Be Well: What’s So Fascinating About Fascia?

You’ve probably heard about fascia. Magazine articles describe this tissue found throughout the body as a “net” or “webbing” that keeps organs and muscles in place. Foam-roller manufacturers tout the value of “myofascial” release for alleviating pain. And if you’ve ever suffered from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation affecting the arches in your feet, you’ve probably wondered if the condition is somehow related to fascia. After decades of being ignored and discounted, fascia is finally having its moment: As one clever health blogger recently put it, “Fascia is fashionable.”

What is fascia?
Fascia is, in fact, a term used to describe several kinds of tissue. There’s superficial fascia, a thin almost translucent layer of tissue that resembles onion-skin paper and lies just beneath the skin. There’s subserous fascia, which covers and connects organs. And finally, there’s deep fascia, which envelops individual muscles.

Fascia consists largely of collagen, and its thickness and strength varies. Outer layers of fascia tend to be more pliable than interior forms of fascia. Taken as a whole, the various forms of fascia comprise the largest organ in the human body, says Brad Finer, an instructor at Northwestern Health Sciences University and trained chiropractor at its Bloomington Clinic. “For a long time, people didn’t appreciate fascia,” he notes. “Scientists didn’t really understand what it did or how it functioned.”

Read the full article from Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine online here.