'Releasing' Fascia: Part 1
By Marty Morales
Well, here we go. I’ve been threatening to write this post for the better part of a year and after seeing the amount of conferences, magazines, and webinars that have sprung up lately all about fascia, I feel compelled to step up and share some food for thought on the topic.
At one point, I was a massage therapist. And then, I became a Certified Rolfer™. It was at this time that I fully drank the Kool-Aid on the fascia dogma. In my beginning Rolfer™ days, I was fully convinced that I was working fascia (or manipulating fascia, or releasing fascia, etc.) I was sure that any results I was getting in my sessions were a result of what was happening to the fascia. I believed my peers when they said they could feel the ‘fascial lines’ that resided in the body.
It took a few years out on my own to see it differently. I remember having returned from a continuing education workshop that taught a wholly different modality and approach (I won’t name names to protect the innocent) and I distinctly remember sinking my elbow into the leg of one of my clients soon after this workshop and the thought came to me, “What exactly am I doing? What exactly am I working on? Other practitioners who believe they’re working muscle/nervous system/fill in the blank of whatever other system exists in the body are also getting results. What gives??”
It was then that I started to talk to teachers of other modalities, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors to see what they thought (Wilhelm, et al.). They rocked my world and blew up the foundation of most of my thinking as it related to what I thought I was doing at the time. I had to scrap the paradigm I was given in my training and rebuild to come up with different conclusions.
Now, I don’t believe that I should tell you what conclusions I came up with. By doing so, I would just make some folks replace one dogma with another. I do, however, want to share a few questions that I initially asked myself. The answers to these questions are for you and you alone to meditate on.
You’ve read/been told studies about how Fascia responds to certain stimuli. As a bodyworker, how sure are you that that is exactly what’s happening in the body you’re working on?
How certain are you that results you noticed in the body you’re working on are solely due to fascia and not to another system or combination of systems in your client’s body?
Is it possible to isolate the work you think you’re doing on fascia? If not, how is it possible to isolate the results?
How certain are you that what you’re doing when you’re doing bodywork is permanently affecting the fascia?
If you’re aware that other systems in the body can be stimulated (or worked) and these systems (such as muscle for example) can be responsible for the results you’ve obtained, why do you continue to call your work fascial work?
At this point the questions start to beat on the same drum so I’ll stop there. Really, it only takes one of these questions to crack the façade of the fascia dogma. There’s more that I can say but let’s start here and we can always do a ‘Releasing’ Fascia part two! You can also learn more about the Morales Method approach to SI (including our thoughts on fascia) in our Structural Integration - Theory and Gait Assessment online course. We would love to hear what you think, so let us know by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.