Fascia and fascia training - context and explanations
Faszie, derived from the Latin noun "fascia? la", meaning "band, bandage, bundle, compound" (see entry in the wiktionary).
Since 2007, fascia has played a major role in the health and fitness sector. At that time, the term fascia was defined as all stretchable structures, i. e. all fibrous and collagen-containing connective tissue structures, at the first international fascia research congress (First International Fascia Research Congress) dealing with all aspects of fascia and its functions) at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. On the one hand, it is the layer that surrounds muscles, joints and nerves and spans the entire body with a muscular fibre netting in various thicknesses - highly elastic, extremely adaptable and resilient. An anatomically frequently used classification distinguishes between superficial fascia, deep fascia and visceral fascia - for the suspension and embedding of internal organs (see also Wikipedia: The three layers of fascia). On the other hand, it is also the ligaments, tendons and joint capsules!
Actually, the fascia should not be mentioned in the plural, because the mesh that occurs in the body is only a fascia that encloses the muscles and connects the tendons and ligaments. The anatomy alone should be sufficient to ensure that every human being has supple connective tissue. However, the fascia changes, can become sticky with other layers of connective tissue, become brittle and less elastic and thus cause a wide variety of symptoms. If you move too little or too one-sidedly, the connective tissue can become matted (among other things described in Health: Connective tissue - our inner support - a Geo Single E-Book) and thus cause pain and other physical problems. Therefore, manual therapists and trainers are increasingly focusing on the fascial net.
Pain resistance, mobility, mental states and the connection with fascia training
Fascial therapies and fascial training aim to dissolve bonded fascias and to make the connective tissue network supple, but at the same time elastic and tear-resistant. Not too long ago, it was discovered that special movement not only solves the fascial structures, but also tightens them. Studies also show that fascial techniques increase pain resistance, promote mobility and improve the state of mind.
Connective tissue massages, Rolfing and special fascia training, some of which are carried out with fascia roles, aim to improve the situation because elastic and healthy fascia should have a positive effect on a person's well-being. The promising effects of fascia training are obvious. In particular, sports scientists, physicians, trainers, body therapists and athletes have been discovering fascia training as a decisive factor for a well-trained body for some years now. Markus Rossmann is convinced that a special fascia training course can increase performance, prevent injuries and can also be used in rehabilitation. The primary goal is to maintain or restore health and activate the body's self-healing powers - and all this without spending a great deal of time.
Here are some important structures related to fascia:
In the foot, a fascia ball is often used to train the thick and extensible plantar fascia around the heel bone, the heel bone, in order to stimulate the metabolism and keep the plantar tendon elastic. Lack of extensibility of the plantar fascia or overstressing the tendon attachment of the Achilles tendon on the heel bone (plantar fasciitis) can cause inflammation. The heel spur, heel spur, heel spur, heel spur - medical calcaneal nut spur, which is a bony exaggeration of the heel, apparently causes heel pain in the case of an affected person. In addition to physiotherapy, the fascia training of this plantar fascia can also have a preventive effect, especially in sports that are associated with a high load on the feet. Orthopaedists report that about one in ten athletes who practise basketball, tennis, football, dancing or running discipline has plantar fasciitis (Dr. Mira Seidel in the article on plantar fasciitis).
However, proliferation or hardening of the connective tissue within the sole of the foot can also be accompanied by limited mobility or pain in the foot. These diagnoses, named by physicians as Morbus Ledderhose (named after the German surgeon Georg Ledderhose - see description after project Dr. Gumpert) or more generally as fibromatosis, are adhesions of this connective tissue with the environment, especially with the sole of the foot and with the muscles. Fascial training can help to keep the tissues in the foot supple and could alleviate discomfort caused by progressive hardening. Active fascial movement exercises can also help to make the ligament, tendon and joint structures healthier and more stable.
The Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon mentioned above runs from the heel upwards to the calf and as an extension to the knee and is probably the most important tendon for walking and running. Shortening of this tendon is particularly noticeable in certain sitting positions on the ground. Particular attention should be paid to the Achilles tendon during fascia training, but changes can only be observed over a longer period of time with regular fascia training.
Regular fascia training can prevent muscle aches and cramps, according to some of the trainers and self-appointed fascia experts. Stiftung Warentest expresses this somewhat more cautiously: fascia exercises could alleviate muscle aches after intensive sports training. The report is a special on the training of fascia:"What is the benefit of working on the connective tissue?
The femoral fascia
The fascia around the waist, hips and thighs - problem areas especially in women, better known as cellulite - often loses additional elasticity due to lack of exercise, so that it is particularly easy to detect visible fat deposits or water accumulation. Genetic predispositions also play a role. In order to prevent or reduce this cellulite, special fascia training can improve the elasticity of the skin and thus reduce dents and sagging skin. The fact that fascia training can eliminate cellulite is definitely not correct! But according to Gymondo, training against cellulite can be done with the fascial role itself.
The lumbodorsal fascia (fascia of the lumbar spine at the lower back) and the back fascia
Do you also suffer from back pain (according to bomedus GmbH, the most frequent cause of inability to work in Germany), another illness of the musculoskeletal system, or do you notice an increasing stiffness of your hip joint or your joints in general?
