Prof Lorimer Moseley – clinical scientist investigating pain in humans

Fascia and the Brain

There is a direct fascial connection to the brain via the Rectus Captious Posterior Major’s myodural bridge. This is a direct fascial connection into the spinal cord and it is also abundant with those sensory nerves. So when you’re doing good work on the sub occipital muscles, you are actually having an effect on the whole system.

Meditation reduces the perception of pain

A study on Mindful Meditation showed that it reduced the perception of low back pain. So there is a potential for some exciting cross over studies between meditation and fascial work and how it works to fit the body together.

What we know about meditation is that it stimulates the production of Nitric Oxide. Nitric oxide is incredibly abundant in monks who meditate. Much more so than the ordinary populations.

Because of the work Robert Schleip did while trying to figure out how fascia was able to contract. He discovered that Nitric Oxide causes fascia to relax its tension. Clearly an interesting direction that merits additional research.

Age is all about how well you take care of yourself in terms of movement and fascial health

In a 4-6-9 month period, an incredible amount of fascial restoration is possible, because when you start to restore its resilience, through bodywork and movement therapies, and moreover teach people how to move in their bodies (AB Intrinsic Sensory Integration) and make them become aware of what they have done to create the holding pattern in the first place. An impressive level of youthful tissue, and movement quality, will be yours for life.

Fascia and Heat

Warmth leads to enhanced skeletal muscle excitability, faster contraction and relaxation parameters, as well as increased force generation. On the other hand, higher temperature leads to heat relaxation and reduced myofascial stiffness. That is, under these conditions, there exists an inverse relationship between muscle excitability and fascial stiffness. The higher the ambient temperature, the greater the myofascial/collagen relaxation and lengthening.

This would appear to be a positive attribute for any form of movement practice where limited fascial length or heightened fascial stiffness compromises performance or movement quality.

However, this apparent increase in mobility might be akin to suddenly increasing the speed limit on highways from 100 km/hr to 160 km/hr. This newly found sense of freedom and movement liberty, potentially comes a cost of collateral tissue damage, when the balance of the system is inadequately equipped to accommodate the added stress produced by the increased speed. So, proceed with caution.

Fascia and foam rolling

Foam rolling is one of the big rages right now. And all you hear these days is, fascia, fascia, fascia… and I think it’s good. I think anything we are doing to take care of ourselves is good. When we stimulate our tissues it’s awesome, but we need to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it. The fascia is alternately very thin and wispy, fine like a spider web, or really really tough and thick. What you are looking at is some of the toughest fascia in the body, the IT band.

It’s not designed to stretch. A study that Robert Schleip and Ton Finley did pretty much figured out that you need 220 lbs. of force to begin to cause a plastic deformation in the IT band. Once more we’re the only creature on the earth with an IT band, because were the only creature that walks on two legs. That’s why the IT band is there, to help hold us up right. It is the equivalent of the steel belt on a steel belted radial tire, designed to track straight ahead. So if you think you are going to roll out your IT band and really stretch it out, you might want to rethink that a little bit. You might want to work it really really slowly to rehydrate it.

According to the best experts in Germany, the optimal rate to rehydrate the fascia is about 1mm per minute. So, very, very slow.

Or you might want to work the edges of it around the quadriceps or around the hamstrings in the back to differentiate it from the IT band a little bit, but you need to know what your intent is. I don’t see the point of rolling the IT band and making a face like you just swallowed boiling water. Because that is all you are going to get out of it. So do it intelligently, realize why you are doing it. It is really great for proprioception. I think that foam rolling or myofascial work before an event can be beneficial to increase your proprioception, spatial awareness and motor control.

Cancer and connective tissue (fascia)

Fascia is the terrain of the immune system. Cancer uses the scaffolding of stiff fibrotic chronically inflamed fascia to proliferate and spread through the body. It also uses the stiff fascia to protect the cancer from our immune system. Additionally the cancer secretes molecules that further stiffens the fascia to compound the effect.

The cancer promotes the stiffness and the stiffness promotes the cancer. Initially it was postulated that the stiff, fibrotic fascia encompassing the cancer was protecting us from it. However it turned out that the cancer was using the stiff fascia as a shield, to protect it from our immune system.

