'Releasing' Fascia: Part 2
By Marty Morales
If you haven’t read “Releasing Fascia Part 1”, please give it a read to get the full picture.
In the first article, I laid out some really important questions regarding the work we perceive we’re doing relating to fascia. I think it’s necessary to accept the possibility that the bodywork you think you may be doing, may not actually be what you’re doing. I repeat: It’s very possible the results you’re getting could be from something else other than the work you’re doing. The reason I’m saying this is because: If we follow the scientific method there’s no way to actually prove what we think we’re doing.
In my work I’m very open to accepting this fact. When I work, I have to ‘release’ the idea that the results I achieved may be due to what I think I’m working/focusing on. In effect, in order to grow as a bodyworker, we need to ‘release’ our dogmas.
One thing that’s interesting to me is when bodyworkers use a concept of ‘lines’ in the body and rather than thinking of them as abstract, functional lines they accept them as actual physical lines existing in the body.
A very well-known instructor once said that ‘dissection is a construct of the ego’. This quote can be used to understand the possibility that the lines you think exist in the body are actually a concept that mostly exists in the mind of the bodyworker and come to light after the anatomist does their work with the scalpel.
I don’t think that seeing lines in the body is a bad thing. In my Structural Integration training programs, I teach seeing the body moving in relations to ‘planes’ within the context of movement. Seeing these lines is a good guide that can help us to create a strategy. I do however understand that these lines/planes are functional lines, not physical anatomical lines.
But Marty? I’ve seen dissection classes where these ‘fascial lines’ are dissected and sliced up right before my eyes! They’ve been proven!
Yes, that’s a neat skill. But that line didn’t exist in the body until the anatomist actually made it with their scalpel. I would equate it to seeing a shrub that is untrimmed and a shrub that has been trimmed in a certain shape (imagine, a shrub trimmed to look like a doggie!).
The shape wasn’t there/didn’t exist until someone came along to cut the shrub to look like a certain shape. Therefore, we can’t say that all untrimmed shrubs are just doggies waiting to be revealed! The same holds true with ‘fascial lines.’ In fact, it’s very likely that not every cadaver exhibits the same ‘fascial lines.’ We haven’t even broached the subject of these fascial lines only being able to be seen on cadavers and not live bodies, but that’s topic for another article.
Yes, there are parts of the body where the fascia is thicker than other parts and if you cut those away you’re left with a ‘line’ but that still doesn’t mean we will all follow that thickening line as a way of movement. We all move slightly differently. The bodyworker needs to accept that and adapt their work to the client, not the other way around.
And again, even if a client did in fact have restrictions along a tensional ‘fascial line’ we still can’t say that working that ‘line’ is exactly what the client needs. Again, we must adapt our work to the client if we’re serious about our goals.
As you can tell, there is so much that can be discussed on this topic, we’re barely scratching the surface here, but I hope this helps us really look deeper into what we’re doing and looking at these concepts with a much more critical eye.
Learn more about our approach to fascia and Structural Integration in our Structural Integration - Theory and Gait Assessment online course.