|Everywhere in your body is tissue called fascia. Scientists are unlocking its secrets.|
By Rachel Damiani and Ted Spiker
Jan. 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. EST
Americans, who spend about $8 billion a year in massage and chiropractic treatments to relieve pain, may have no idea that they’re all probably experiencing the same thing — a manipulation of their fascia, a three-tiered layer of tissue that encases tissues and organs.
Although some people who are kneaded, stretched, or cracked may have a vague notion that fascia exists, they probably don’t know much about their fascia — or understand why it even matters.
Some in the scientific and medical communities think the same way.
They cannot agree on what fascia is. They don’t know what fascia does. They may not even know it when they see it. (One scientist, when asked about fascia, had to look it up to try to define it. And a scientific group, the Fascia Nomenclature Committee, has devoted itself to resolving this language confusion.)
But this is what they suspect: As the only tissue that modifies its consistency when under stress (it’s your body’s shape-shifter, of sorts), fascia is a part of the body that inspires equal parts confusion and optimism in research circles.
It’s everywhere in the body, so it could affect just about everything. That leaves researchers wrestling with an intriguing dilemma: If fascia is everywhere, then how do you isolate its impact on the body?
Early research suggests it may have relevance in areas one wouldn’t normally think of fascia playing a role, such as digestive conditions and cancer.
“Fascia is what holds us together. There are very few diseases that don’t have a fascia component,” said Frederick Grinnell, a professor of cell biology at the UT Southwestern Medical School.
In an article in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, researchers make the point that this web throughout our body has the potential to influence everything.
continues at washingtonpost.com