Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2015

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ascia provides structural and functional continuity between the body's hard and soft tissues. It is a ubiquitous, elastic-plastic, sensory component that invests, supports, separates, connects, divides, wraps, and gives both shape and functionality to the rest of the body, while allowing gliding and sliding motions, as well as playing an important role in transmitting mechanical forces between structures. At least, that is how fascia behaves when it is healthy and fully functional. In reality, due to age, trauma, or infl ammation, for example, fascia may shorten, becoming painful and restricted and fail to painlessly allow coherent transmission of forces, or smooth sliding interactions, between different layers of body tissues. 1 ADAPTATION One way of viewing fascia-related dysfunction that occurs gradually over time, happens suddenly following trauma or infl ammation, or which may be part of inevitable age-related changes, is as physiological or biomechanical 64 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 5 By Leon Chaitow This article is adapted from Chapter 25 of Fascia in Sport and Movement, edited by Robert Schleip, published with permission from Handspring Publishing Limited. Leon Chaitow's new book, Fascial Dysfunction (Handspring Publishing, 2014), develops this topic further. Fascia- Related Dysfunction Palpation and Functional Assessment Methods adaptation or as compensation. Neuromyofascial tissue contraction may result in varying degrees of pain- inducing binding, or "adhesions," between layers that should be able to stretch and glide on each other, potentially impairing motor function. 2 A process evolves that can be neatly summarized as "densifi cation" of previously more pliable tissues, including fascia. This involves interference with complex myofascial relationships, altering muscle balance, motor control, and proprioception. 3 These slowly evolving adaptive processes may become both habitual and built-in. For example, in an individual with a chronically altered postural pattern involving a forward- head position, protracted shoulders, a degree of dorsal kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis, there will be both a range of soft-tissue changes, fi brosis, etc., as well as the evolution of ingrained, habitual, postural patterns that are usually diffi cult to modify unless the F

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