Fascia facts !! What is Fascia ?
The term ‘fascia‘ is heard a lot in the world of physiotherapy and rehabilitation when treating injuries and chronic pain
But what actually is it ?
Your horse or dog much like us humans, is composed of fascia, which is a three-dimensional connective tissue web that runs from head to tail. Fascia surrounds & infuses within every muscle, organ, nerve, blood vessel, tendon, and ligament in the body.
**cool fact** The white, glistening fibers you see when you pull a piece of meat apart or when you pull chicken skin away is fascia.
What does fascia do ?
The primary function of fascial tissue is to provide support, shape, and suspension for most of the soft tissues of the body. It helps these organs, muscles, ligaments to glide over one another and work together, provides protection, shock absorption and is part of the body communication network transferring signals between all parts of the body. The communication system of “muscular chains“ can often be referred to as myofascial kinetic lines.
Myofascial lines are chains of interconnected anatomical structures that functionally direct the basic motion pattern of the musculoskeletal system. Elbrond & Shultz (2014).
Shown below, is a basic interpretation of the myofascial kinetic lines
Muscles can develop tight bands of fascia called trigger points. These trigger points are painful on palpation & can lead to movement disorders. Left to their own devices this could cause long term chronic problems.
Releasing fascial adhesions is like clearing out the cobwebs between the muscles, allowing them to slide and glide more efficiently, which increases hydration and elimination of toxins. Freeing up the muscles in this way allows them to begin function independently, contracting and releasing to their fullest potential.
Myofascial release can often be incorporated into your animals therapy sessions, it uses sustained pressure to stretch and lengthen the fascia and along with massage it works with soft tissue and the overall system of muscles in the body to relieve stress and tension and encourages circulation, which in turn brings nutrition into the areas and removes toxins.
Ask you animal physiotherapist for more information on myofascial release
Elbrond, V.S and Shultz, R.M. (2014) Myofascial Kinetic Lines in Horses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 46