Fascia: according to Tom Myers

More on Remodelling in Training

Movement plays a crucial role in maintaining the orderliness of fascia. A lack of movement can lead to the development of disordered, felt-like fascia. The process of loading and unloading the fascia influences its remodelling, with healthy loading producing an organized pattern. There are two types of unhealthy loading: no loading and overloading. These can result in different outcomes for the fascia.

Healthy versus Unhealthy loading of the fascial architecture

Studies on rats have shown that immobilizing a leg for just two weeks can significantly change the fascia’s appearance. The immobilized leg displays disordered fascia compared to the orderly fascia of the control leg. While it is unclear whether human fascia reacts as quickly as that of lab rats, this research highlights the importance of regular movement for maintaining healthy fascia.

A. Healthy versus, B. 2 weeks of tissue immobilization

Incorporating regular movement into daily life is essential for maintaining the organization and hydration of fascial tissue. Relying solely on exercising a few times a week, such as going to the gym, may not be sufficient to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Prolonged sitting, for example, can cause the fascia to devolve, negating the benefits of occasional exercise.

Incorporating more movement into daily routines

To promote healthy fascia and enhance overall movement, it may be necessary to incorporate more movement into daily routines. This could involve finding ways to be more active during the workday, engaging in regular breaks to stand up and stretch, or exploring additional exercise options beyond traditional gym workouts. By integrating more movement into everyday life, individuals can support the optimal functioning of their fascia and maintain ease of movement and hydrated tissue.

Divisions within the Fascial System

Up until now, the focus has primarily been on the fascia within the myofascial part of the body, which is the musculoskeletal system. However, fascia is present throughout the entire body and plays a role in every aspect of cellular physiology. Although it is essential to understand that the fascial system is a continuous and interconnected network, it can be helpful to discuss various divisions within the system to gain a better understanding of its functions.

Fascial bags for the visera

The first division to consider is the visceral fascia, which surrounds the organs within the ventral cavity. This cavity extends from the pelvic floor and anus up to the nose and mouth. Organs are wrapped in fascia, and different bodywork techniques, such as visceral manipulation, can be used to address the fascial layers around the organs.

The Ventral cavity

Ventral cavity: Nasal, Oral, Pharyngeal, Thorcic, and Pelvic

The ventral cavity, also known as the anterior body cavity, contains most of the organs of the body. This cavity is located at the front (anterior) part of the body and is larger than the dorsal cavity. It’s divided into two main sections by the diaphragm, a muscle involved in breathing:

  1. Thoracic cavity: This is the upper part of the ventral cavity, located above the diaphragm. It contains the heart and the lungs, which are protected by the rib cage. The thoracic cavity is further divided into two pleural cavities (each containing a lung) and the mediastinum, which contains the heart, trachea, esophagus, and thymus.
  2. Abdominopelvic cavity: This is the lower part of the ventral cavity, located below the diaphragm. It’s generally divided into two parts:

    • Abdominal cavity: Contains many digestive organs such as the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and most of the small and large intestines. It also contains the kidneys and adrenal glands.
    • Pelvic cavity: Contains the urinary bladder, some parts of the large intestine (the sigmoid colon and rectum), and the internal reproductive organs – the uterus in females and the prostate in males.

These cavities are lined with a serous membrane, which produces a lubricating fluid to reduce friction from muscle movement. The specific membrane lining the thoracic cavity and covering the lungs is called the pleura, and the one lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities and covering the contained organs is called the peritoneum.

Found in the ventral cavity are the Mediastinum, Mesentery, Pleura, and Pericardium

The fascia of the heart

The Dorsal cavity

Another division is the meninges, the fascial layers surrounding the organs within the dorsal cavity. This includes the brain and the spinal cord. Techniques such as craniosacral therapy or cranial osteopathy have been developed to address the fascial layers in this area.

Meninges: Pia Mater, Arachnoid layer, and Dure Mater

The Dorsal cavity: Brain Case, Spinal Canal

The dorsal cavity of the human body, also known as the posterior body cavity, primarily contains components of the central nervous system. It is subdivided into two main sections:

  1. Cranial cavity: This houses the brain, the primary organ of the nervous system.
  2. Spinal cavity (or vertebral cavity): This contains the spinal cord, which is a long, thin, tubular structure made up of nervous tissue that extends from the medulla oblongata in the brainstem to the lumbar region of the vertebral column.

These cavities are continuous with each other, meaning there’s a direct physical connection between the brain and the spinal cord. The dorsal cavity is protected by the skull (for the cranial cavity) and the vertebral column (for the spinal cavity). Both the brain and the spinal cord are further protected by the meninges, cerebrospinal fluid, and the blood-brain barrier.

The Inner Fascial Layer

Within the musculoskeletal system, there are two primary divisions of fascia: the inner fascial layer close to the bones, and the outer myofascial layer. The inner layer includes the periosteum, ligaments, and joint capsules, which are all interconnected. Physiotherapy, osteopathy, and sometimes surgical interventions are used to address issues within these inner fascial structures.

The Inner bag: Periostea, Joint Capsules, Ligaments


Joint Capsule

The Outer Fascial Layer

The outer myofascial layer is filled with muscles, and this is the area primarily addressed by the Anatomy Trains concept. Although it is essential to recognize that separating ligaments from muscles is artificial, as they are interconnected, distinguishing between the superficial myofascial layer and the deeper structures can still be helpful.

The Outer bag: Muscles & Myofascia (Wrapped in more fascia)

Muscles & Myofascia

In conclusion, while the fascial system is a continuous and interconnected network, understanding the different divisions and their unique characteristics can be beneficial for addressing specific issues within the body. Various bodywork techniques and therapies have been developed to target these different divisions and promote overall well-being.

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Removing Pain from the Human body by Adaptively Reconfiguring the Connective Tissue Support System…

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