If you want to get to the “deeper” parts of the body- organs, muscles- you need to cut through fascia. That’s exactly what most people have thought of fascia- something to cut through. However, the newest research suggests that fascia is more like an entirely different organ that is responsible for a variety of processes in our body than just some tissue to get rid of during dissection. Moreover, it seems like it could play a role in some diseases such as chronic pain or even cancer even though the research in this area is not so clear-cut. Let’s explore this “new” tissue and its potential.
It is difficult to provide a definition of fascia because even scientists and medical professionals don’t agree upon one! However, as for now, we can say that fascia is a fibrous tissue that can be found underneath the skin, surrounding organs and muscles preventing them from simply “swimming” in our body as we move. The tissue itself can be divided into 3 or 4 subcategories depending on where it’s found in the body (superficial, deep, visceral and parietal). We now know that your fascia can tighten or loosen depending on a number of factors such as posture and physical activity. It’s generally good if your fascia is on the looser side; however, some say that the tissue surrounding some organs should be rather stiff to prevent their movement around the body (yew!). If fascia becomes very tight, it might cause severe pain and conditions such as plantar fasciitis or “frozen” shoulder.
What about other diseases though? Can problems with fascia be linked to cancer or gastrointestinal issues? It might be true; however, the research in this field is still in its infancy. One hypothesis on the role of this tissue in cancer is that the looser it is, the more “accessible” the tumor is which makes the treatment more successful. However, no one yet has been cured from cancer by doing fascia stimulation only so it’s difficult to assess the credibility of that claim. What we do know though, is that you should try to keep your fascia as healthy as possible and for as long as possible. You can do it by simply exercising and stretching which loosen the fibrous connections in fascia and between fascia and organs. There are also many ways of fascia stimulation which fall under the “alternative medicine” category so more research needs to be done to assess whether or not they have real impact on the state of your fascia.
The conclusion is clear: keep moving as it is likely to prolong your, and your fascia’s, life! Also look out for any news in this field as we might make some significant discoveries about this fascinating tissue soon.
Caroline Williams. “Fascia: The Long-Overlooked Tissue That Shapes Your Health.” New Scientist, 11 June 2022, www.newscientist.com/article/mg25433861-200-fascia-the-long-overlooked-tissue-that-shapes-your-health/.
Cleveland Clinic. “Fascia – Connective Tissue.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23251-fascia.
Coppedge, David. “Fascia, Your Body’s Fashionable “New” Organ.” Evolution News, 26 May 2022, evolutionnews.org/2022/05/fascia-your-bodys-fashionable-new-organ/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.
Damiani, Rachel, and Ted Spiker. “Everywhere in Your Body Is Tissue Called Fascia. Scientists Are Unlocking Its Secrets.” Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/everywhere-in-your-body-is-tissue-called-fascia-scientists-are-unlocking-its-secrets/2019/01/25/e0414e3e-f4e0-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.