Fascia: the mask you live in
Each and every one of us is covered in a thick, complex, tangled web of fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that sits under your skin and on top of your muscles. On anatomy diagrams, fascia looks like the off-white strings and planes that sit on top of or in lines up and down the muscles. It provides structure and support, helps transport nutrients, helps regulate nervous system function, helps keep you hydrated, helps you maintain a healthy youthful appearance to the skin, and much much more. Some forms of fascia are also known as “scar tissue” because it is considered fibrotic tissue.
In addition to the physiological roles fascia plays, fascia also keeps your secrets. It collects your memories. It remembers your joys, but largely it stores your traumas. It forces you to live in the pain of the past instead of being able to be present in the moment. Your fascia has kept a record of every time you misused your body, forcing it into bras and cinchers, too-tight jeans, or awkward shoes — and why you did so. It also remembers how often — and to which degree — you’ve smiled, laughed or cried, winced, squinted, questioned, tensed, quieted, forced, sat or walked. It’s the literal, tangible mind-body connection and it is the record keeper of you.
I’ve had clients ask me before, “I know everyone talks about a mind-body connection but I just can’t visualize it. How does it all connect?” I tell them the mind-body connection is the fascia, the connective tissue. Not only can you feel it under your skin with your fingers, you can also see it with the naked eye — constriction or restriction, bulges, tightness, thick skin/”big boned”, cellulite, crepey skin, and asymmetry are all likely fascial distortions. Don’t get me wrong — we need fascia. It is an integral system and structure of the human body and some kinds even support your organs. But most of the obvious fascia people are carrying around these days is full of adhesions, or thickened, jumbled, tangled fascia resultant from trauma to the area (such as accident or surgery), improper use of the area (or surrounding areas), improper diet, dehydration, infection, and in rare cases certain genetic conditions.
It’s like we become covered in scar tissue of our own making. Let me explain. Let’s say you have an inhibitory throat response such as choosing not to speak, holding back tears, being fearful of making noise or “rocking the boat”. Well, as a result, the surrounding structures (nearby muscles, joints, tendons, etc.) will be used improperly because of the tension. Over time, this physical response becomes your go-to pattern. After years of making those dysfunctional movements, you create asymmetry that changes your fascia, which changes your appearance. It’s a way for your body to compensate and provide structure or balance in the midst of dysfunction. In theory, the more fascial adhesions (jumbled, dysfunctional fascia) you have, the greater the challenges you have faced. Or, the greater the adhesions in a certain area of your body, the greater challenges to that area, both physically and spiritually.
Fascia is the mask we all live in. And fascia never lies because you created it.
In the case of hypothyroidism, you may notice “thickened” skin around your neck but especially near your thyroid or voice box area. If you try to gently pinch your skin but cannot grab a very small amount — getting only large thickened chunks — it is indicative of fascial adhesions. You should be able to grab just the epidermis layer of your skin without too much resistance from the dermis.
Sure you might have plenty of fascial adhesions on your neck area and be hypothyroid, but how do the fascial adhesions affect, say, your actual thyroid gland? Well, on the surface of the thyroid is a substance called thyroglobulin. It is a protein precursor of thyroid hormone and acts to collect nutrients (such as iodine and tyrosine) from your blood stream and store them on the surface of the thyroid gland. That way, your body readily has nutrients available to it any time it needs to make thyroid hormone. But now imagine on top of your thyroid/thyroglobulin, you have a thick mesh strangling the area, cutting off blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients from entering the area — or only entering very slowly. Suddenly you have a thyroid crisis because that vital gland is not able to receive what it needs to function optimally. Mind-body connection. Now imagine this happening all over your body.
It gets tricky because fascial adhesions can also extend to other related areas in order to compensate. You see, fascia is like a spider-web sheath covering your entire body from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. It’s all connected so the neck fascia you’ve created from holding back your thoughts or emotions, which is now choking your thyroid gland, then works it way up and extends to the sides of the neck, to your cheeks and face to create the classic hypothyroid “puffy face”, and over the shoulders, creating a thickening there too. Dowager’s Hump or myxedema can develop. And on it goes.
