Fascia refers to tissues throughout the body that enable your body to function as it should. Ways of keeping your fascia healthy include exercising regularly, stretching every day, staying hydrated, and more.
The benefits of loving your fascia
Have you ever wondered why you can’t touch your toes? Or why your organs don’t knock around inside you when you jump rope? Have you ever wondered how your muscles stay attached to your bones? Or why you have cellulite?
It’s not a mystery anymore.
The answer to these under-the-radar questions about your body is your fascia (pronounced fah-sha). But why haven’t we heard more about it in the same breath we talk about acupuncture, cryotherapy, or keto?
Part of the problem is that even experts have struggled to define fascia, with some calling the termTrusted Source “widely used yet indistinctly defined” and saying its inconsistent use could confuse matters further.
And next to muscle and bones, researchers note fascia has received only “minor attention” because it was long thought to be passive tissue.
Fascia takes many forms, from stretchy to stiff. It appears throughout the body, and because it’s so widespread, keeping your fascia healthy is essential.
Benefits of keeping fascia healthy
- improved body symmetry and alignment
- increased blood flow, which means faster exercise recovery
- reduced appearance of stretch marks and cellulite
- scar tissue breakdown
- reduced risk of injury
- less day-to-day pain
- improved sports performance
In short, fascia is connective tissue. It surrounds body parts from organs to muscles to blood vessels. It can also be a tough part of the body on its own, like the thick plantar fascia that stabilizes the arch on the bottom of the foot.So what in the name of science does fascia do?
Fascia means “band” or “bundle” in Latin. It’s mostly made of collagenTrusted Source. Ideally, your fascia is healthy and therefore malleable enough to slide, glide, twist, and bend, pain-free.
Fast facts about fascia:
- Fascia connects all connective tissues (that means the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood)
- Fascia holds together the entire body.
- There are four different kinds of fascia (structural, intersectoral, visceral, and spinal), but they’re all connected.
- When it’s healthy, it’s flexible, supple, and it glides.
Because fascia appears and connects throughout the body, you might think of it like a tablecloth. Tugging one corner can change the position of everything else on the table.Unhealthy fascia can cause a host of problems
When it’s unhealthy, fascia is sticky, clumpy, tight, and flaky. It forms restrictions, adhesions, and distortions (think: muscle knots).
What causes unhealthy fascia?
- a sedentary lifestyle
- poor posture
- overusing or injuring your muscles
- unhealthy eating habits
- poor sleep quality
Some have also claimed that cellulite is a symptom of unhealthy fascia, but the current evidence for targeting fascia to reduce cellulite isn’t strong. There are signs fascia could be connected to problems like back pain, but more research is needed.