Everything you need to know about the secret organ that’s the key to changing the shape of your body
One of the keys to having an efficient metabolism (which we all want, right!?), improving posture, and reduce pain is by having a body that is in correct alignment. And when your body is aligned, you’re much more likely to lose weight more efficiently and keep it off. So where do you start when you want to achieve proper body alignment? It all starts with fascia.
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that encases your body under your skin like a wetsuit and actually wraps itself around every muscle, joint, and organ. If you’ve ever cut into a piece of raw chicken or steak and seen that thin, white, filmy layer, then you’ve seen fascia.
Fascia: the “secret” organ
Medical science is finally catching on that fascia is a major player in every movement you make. The fascia is also where the nerves and lymph nodes lie–so it’s being referred to as a sensory organ.
While fascia is incredibly malleable and thin, it’s also largely responsible for the shape of our bodies. The amazing thing is that fascia is only now being medically recognized for its importance in maintaining a healthy, fit, toned, and aligned body. In fact, it wasn’t until 2007 that the first international Fascia Research Congress was held at Harvard Medical School, bringing a new awareness to the importance of the fascial webbing system.
How unhealthy fascia can cause problems
Fascia can thicken and harden which can cause all sorts of structural and alignment issues in the body: when you have a stiff shoulder, for example, often it is not damage to the muscle that it causing it, but a hardening or thickening of the fascia around the shoulder muscles and joint.
Injuries, stress, poor posture, poor flexibility, and repetitive movements can pull the fascia into ingrained patterns and cause it to become dense and tight. Adhesions form within the stuck and blocked fascial tissue like snags in a sweater, and make our bodies feel heavy, thick, uncomfortable, and run down. The good news is that your fascia is incredibly malleable and has almost ridiculous self-healing abilities.
How healing fascia can help reshape your body
Fascia is critical because it actually helps to create the shape of our bodies. When it’s healthy, fascia is like clear saran wrap. Having healthy fascia is key to being in correct alignment, which helps you feel better overall, improve your posture, reduce chronic pain, and even handle stress better since rolling is relaxing and calms your nervous system.
One of the best ways to help heal the fascia is through using a foam roller. The foam roller acts as a tool for myofascial release. The roller gets into the fascia in much the same way that a deep-tissue massage does.
Rolling regularly helps to ‘lubricate’ your joints and reduce inflammation but it works wonders on fascia by breaking up thickness and density that builds up in the connective tissue and brining hydration back into the fascia. Think of fascia like a sponge. When the sponge is dried up it becomes brittle and stiff. But when you add water (hydration) to the sponge it becomes supple again.
Fascia, the Lymphatic System and Detoxification
The fascia is also key to detoxification since the lymph nodes are located in the fascia. Rolling with a foam roller improves circulation throughout your entire body which helps to oxygenate the blood, boost lymphatic drainage and flush toxins from the body. Toxins tend to get trapped in the fascia when the body gets out of alignment, causing tight and thick fascia tissue.
The lymphatic system is responsible for flushing the body’s toxins and is vital for a healthy immune system, overall health, and weight loss.
If you’ve ever had a massage and had the masseuse tell you to drink plenty of water after, that’s because the massage stimulates your lymphatic system, which is located in your fascia. This is similar to using a foam roller since it helps flush the lymphatic system in the same way. So in order to detox and support the lymphatic system (which is like your body’s garbage disposal) you have to work to stimulate it. One of the best ways to do this is by foam rolling (or yes, getting a massage!). Since most people can’t afford daily massages, investing in a foam roller and using it regularly will give you all of the same benefits of a massage, for a fraction of the price.
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