The Connective-Tissue (also called fascia) is the thin, clear membrane that surrounds all the muscles of the body. (It is that translucent membrane that is visible when you clean a piece of chicken.) In actuality the fascia is pervasive throughout the body. It surrounds and runs through the muscles, organs, blood vessels, nerves and bones. Its propose is to divide, support and connect the many structures it surrounds in such a way that their interaction is balanced and counterbalanced.
One way to understand the connective tissue is from a model created by Buckminster Fuller, called
. Tensegrity is the use of compression struts in relation to stretch fabric to create a freestanding structure. The popular camping tents that use flexible poles that are covered with rip-stop nylon are a perfect example. The poles are compressed as the nylon is stretched. As a result, the tent is free standing.
Normally the Connective-Tissue in the body is very moist and lubricates the spaces where there is movement between differing areas. However, this tissue can become dehydrated and form adhesions between one area and another. This can put a great strain on how areas interact, as well as affecting our overall posture. Imagine the tent just mentioned if a knot were tied in the fabric somewhere. Obviously this would distort the entire shape of the tent, putting stress and strain throughout.
Usually when the connective tissue becomes adhered general everyday movement will bring about normalcy. Remember the body is designed to self-correct. However, when an area has become severely or chronically strained the fascia can become so entangled that it acts like that knot in the tent. The distortion affects the body by limiting range of motion, straining areas and frequently causing pain.
Fortunately, there is treatment for these conditions by a properly trained therapist in myofascial release or Structural Integration. The biochemist Ida Rolf was the first to understand the extent the fascia plays in healthy movement and posture. She developed a systematic protocol for correcting problems caused by connective tissue strains. Ida Rolf's work has influenced the entire field of Bodywork and her students have continued her legacy referring to her work as Rolfing.
To find someone in your area that can help with correcting myofascial strains look for someone who is certified in some type of Structural Integration. These could include:
The Rolf Institute
The Guild for Structural Integration
Jon Barns Myofascial Release
Technical review of fascia.
Finished with Connective-Tissue, return either to Massage Therapy
Types of Pain.