What do bad posture, uneven body symmetry, poor mobility, lack of flexibility, feeling weak/tired, and cellulite all have in common? They're all symptoms of unhealthy fascia!
Since hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and messages aren’t accessible for everyone, we thought it would be a great time to pass along some tips to keep your fascia healthy.
What is Fascia? Fascia (Latin for "band") is tough, stretchy and encompasses all muscles and internal organs. Fascia keeps everything in our body where it belongs. However, we often overlook fascia as something we need to consciously take care of. Athletes have blamed tight fascia for lack of flexibility, weakness, and poor performance. Now, cutting-edge doctors are pointing to unhealthy fascia for more and more issues from poor posture, to cellulite.
Below are some tips to keep fascial tissue functioning properly.
Have you ever had someone walk up behind you and rub your traps and neck, and exclaim how tight and stressed you feel? Stress causes fascia tissue to become tight and irritated. A lot can be written about stress mitigation but here are the basics:
Do activities that engage the parasympathetic nervous system like taking CBD, sleeping, meditating, yoga, a float tank, a light bike ride or jog, deep sleep, and nature walks. I won’t expound on the autonomic nervous system in this email, but it is imperative to take action to consciously transfer your body from the sympathetic nervous system into the parasympathetic nervous system. Yin and Yang, zig and zag, you get the picture..
Diet Understanding the enteric nervous system can greatly reduce stress as well. The enteric nervous system, commonly known as the “second brain,” is responsible for digestion. There are hundreds of millions of neurons keeping the brain and digestive system in communication. Follow your gut…gut reaction that is. Sometimes following your gut instinct isn’t far off from listening to your brain (although, I wouldn’t balance your checkbook with your gut!). Anyhow, this nervous system runs
from the esophagus to anus, taking care of our gastric system. When we stress out the enteric nervous system, it tells the central nervous system and stress, anxiety, and even depression ensue. How do we de-stress our enteric system? By eating and drinking healthy foods. I won’t go into diet tips to keep this email manageable, but there are a ton of resources out there. We strongly recommend that people with autoimmune issues do an allergy test just to make sure their “healthy food” isn’t fighting with their bodies…more on that in another email.
The human body is composed of 60% water. Fascia is a tough, stretchy band but if it is dehydrated, it becomes inflexible and gummy. Therefore, you become inflexible and prone to injury. The fascia should be supple and pliable, gliding and sliding over muscles. Drying it out gums up the connective tissues. When these tissues stick together the muscles cannot function properly, resulting in injury.
I won’t jump into the “how much water should you drink” debate, but here’s a little ratio that makes sense. Take your body weight in pounds, cut it in half and drink that amount of water in ounces per day. For example: I weigh (don’t judge) 240 lbs, so I drink 120 ounces per day or fifteen, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. There are 128 ounces in a gallon.
Here is the part of hydration we don’t want to hear: you can’t let yourself become chronically dehydrated and then drink a few glasses of water say, “all better!” Sorry folks. According to studies, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. The human body will “dry up” when we don’t hydrate properly. Think of the earth; the desert doesn’t take on a rainstorm and turn into a rainforest. That’s just a flash flood passing right over the hard-dry earth. It takes days to hydrate properly.
Don’t hydrate with sports drinks and electrolytes, although there is a place and time for that. If you are interested in electrolyte replenishment, do some research on sweat loss tests. However, consuming too much sodium can result in negative side effects. For purposes of everyday hydration, drink plain water.
Be patient. Get into a habit of drinking a lot of water and after a while (up to 60 days!) your whole body will notice the effects of true hydration. The benefits include: healthy looking skin, better smelling breath, more energy, weight loss, and a properly functioning digestive system.
Furthermore, the fascia doesn’t bounce back right away either. Untangling dehydrated connective tissue takes time and work. Once the fascia gets dry and gummed up you must do some work (myofascial release) to get it separated and gliding and sliding over the muscles properly again.
Part II-FASCIA- coming soon!