Fascia & Myofascial Release

     Fascia is a network of connective tissue linking everything that exists between head and toe.  It surrounds muscle fibers, muscle groups, blood vessels, nerves, organs, and bones.  When unrestricted, it resembles a web, allowing full range of motion, blood flow, and nerve function.  When the fibers become condensed - almost fused together, there can be a slew of ailments: aches/pains, limited mobility, and decreased circulation and sensation.  For more information, here's a great link - Fascia: Indepth

Ever ruined a sweater from pulling one little thread?  That domino effect is similar to what happens when your connective tissue becomes restricted in one or more areas.

See how the pull starts near the left hip, and seems to pull the right shoulder down along with it?  The fascia in your hips does more than that when it gets dehydrated, injured, or held too long is any position (i.e. sitting at a desk).  It can start pulling on your low back and your legs.  I can't tell you how many times clients have come to me with low back pain, and left with easier movement and less pain after I've massaged their hips, glutes, and legs.  Here are some myofascial meridians to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

 

So what can you do about that tight connective tissue?

Myofascial release separates fascial restrictions using a gentle pressure with little or no lotion/oil.  It frees the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, etc. that have been 'glued down' by the fascia; reducing pain and increasing mobility and circulation. 

Do you suffer from low back pain?

Here are some stretches to keep you happy, healthy, and active!

PLEASE NOTE: Isometric stretches (where you contract the stretched muscle) allows energy and blood flow to deeper the stretch, AS WELL AS protects against irritating and straining your ligaments (which hold your joints together)

Lunge psoas stretch:

Psoas stretch - this muscle is always tight!

-Place left knee on padded surface with left foot extended, pressing firmly into the ground, extending out through the toes

(carpet, folded towel, blanket, pillow, etc.)

-Place right leg forward to form a right angle, rooting your energy through the entire sole of your right foot - push against the ground!

-Place hands on right knee OR slowly straighten arms over your head - if you straighten your arms, lift through your finger tips all the way up - keeping your shoulders firmly placed in their sockets

-Lean forward to increase stretch

Advanced psoas/hip flexor stretch:

You can see here how the muscles from your legs attach to your lower spine.  If they are tight and short, they pull on your spine and cause low back pain.  (That's what muscles do!)  There are different muscular causes for back pain but this psoas muscle stretch may be just what you need for lower back pain relief. | http://ideasforbedroomdecor.blogspot.com

- Place right knee on a padded surface

(carpet, folded towel/blanket, pillow, etc.)

- Step left foot out to form a right angle with left knee, again, firmly pushing with the sole of your foot into the ground

- Place left hand on left knee for balance and extend your torso upward, creating space within your body and avoiding collapseof the hip and/or diaphragm

 (you can also have a chair next to you for more stability)

- Grab right foot with right hand behind back, isometrically pushing your right foot into your right hand, and pulling your foot with your right hand towards your glutes

(If you can't reach yet, you can use a belt, yoga tie, resistance band - anything to be able to pull your right foot up to eventually meet your right hand.)