomfortable. Until the stressor is removed, the fascia system will continue to attempt to protect the affected area, and continue to refer sensations, and continue to cause dysfunction.
To fully treat sensations, especially pain, anxiety and other visceral conditions, the fascial system must be considered during treatment. One does not need to focus all their attention on fascia, but use it as a tool to find what is being protected, discover why it is being protected, and address all components involved to generate total body health.
Review of evidence suggesting that the fascia network could be the anatomical basis for acupoints and meridians in the human body
The effect of visceral osteopathic manual therapy applications on pain, quality of life and function in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain
Fascial Disorders: Implications for Treatment