Fasciae


What is fasciae?


Fasciae is an extensive network of connective tissue (derived from the mesoderm during embryonic development) which invests all organs and extends from the head to the feet and also inward to outward.  It is “continuous” and provides a line of defense as it acts as a barrier thus preventing exposure to the outside world from harmful intrusions (analogous to the function of our skin).  So essentially the fasciae aids in immunity thus having a protective role for our bodies.

 

The fasciae provides a ‘cellular scaffolding’ which allows movement of cells responsible for numerous functions including, repairing/ rebuilding damaged regions, immune protection (macrophages), communication, and memory i.e. especially during injury.


How many layers of fasciae exist?

To fully appreciate this question, we must undertake a degree of organization regarding the fasciae.  There are 2 main fascial components:

 

i.                    Subcutaneous

ii.                   Subserous

 

SUBCUTANEOUS

 

The subcutaneous system is further broken down into the:

           

i.                    Superficial

ii.                   Deep

 

SUBSEROUS

 

The subserous system is found in the abdominal and thoracic cavities.
 

What is meant by the fasciae being continuous?

Continuity of the fasciae refers to the fact that all of the fasciae within the body is connected.  This allows the fasciae to provide an excellent scaffolding system which is suspended by bony structures via Sharpey's Fibers.  Continuity serves a vital role for maintenance of 'anatomical form' and 'shock absorption' which is veyr important for organ protection.

What would happen if fasciae was absent in a persons’ body?

No structural support would be provided and muscles would be unable to contract to generate force.  The body would not be able to maintain a set posture. 

A side note here for illustration is that the body suits that Olympic Weightlifters wear for various lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc), exaggerate the properties of the fascial system.  Muscles will be able to generate much more force during contraction, more postural support will be provided, and hence the athlete will be able to lift much heavier weight than they could prior to wearing such a body suit.

Self Myofascial Release is a technique that has been loosely coined and weakly explained in most literature.  In fact, it is similar to that of myofascial trigger point (MTP) therapy which would be relieved by a RMT, Chiropractor, Osteopath and/ or a Physiotherapist.  To learn more about MTPs then click here