Fascial Manipulation – The Latest Catchphrase for Manual Therapists

Fresh from a one day Stecco Fascial Manipulation Workshop in Perth and I am more convinced that ever that Fascia is the Glue linking our mind, body and spirits. To manipulate Fascia is to manipulate a entire system at once.

Think of Fascia as the spider web holding our organs, bones, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, etc in a big suspended matrix. The classic analogy is the rope pyramids you often see in playgrounds. One child climbing at the base is having an effect on the child hanging off the top row, and vice versa. So it is with Fascia. Contracture anywhere in one part of the body will be influencing other parts higher, lower, across, or deep to that contracture. Think of Contracture as sticking, or like someone grabbing your shirt at the front of the chest and notice the tension it creates in the back of your shirt. So fascial contracture, or sticking is what we as therapists are always trying to Free or Loosen.

We can achieve it through movement, or hands on manipulation. The process of unlocking sticky fascial points involves precisely located application of heat and friction to change the visco-elastic properties of the Hyaluronic Acid between the fascial layers. Think of custard and what happens to it when it is heated ( gets thinner and runnier) and when cooled ( gets thicker and gluier). Is that even a word? Hopefully you get the picture. So when we assess your movements and notice restrictions in range ( overall movement), or pain, or weakness, we have clues about which areas to manipulate. Once we touch your tissues and assess the areas of “bogginess” or ” sticking” we can take an educated guess that applying 3-4 minutes of local heat and friction will release this sticking. Your movement should improve, as should pain and the sense of “heaviness”. It is quiet simply amazing to experience it, see it with your own eyes and makes my job very rewarding.

Personally though, I see fascial manipulation as a stepping stone to recovery. We must always first explore our minds. Are they open to the possibility of healing? if not, nothing will work. If so, then movement assessments and fascial manipulation are a great second step. Once the movement has been restored we need a third step. We need to WIRE that new movement pattern into the brain, otherwise I fear it often returns. This is where any form of mindful movement practice will be useful. My favourites as you all know are Feldenkrais, Contemporary Pilates, Yoga, Tai chi, etc.

If you have not experienced Fascial Manipulation as yet, and are wondering if you could benefit, then Book an Appointment today. I am now working Mon, Tues, Wed and Fridays. Thursday remains a sacred day for TENNIS, laughs and good food.