“The connective tissue is really the home of the immune system. Cancer is not just a collection of tumor cells growing out of control. They need a base and that base is the connective tissue — the stroma. The cancer takes the connective tissue hostage. Dr. Patricia Keely at The University of Wisconsin has studied cancer’s likelihood to spread along places where the connective tissue matrix forms these railroads [channels of fascia].”

Stretching and joint articulations

Stretching approximates(jams together) the bony structures – squeezing synovial fluid out of the joints. Long held Yin yoga style poses squeeze the synovial fluid out of the joints, Much like prolonged running or marching(Napoleon) without rests.

Bones are pressed together during stretches. If you have cartilage problems, this could be an issue. The knee especially requires more feeding of synovial fluid because it is the structure with the most cartilage. Rehydrating after yoga poses is recommended. Shaking your legs or arms, or the application of Arthrokinetic therapy reintroduces synovial fluid, stimulates mechanoreceptors, promotes proprioception, and decompresses the affected joint.

Walking remains the preferred activity for circulating fluid through the knee to lubricate cartilage surfaces.

The Myotatic Reflex & long held poses

Muscle spindles want to return muscles to their original length. take your time and start your stretching once the myotatic reflex lets go and starts letting the fascia open up.

Kobe Bryant

who was the number 1 professional basketball player until recently, employed and interesting therapy strategy on the day before a big game. His therapist who works very much like an Adaptive Bodywork Structural Integration therapist, would perform a very deep fascial treatment on Kobe, lasting for 2 and one half hours.

These treatments performed on the days before games were used to activate the fibroblasts in the fascial web, to create a more active metabolism, and prepare his body in advance, to deal with the riggers of his aggressive playing and the repetitive strain and inflammatory overuse better.

This way when injuries occurred, his internal terrain was already prepared and was ready to repair the damage when it occurred, allowing him to recover better and more quickly.


Stress and the development of the immune system are intimately linked. Depression may be viewed as a psychoneuroimmunological disorder.

Scientists at the University of California’s “Stress Lab” are studying the connection between stress, inflammation and depression. They work with artificially induced stress. Test subjects believe that they have been rejected, or left out of a group. Their brains are studied whilst they react.

If you expose someone to an experience of social stress whilst in the scanner, some regions of the brain are active that are also active during physical pain. For example being burnt, or another type of body pain. This is a very interesting concept because it suggests that there’s a neurological overlap between the way the brain processes experiences of physical pain and the way the brain processes experience of social pain. Scientist believe that the stronger the brain’s reaction to stress. The more inflammation is caused.

The explanation of this may go back to the evolution of man. Stress used to mean one thing: Danger to body and life. Man was constantly threatened by wild animals and enemies. His brain constantly scans his surroundings. If a threat is recognized, the brain activates not only the muscles and cardiovascular system, but also the immune system to prepare for a potential attack. Even before we’re injured, a proinflammatory substance is produced and sent around the body. If we’re then physically wounded, any incoming viruses or bacteria can be fought immediately. Both physical events, and social events, like a dispute, can increase inflammation within the body. This socalled inflammation puts some people at higher risk for depression than others. But why?

The foundations are already laid in childhood. Experiencing violence, losing a parent, a lack of emotional warmth and dependability. It’s know that such things have lasting effects on the psyche. But they also have a long lasting effect on the immune system. So if you’re a young child surrounded by a lot of social drama, like unpredictable parents or a dangerous neighborhood, it’s possible that the brain may try to calibrate itself, to pay greater attention to the many threats around it. This explains why the body always reacts more sensitively to stress, and we are then more inclined towards depression. But we can do something about it.

Previous research has linked inflammation resulting from physical health conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disease to the development of depressive symptoms, but new research shows that inflammation plays a role in depression — even in the absence of a physical illness.

The mind is the gatekeeper to the world’s experiences

This opens up a possibility if we can get people to think differently about themselves or the world, then we can change the way the body responds to social stress. If you change the way you think about yourself and the world through the practice of yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, or cognitive behavior therapy, you can not only reduce the symptoms of depression, but can lesson the likelihood of the depression returning.

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Together we’ll explore what’s holding you back.

Together, we’ll set you on a path to a more balanced and integrated life.

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