THE 4 PROPERTIES OF FASCIA
Did you know that viscosity, plasticity, elasticity and remodeling for fascial tissue can be programmed? In fact, in order to create effective and efficient movement we have to ask ourselves “what needs upgrading?”
Upon assessment we can see our client’s motion and their ability to control motion. Then we ask what movements do they need in life and sport? Is the movement fast or slow? What forces are involved? After asking these questions, we can look at the properties of fascia and begin to understand how we might program movements.
Viscosity is the state of being thick, sticky, and semi-fluid in consistency, due to internal friction. Did you catch that? “Semi-fluid”! In fact the fascia goes from a fluid like state to a solid like state in an instant. For example, feel the palm of your hand at your thumb area. Feels soft and squishy right? Now imagine catching a really fast baseball being thrown at you. The fascia becomes solid and reacts on impact.
This viscosity of your fascia reacts to speed and impact, and it happens within milli-seconds. It’s explosive in nature and goes from a fluid-like substance to a gel like substance. This property can be trained by moving explosively!
The fascia is also elastic in nature. It has stored energy, much like a stretched rubber band. It is the ability for the tissue to load and lengthen and then explode. The elasticity of our fascia is time-sensitive. In order to access this stored energy it has to happen quickly, or approximately 0.8 -1.2 seconds.
to train the elasticity of our fascia, think fast movements like plyometrics, medicine ball drills, and forefoot running. This is about selecting movements the client needs in their life/sport and performing them with speed and quality.
Your fascia also demonstrates plasticity, which can be considered a combination of viscosity and elasticity. This plastic quality means it can be deformed or take a new shape. Imagine you have a plastic grocery bag, and grab a small piece in your right and left hand, and begin to slowly pull those pieces apart from each other. Once you release the pieces you will see that the bag has stretched, and it does not return to its original position.
The plastic nature of our fascia responds to slow and gradual pressure. In order to deform or take a new shape, the tissue needs consistent length and tension. Think minutes, with gradual, sustained pressure. Training this property requires 48-72 hours to repair, and can be done with techniques like deep stretch, self-myofascial release, and manual massage.
Fascia rebuilds and repairs by hydrogen bonding, one at a time. This is in response to trauma, damage, tears, sprains, or breaks.
To enhance the remodeling of our fascia, the tissue needs healthy and variable loading; through various positions, patterns, and loads. “Motion is lotion”, and motion in the right amounts and directions helps to keep the tissues healthy and on the path to remodeling. In order to train this property it can take days, weeks, months.
CONNECT THE DOTS
When we understand the properties of our fascial tissues, and connect them to the goals, wants and needs of our clients we can create programs for effective and efficient movement that lead to sustainability & resiliency.
LEARN MORE WITH PIVOTAL
Did this blog spark your interest? We invite you to dive in deeper, into our Anatomy in Motion online course.
In this course you will gain a unique understanding of functional anatomy, as you dive deep into the fascial web and its properties. Expanding your understanding of how myofascial lines and chain reactions work together to create global human function. Explore ways in which you can program movements to load the various lines and chain reactions for the purpose and capacity of your clients.