Fascia is not a common word and most of us do not know what it is or how it affects our level of health.
It is an important lesson to learn is by being aware of what it is and how we can protect it will make our lives so much easier, and the mobility that we all treasure, especially as we age, will last so much longer.
Fascia is often thought of as the connective tissue that holds our organs together. However, we are now learning that it does so much more than that!
Along with connecting our organs, fascia is the reason that your skin, bones, muscles and nerve fibres are able to move so well when engaging in any physical activity. If your fascia is healthy, your movements will be fluid, graceful and comfortable.
Overall, fascia is the glue, or webbing, that makes sure our organs, bones, muscle tissue and blood vessels stay where they belong. It has more sensory nerve endings than muscles and is able to store and move water throughout the body, meaning it is one of the body’s most powerful sensory organs.
Helping Fascia with Healthy Food and Hydration
The biggest enemy to our fascia is sugar. It can cause it to become stiff and immobile and may even cause pain to the body pain in its movements. When shopping, make it a habit to check the labels for the sugar content in anything that you buy – it should not show higher than 10.
On the whole, diet plays a large part in keeping the fascia fluid and mobile.
A good rule of thumb for strengthening our fascia is adopting the good old fashioned way of eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Shop for red, green and orange vegetables and fruits, as these generally offer vital antioxidants that help protect our collagen against damage as well as repair it.
Foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados are also important for maintaining healthy fascia. Eating these daily is comparable to eating a Mediterranean diet, which is recognised the world over as one of the healthiest diets we could possibly follow.
Living in Australia we have access to some of the best products available, and those of us who have back gardens should ideally be growing our own organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. Even apartment balconies can be a suitable place to grow herbs, tomatoes, small crops and lots more.
Growing your own food is a good way to eat organically and healthily and, as a result, look after your fascia. It also brings a lot of personal satisfaction, as there is nothing better than picking what you have grown and taken it into the kitchen to prepare a meal!
As the fascia stores and moves water around the body, it’s equally as important to stay hydrated. This helps our fascia function while connecting water to all our vital organs, muscles and bones. If you struggle to stay hydrated, investing in a sturdy portable water bottle is an easy way to remember to drink water, both at home and when running errands outdoors.
Maintaining an Active Lifestyle for Healthy Fascia
The fascia empowers multiple parts of your body to move with fluidity, grace, energy and comfort. So, for those who are active – and want to remain active even in old age – making sure to look after fascia is very important.
Aside from keeping a healthy diet, this can be done with the exercise, frequent stretching and massages.
Yoga and pilates have been in Australia for many decades, but have only recently become popular with the general public. When I became interested in yoga in the sixties, it was classed as being “weird” – it was not seen as the mainstream platform for exercise that it is today!
Both these practices are great for staying limber and building strong muscle tissue – our fascia loves us stretching slowly and deliberately, as it keeps us supple and allows our movements to be easy, graceful and pain-free.
Similarly, with yoga and pilates, fascia is associated with gymnasts, who, by dedicating their training to building strong fascia and connective muscle tissue, are able to achieve seemingly impossible feats of strength such as the planche and the iron cross.
With that said, it’s a good investment of your time to spend a few minutes at the start of your day to stretch and warm up your muscles, joints and tendons before your first task. This can also be done throughout the day and before bed, which can help relax and condition the muscles for sleep.
Additionally, any cardio activity – for example jogging, skipping and swimming – is beneficial to the fascia, our blood circulation and maintaining strong, healthy organs. Other proven methods that help keep our fascia in a healthy state include foam rolling exercises, massages, cryotherapy and spending time in the sauna.
Of course, with all physical activity, getting enough sleep at night (at least 7-8 hours) for bodily recovery is just as, if not more, important.
Why We Should Look After Our Fascia
As fascia connects and fortifies our organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibres, making sure to look after and nurture our fascia through good nutrition, hydration and regular movement is crucial for staying supple, limber and active – even into old age.
Everyone wishes to remain healthy and physically active for as long as possible, and our body’s fascia is the key to preserving this mobility, along with keeping our muscles, bones and organs in place and working optimally.
With strong and healthy fascia, everyday tasks will become easier, the chance of experiencing common muscle pains will decrease and our ability to stay agile as we continue to age will last much longer.
No matter how many years you have behind you, it’s not too late to start caring for your fascia!
If you learned something from this masterclass, feel free to read more of our helpful masterclasses on health, wellbeing, natural medicine solutions and more by visiting Naturopath.