Fascial Fitness

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What is Fascial Fitness​?
And What Can It Do For me?

Through my training as a massage therapist and Pilates teacher, I have had the privilege of meeting some influential people in movement work. Tom Myers, the author of anatomy trains and Daniela Meinl, CEO and Managing Director of Fascial Fitness Germany.

I am continually fascinated with and how the current research shows our fascia connects with our total health and movement. This makes so much sense to incorporate fascial training into both my massage and pilates work.

It is my belief that movement is key to good health. As soon as we lose the ability to move smoothly without constraints our wellbeing is challenged. Our tissue and joints can be moved in massage or we can be moved in exercise.

Incorporating Facial fitness training ideas into pilates makes sense as we work on:

• Connective tissue
• Tensegrity structures
• Movement

All my classes follow the fascial fitness and pilates principles along with the research, sprinkled with added humour.

See my Pilates classes for more information.

Fascial Fitness

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Fascia ( “connective tissue”) is the material that runs through our entire body, enveloping our organs and giving us form and structure.

If you slice open an orange, you can see the fine web of white fibres that gives the fruit its shape and holds the juice and flesh in place in the tiny sacs. Fascia plays a similar role in the human body. “What many people don’t know is that because of its many sensors for movement, position, tension, pressure and pain, fascia is our largest sensory organ, covering more area than our skin,”

It plays a major role in our body, our perception, our mobility, our sense of well-being and in the prevention of injuries.

Fascia training can be a separate part of your normal training, but it doesn’t have to be. If you already have a regular weekly workout plan, I would recommend integrating more fascia-focused exercises into your existing routine.

For those who have to sit a lot at work, here’s a good tip: Throughout the day, raise your arms above your head and bend and stretch as you do in the morning when you wake up. This produces a pleasant tension in your body. Of course, another great possibility for in between is to roll out your lower arms, neck and soles of your feet with a ball or a foam roller. If you are interested in having a more long-term positive impact on your fascia, you should do fascia-focused training 2-3 times per week.

Fascial Fitness Training Elements​


Fascial Stretch

Stretching improves the mechanical properties of fascia. Since fascia extends through the body in chains, (also known as anatomy trains), each exercise has to include as much of the chain as possible. This is why any attempt to stretch the fascia always involves the entire body. A good stretch for the fascia chain running along the backside of the body from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet is the following: Keep your legs hip-width apart and knees soft, hold onto a window ledge or worktop and walk your legs back until your back is straight, extend your tail bone back and lengthen your spine. Now twist, turn lift curve. Make sure to twist and turn in all directions to stretch every bit of the fascial area. Imagine a cat stretching and bending – this is a good way to visualize your fascia stretching. We love this one in Pilates class!


Rebound Elasticity

Springy movements, like butt kickers, skipping and high knees, are an integral part of fascia training. The aim is to strengthen structures and train your elastic storage capacity. The principle of tensional energy is the basis of all these exercises that work with an elastic rebound. Elastic jumps are, for instance, very important for runners. They primarily exercise parts of the body like the Achilles tendon or calf aponeurosis that is a frequent source of shortening and pain in athletes. The plantar fascia of the soles of our feet gently absorbs the impact of the jumps and transfers the energy into the ground as we rebound back up.


Proprioceptive Refinement

Fascia training includes kinesthetic exercises which are designed to make you more conscious of your movements and coordination. Training your kinesthetic sense or proprioception is becoming more and more important in today's world, where we often get far too little exercise. These exercises should be performed mindfully and without distraction. An awareness of your body allows you to move smoothly and evenly and, in the best case, helps you avoid injuries.


Fascial Release

Actually, fascial release is probably one of the best-known forms of fascia training. It involves a kind of self-massage of the fascia with special foam rollers, tennis balls or rubber balls. The pressure placed on the connective tissue leads to an exchange of fluids in the tissue, whereby lymph and other metabolic products are removed. Fascia loves slow, steady, melting pressure that decreases fascia and muscle tone and can even relieve stiffness and adhesions. Many people make the mistake after a workout of rolling too fast. Fast-rolling actually invigorates the fascia tissue and increases tension, so you should do it before working out and not afterwards!

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