Episode 46:

Understanding the Stuff Between the Stuff (a.k.a. Fascia)

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Fascia and myofascial release have started to make a name for themselves in the health and wellness world, but what is it and why does it matter? We brought on Dr. Ariele Foster, Physical Therapist, Yoga Teacher, & Founder of YogaAnatomyAcademy.com, to help us understand fascia (or the stuff between the stuff as she likes to call it.) She breaks down what fascia is and its role in the body while also sharing some simple techniques for practicing myofascial release on yourself. And, true to our belief in no B.S. allowed, Dr. Foster explains why practicing myofascial release fits in as self-care AFTER you are taking care of your body’s fundamental physical needs by drinking enough water, getting enough sleep & movement, and eating more veggies.

In the “You Want Me To Do What??” section, Shanna shares about her experience using myofascial techniques on herself as well as getting treated by a credentialed practitioner. Also, Nicole chimes in with her thoughts on the fascia-focused yoga class that she tried out.

Episode Recap:

Interview with Dr. Ariele Foster - 2:42

“You Want Me To Do What??” section - 42:15

Highlights:

  • The medical definition of fascia: a layer of fibrous tissue. Fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. 

  • Dr. Foster simplifies this into real human-speak in that fascia is “the stuff between the stuff.”

  • Fascia is very slow healing. This means that lingering pain that you may feel after an injury or surgery, even years afterwards, may be from the fascia continuing to heal.

  • Myofascial Release (MFR) deals with the nervous system and is used as a way to signal to the nervous system to relax.

  • You should not feel pain when doing or getting MFR done! You may feel discomfort, but you should not feel pain.

  • Multiple techniques and gadgets exist for using when practicing MFR. The main thing to be aware of when doing MFR is that any technique or gadget used should not cause more pain during or after practicing it. And you should definitely not experience bruising.

  • #1 thing our fascia needs to stay healthy & happy is movement - Motion is Lotion

  • Water/hydration is important for healthy fascia

  • Myofascial Release (MFR) techniques:

    • Draping - pause & rest your body part over an object to let your body weight aid in the release. This is good to do with your feet (eg. standing on or putting pressure through your foot on a tennis ball) or in places you are not cutting off blood supply

    • Oscillate - create pressure on one area and do a gentle rocking back & forth

    • Plowing - apply pressure and slowly move the pressure up/down

    • *Important not to go too fast with any MFR technique

  • Dr. Foster’s top tips for keeping fascia happy:

    • Move your body

    • Eat lots of veggies & plant-based foods

    • Keep sugar consumption low

    • Stay hydrated

    • Eat enough fiber

    • Get your macronutrients, including protein

    • Play around with adding chia seeds & other gelatinous foods into your diet

Resources:

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