With fascia it goes like this:
your experiences cause you to generate thoughts/feelings
your thoughts/feelings create your reality
your reality determines how you are allowed to, are encouraged to, or want to move your body
how you move your body determines which areas develop fascial adhesions
therefore, the areas that contain the most adhesions are the areas where there is a core wound or life lesson that needs to be resolved
I try to infuse most assertions I make to you with an anecdotal story to back it up. I want you to see that the information I share with you isn’t about getting likes, recycling outdated information, repeating the same things everyone else is telling you, etc. I want to share new and innovative information that is affecting you but that you might not have heard before. I share this information with you because it changed my life so dramatically for the better, and I have seen it do the same for my clients. But it’s still hidden. So here’s the story about why I “got into” fascia and why I believe this is the next biggest thing you should know about, if you’re not already intrigued:
I was diagnosed with a “mild” scoliosis in 1997 — a lower-back curvature. I don’t remember the curvature degree at the time of diagnosis (or that anyone even measured it because I was diagnosed by a school nurse), but about 4 years ago, according to an x-ray done by a chiropractor, it was at 24 or 22 degrees. As a child and young adult, I woke up every few nights with spasms in my lower back that startled me awake and gave me nightmares. My back would consistently “go out” and I felt pressure, couldn’t bend in certain ways, and was in aching pain most days. I went to chiropractors on and off over the years since being a teenager and even did some physical therapy and massage, and saw a podiatrist to try to help my back. Though they provided temporary relief, I would always end up feeling the same as before a few days after appointments.
Then after my daughter was born in 2012, I suffered a near month-to-month string of slipped discs. It went on like this for a couple of years — going to the chiropractor in hopes I wouldn’t re-injure myself, using a decompression table to get the discs to go back into place without surgery (it worked thankfully), trying to stretch and exercise, etc. But nothing really seemed to improve my back issues and pain. Then one day I stumbled upon information about fascia. It was a video of an expert talking about the role of fascia in our health and appearance. I was so intrigued at the idea of using myofascial release to overcome my pain that I started immediately.
I have been using myofascial release (MFR) for over two years now. For me, it has been an absolute miracle. First, I haven’t had a slipped disc or rib go out of place since using MFR. More importantly though, I have had three chiropractors tell me they can no longer see a scoliosis curvature in my spine. Meaning, I reversed my scoliosis. I’m not saying this is possible every time. What I am saying is that no one had ever offered me another option to help my back pain and no one offered any good answers for why it developed in the first place. I learned that my scoliosis was considered “functional” meaning it could be traced back to something and, therefore, potentially corrected. I believe this is true for many modern health conditions.
That is the power of unraveling your fascia. It’s like a way to work backwards and confront every challenge you’ve stored in your body head on. As you use MFR, your fears and insecurities rise to the surface, the lies and cover-ups rise to the surface, and your true power starts to rise as you let go of the trauma. As an Intuitive, I operate through waves of insight that come to me, well, intuitively, as well as through reading and observation. This was the case with my foray into fascia: I learned the information, applied it and observed the effects, then it just “came” to me: the fascia is the record of your mind-body connection and we’re covered in fascial masks to hide or compensate for the trauma.
As each fascial layer was peeled away, I was left with questions. Myofascial release on my feet caused my pelvis to flip up and out. I had been walking with my tail literally between my legs for decades. Why had I felt the need to do that? In order to hide. Why did I feel the need to hide? Because of learning disabilities, un-supportive environments, fear of being seen for fear of punishment, extreme religious oppression, etc. You see, fascia holds the answers but you have to ask yourself the questions. Once you start asking the questions, you then begin the process of testing your subconscious mind to see which answer is correct. Once you find the correct answer, you release the emotional attachment or stress response to the corresponding wound. That is how you know it is true. In the process of MFR, you may also clear up stagnant lymph, restricted blood flow, saggy or unhealthy looking skin, trim inches, reduce pain, and have wide range of mobility again. Mind-body connection.
You deserve to know about yourself first and foremost because self-awareness brings healing. You are so unique that no one-sized-fits-all approach will ever work. Think of your fascia like a soul blueprint. It helps to gently illuminate what your fears or weaknesses are in order to improve yourself, helps you get out of the trauma by identifying the toxic cycles in your life, it tells us about the state of your physical health, and once released, it helps you move onto a healthy future instead of clinging to the pain of the past without realizing it.
First, know that there are ways to smooth out the fascia and restore it to its proper function and appearance. Myofascial release, proper hydration (which is about way more than water), essential nutrients for collagen health, liver and lymph support, acupuncture, and more. I come at this from an informational standpoint. I educate my clients on the issues they’re facing then what they can do about it. But there are plenty of ways to do this yourself or with a trained professional. Dysfunctional fascia does not have to be a life sentence.
Secondly, know that it’s a long process. Imagine decades of your body layering adhesion ontop of adhesion. The process of breaking this down can take years in some cases. So do not get discouraged. Also, will you likely experience detox symptoms physically and emotionally as you retrace the dysfunction, much like a game of connect the dots. But as I always say, if you want to heal, it is worth it and the only way past it is through it. Once you acknowledge what has not worked, you can release it both emotionally and physically in order to get to the root of who you really are without trauma and pain on your body or in your mind.
If you are interested in learning about your unique fascial adhesions, core wounds, and life lessons, please read about Body Readings.