Let’s address a question that I see a lot: “Can fascia regenerate?”
The good news is that fascia can repair itself after injury … although it doesn’t exactly ‘regenerate’ (in the sense of growing anew into a flawless region of tissue). It heals more like the skin, where the edges of a wound can stick together if they are close enough (which is why we have to get stitches when a cut is serious, to bring those edges together).
After some surgical procedures the fascia inside may need to be stitched together like the skin on the surface - but the fascia can get itself overlapped as it heals, forming an adhesion. When left to its own devices without care, fascia can get itself into trouble...
A case in point: when a woman gets pregnant, her body stretches to accommodate the growing baby (don’t I know it!) ... and the fascia that runs through the abdominal cavity is literally torn. After the baby is born and the fascia tries to seal back up, it just doesn’t necessarily go back together nice and neat the way it was before.
That’s why women sometimes have droopy, saggy, dimpled, soft bellies after having a baby. Not only that, but when fascia is disrupted, blood flow and nerves are also disrupted. Muscle access or the ability to contract muscles is impeded, which is why women have trouble firing their inner core muscles and pelvic floor like they used to be able to do.
Wherever fascia is unhealthy (and for whatever reason), it forms restrictions, adhesions, and distortions (not so “R.A.D.”, right?).
A restriction is a place in the body where the fascia is tight and - duh! - restricting something, like blood flow, nerve activity, joint mobility, muscle access and in extreme cases even organ function.
An adhesion is a place where the fascia is stuck together and balled up like duct tape, and is commonly referred to as a “knot.” (hint: It’s not a knot!).
A distortion in the fascia is where the tissue is pulled out of shape or the body’s structure is distorted, such as with the appearance of cellulite or when a person has a knee that is turned in. That tight, unhealthy fascia is actually pulling and distorting the anatomy.
What causes unhealthy fascia?
A lot of things can damage your fascia (not just childbirth). Food choices, stress, hormones, allergies, lifestyle choices, you name it… but here’s the shocker: most people have varying degrees of R.A.D. in different areas of the body. After all, fascia is a system made up of cells, so anything that affects cellular health affects your fascia!
There are, however, three top factors that I consistently see that negatively impact the fascia the most. They are:
- Poor structure (posture) and biomechanics (movement)
- Blood flow (or not enough of it for optimal functioning)
This top three list comes from personal experience and is 100% my opinion, but I think it’s as solid as any other theory out there. If you want to know why - it’s in my book The Cellulite Myth (wink).
What can be done to help restore the fascia?
With the right tools and techniques, even severe fascia problems can be improved dramatically, as attested to by the thousands of brave women in our facebook group who have shared their stories and pictures.
Browse through my other blog posts to learn more about your fascia and how to nurture it!