Fascia Fitness Facts
ANATOMY OF FASCIA
Have you ever had neck pain or ache, a backache, felt tired muscles or stiff joints that hurt? These symptoms could be an overdone exercise routine, an out of balance sleep position or it could be caused by an area of your body you haven’t heard much about – the fascia. This intricate network of tissues throughout the body receives very little attention despite its major role in every single move you make.
FASCIA – THE INTERCONNECTIVITY NETWORK WITHIN THE BODY
Fascia (imagine a sheet of tissue paper or the white fine casing surrounding a peeled orange – this is directly underneath your skin) – is made up of multiple thin paper-like layers with liquid in between called hyaluronan. Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every one of your organs, blood vessels, bones, nerve fibers and muscles in place. When it dries up and tightens around muscles, it can limit mobility and cause painful knots to develop.
Hyaluronan – A non polysaccharide providing compression, strength, lubrication and hydration within the ECM (extracellular matrix). Regulates cell adhesion, mobility and mediates cell proliferation and differentiation making it a structural component of tissues, as well as an active signaling molecule.
Three Layers of Fascia
Fascia is classified by three layers.
1. Superficial Fascia – The lowermost layer of skin in most regions of your body and determines the shape of your body.
2. Deep Fascia – A thick, dense, discrete fibrous tissue layer.
3. Visceral or Parietal Fascia – Each of your organs is covered in a layer of fascia. The layers are separated by a thin membrane – outer wall of your organs are known as parietal and the skin of your organs are known as the visceral layer.
Sheath – a structure in living tissue which closely envelops another.
There are three layers of fascia in every muscle.
1. Endomysium – The deepest and smallest component of muscle connective tissue. A wispy thin layer of areolar connective tissue that ensheaths each individual muscle, fiber or muscle cell. It contains capillaries and veins – overlying the muscle fiber’s cell membrane. This thin layer helps provide the appropriate chemical environment for the exchange of calcium, sodium and potassium, which are essential minerals for the excitation and subsequent contraction of muscle fiber. Again we see the importance of minerals and how the body utilizes them.
2. Perimysium – A sheath of connective tissue that groups from 10-100 or more muscle fibers into bundles. It plays a role in transmitting lateral contractile movements. 3. Epimysium – A sheath of fibrous elastic tissue surrounding muscle. It is the fibrous tissue pocket that surrounds skeletal muscle. It is a layer of dense irregular connective tissue which ensheaths the entire muscle and protects muscles from friction against other muscle and bones.
Fascia – Four Types of Tissue, Three Ingredients
There are 4 types of tissue in the body: muscle, nervous, epithelial and connective. These 4 tissue types make up every structure in your body.
Connective tissue is the most pervasive, and has three basic ingredients; collagen, elastin, and ground substance.
Collagen fibers are long molecules. If one were as thick as a pen, it would be a yard long. Collagen is a protein consisting of three polypeptide chains that line up to form white fibrils. They are stronger than steel and can hold ten thousand times their own weight. Collagen fibers give tissues their tensile strength, resiliency and structural integrity. There are two minerals you need to build collagen naturally in the body – magnesium and zinc. Humic Acid Mineral contains over 80 plus minerals and it includes magnesium and zinc. We all have different mineral and nutrient needs at a given time. The real benefit of Humic Mineral is it provides the mineral nutrients needed by the body, which will only absorb and utilize those that are needed.
Elastin fibers are much like rubber bands. Elastin fibers allows tissue to stretch, thereby helping to absorb shock. Fascia, tendons and ligaments contain both collagen and elastin fibers.
Ground substance is viscous (a thick sticky consistency between solid liquid transparent fluid, like raw egg whites). It surrounds all cells in the body, and is part of our internal ocean. The body can not survive without water and minerals.
Chemically the ground substance is a mucopolysaccharide. Its main components are hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans (a core protein with long chains of sugar bonded.). Hyaluronic acid is viscous and lubricates the collagen, elastin, and muscle fibers, allowing them to slide over each other. Proteoglycans form the gel of the ground substance. This gel is excellent at dispersing shock and holding tissues in place. One of the most amazing properties of the ground substance is its ability to go from a jelly-like state to a completely liquid state. This is called thixotropy. Just like Jell-O- when its cool, it’s a jelly, and when its warm, it’s a liquid.
When we are sedentary and have minimal exercise, as we age, the ground substance in fascia has less liquidity and is more gel like. When this happens, we are more susceptible to injury, our range of motion becomes restricted and we dry up.
Movement everyday, stretching and working out allows the body to heat and creates a bio-electric energy that contributes to the ground substance gel to liquid transfer. So, if you want to get, keep or maintain pain free stretch capability, movement, mobility, healthy aging as we say here at HU, and have a working system that allows the exchange of nutrients and cellular wastes to occur more efficiently, keep moving and stretching – everyday – or start.
These components – ground substance, collagen and elastin, and the fibers arrange themselves in parallel to be able to transmit the pull of the muscle without breaking. This fascial network does not stop there. Not only does this tendon embed itself into the bone, it also fans out, surrounding the entire bone – literally becoming the periosteum of the bone. Then from the periosteum to another tendon, into another muscle to another tendon surrounding another bone and so on until the fascia in your toes has connected through this network to the fascia in your head and fingertips – uniting your body in one continuous fascial network. Wow! Add to that all the other tissues – nerves, arteries, veins, fat and organs all suspended and penetrated by this fascial network- it’s no wonder it’s called connective tissue.
Every single biological process of the body is connected to a mineral. How specialized the human body is, so incredibly, intricately, and profoundly formed of the dust of earth. A temple and a gift to be cherished.