Not too many years ago, the term “fascia” was hardly heard. It was viewed as the body’s inert ‘packaging material’ just as bubble wrap or packaging peanuts. It was also regarded as the domain of hands-on bodyworders such as massage therapists and Rolfers. This view has changed radically over the last years, and its wording has begun to infiltrate the fitness industry.
Fibromyalgia is a multi-layered condition, and those who are suffering from it often have a difficult time communicating the complexities to others. Here is an excerpt from the Fibromyalgia Foundation’s website:
As the connective tissue, aka fascia, which until recently was treated like the ugly duckling is morphing into a beautiful swan, it has been attracting more and more interest from practitioners of different modalities. MELT has been at the forefront of this movement, and it still forms a foundation stone of my training. But there are others now, and as a trainer, it is important to evaluate its effectiveness and even integrate it into practice where it is of benefit to the clients and students.
Fascia (aka connective tissue) is an amazing fluid-based tissue that can adapt itself to any position we want to assume, and always returns back to a natural state of ideal alignment. At least, that’s how it should be. Enter: the demands of modern life. Prolonged sitting, hunching while texting. Over time, the stresses placed on the body cause the fascia to be stuck in some areas, and that stuck stress can impact any part of the body, even remote to the site where the stress actually resides.
Last week, I attended the IDEA World Fitness Convention in Los Angeles. 12000 attendees from 50 countries – a world-wide event indeed. I have to credit IDEA with making me the trainer I am today. Being exposed to the best in the industry, learning the latest trends and getting inspired be presenters and fellow trainers brings out the best in us. My focus in this year’s conference was a mix of Barre and corrective exercise.
In the past, I have been a sceptic whenever somebody brought up the issue of online personal training. It seemed a contradiction in terms to me. Yet, I now find myself giving it serious consideration, and I need to explain what brought on this transformation.
By North Carolina standards, we had a lot of snow and ice during the last 2 weeks. Since snow is not necessarily an annual occurrence in this neck of the woods, the activity of snow shoveling is not often practiced. The terms ‘functional fitness’ and ‘functional training’ have been thrown around a lot over the last decade, and quite rightly so. Sitting on a machine and pushing or pulling a weight stack in the only direction the machine allows can build strength in that one movement pattern, but rarely translates into the real world.
The idea of using pressure and friction on the human body for health and relaxation is not new. Massage was prevalant in the time of the Roman empire: if you went to the baths it would be common to have a body rub in addition to the hot and cold tubs. The Greeks as well had it, and before them the Egyptians and the Chinese, and the Indians. There are even some European cave paintings that suggest massage may date back thousands of years earlier. So the practices and the understanding of their benefits predate a lot of our modern medical science.
I love to study and to learn. Recently, I have focused more and more on corrective exercises in the quest to restore ideal alignment and posture and to help people get out of chronic pain as a result of those misalignments.
As a MELT instructor for almost 5 years, the subject of ‘fascia’ (sometimes also referred to as connective tissue) has been of great interest to me. I have witnessed firsthand the effects the MELT techniques have on my students, whether they are in my classes as one of many or get instructions from me one-on-one. Yes, I had very few people over those years that I could not reach with MELT but I would put this number no higher that 1 out of 100.