The lack of exercise is considered to be the cause of many civilization diseases. The consequence of lack of exercise could be glued, non-functional fascia, e. g. around the hip or on the back of the thighs. The cross-linked connective tissue in this area covers the fascia from the thigh to the upper end of the sacrum. The actual back fascia covers the largest part of the body and only begins above the pelvis and runs under the back extensor muscles. Scientists suspect that chronic back pain is caused by inflammations or cracks in the back fascia - the back fascia has a supporting function in large parts of the spine. Fascias matted with other layers could loosen up again through back fascia training (swinging - jumping - rolling). The aim of a fascia training in the area of the spine is to keep the back fascia elastic and to reactivate the self-healing powers in case of already existing back problems.
Fascia in the shoulder and shoulder belt area
Very firm, thick fascia that links the area of the arms down to the pelvis and connects to the pectoral muscle. Lack of movement can also lead to sticking in the shoulder fascia, which is manifested by pain and movement restrictions in various regions of the shoulder joint. As a preventive measure, fascia training of the shoulder or the shoulder belt can work against matting and thus provide more mobility.
The nuchal fascia
In the case of neck pain, which also leads to headaches more often, those affected should devote themselves to neck fascia training. Neck fascia is the area from the shoulder, over the neck, back over the head up to the eyebrows. The nuchal fascia plays a major role in the mobility of the head and neck, but is also intended to support this area. Fascial training must therefore take into account both the aspect of firmness and mobility of the nuchal fascia in order to reduce the painful consequences of a lack of elasticity.
Ligaments, tendons and joint capsules
The so-called "fixed fascial structures" can be influenced by rocking, fendering and jumping movements in a positive sense. These structures should not be brittle, but have a certain elasticity and "healthy stiffness". In this way, these structures can store kinetic energy for a short time and release it back to the body. In addition to the effect of a more economical exercise, which is especially important in competitive sports, fascia training can also reduce the susceptibility to injury!
The great thing about fascia training is that you can achieve good, perceptible results with relatively little time expenditure. Only 2-3 short training sessions (approx. 20-30 minutes) per week are enough to stimulate a positive conversion. Subjectively, the trainers feel a difference after 2-3 weeks. However, the half-life of collagen, the main component of fascia, is approximately 4 months with movement. All tendon, capsule and ligament structures need about 2-3 times as long!
What are the most common errors about fascia?
Markus Rossmann, graduate sports teacher Univ., certified Rolfer? and fascia expert explains some of the most common mistakes about fascia:
Error 1: Fascia are the cause of pain/complaints
For some time now, many fitness trainers and body therapists have been ascribing all kinds of physical problems to glued, non-elastic or matted fascia or proliferation of connective tissue. But fascia is not always the source of pain. Fascia is important, but they are not more important than all the other structures in our body. A good trainer or therapist analyzes a client's body and then decides in an individualized functional training whether and how much fascial part a training or treatment should have.
Error 2: Fascia can be practised isolated
That is not the case. Fascia and muscles are one unit and cannot be treated separately. Similar to gazelles or kangaroos, part of the kinetic energy during walking or running is due to the dynamic suspension of the fascia - the so-called catapult effect. The comparison comes from an article in Wikipedia: The catapult effect. Nevertheless, it is always an interplay of muscular movement and fascial structures. Fascial training also increases the flexibility and flexibility of the muscles, but every training session trains muscles and fascias. However, a more muscularly emphasized workout - the classical strength training - or a more fascial emphasized workout - a special fascia training - can be carried out.
Mistake 3: Fascial training is nothing new
Old wine in new bottles or haven't we done it always like that?
Of course, emphasizing the fascia training did not reinvent movement. But in the different exercises, which support the variety of movements, the details in the execution are important. In a good functional training, optimal fascial stimuli are set. Therefore, concepts such as fascial yoga or fascia treatment are increasingly emerging at the moment, in which emphasis in the different phases of a movement is important. In Far Eastern practices such as Pilates, Tai Chi or Qi Gong, this has been taken into account in some areas for centuries. A layman doesn't see the difference between wings and fascial swinging. A participant in the fascial training courses not only receives a theoretical explanation of this difference, but he or she also feels it during the execution of exercises. Even without additional aids such as the fascia roll or the fascia ball. And due to his experience, he can explain the difference between muscular and fascial movement stimuli, as it depends on the HOW the training stimuli are used.
Recommended reading about fascial training
For further literature, please refer to the pocket book published in 2017 by fascial expert Markus Rossmann and the functional fitness expert Lamar Lowery: Faszie trifft Musk (2017 Meyer&Meyer Verlag). Among other things, the four principles of fascia training (role training, fascial stretching, catapult training and body perception training) are dealt with on over 230 pages. The exercise scope alone, including instructions for fascia exercises with and without equipment and complete fascial-functional training units, comprises 170 pages. Coloured illustrations, arranged in accordance with the Fascia exercises, illustrate the procedure in individual steps.
The Fascial Training Exercise Manual can be understood as a reference book for trainers and therapists. Available as a paperback in stationary bookstores or online as an ebook-/Kindle-version: Faszie meets muscle - a functional training (German only).