Ever heard of muscle fascia?
Muscle fascia is a series of connective tissue (made of collagen) that is present throughout the entire body. This is actually one of the most useful things I’ve learnt about during my studies here in Australia.
In short, muscle fascia consists of several continuous lines running from head to toe, wrapping around and encapsulating all of our muscles, just like glad wrap. It keeps our body upright, stacking muscles one on top of the other.
Through these fascia lines, upper body muscles are connected to our lower body ones, meaning that a problem at the foot level could well be leading to pain in our upper body (or vice-versa) due to its impact on the specific fascia line.
This is exactly where the importance of massage comes in, something which is often naively overlooked by us fitness enthusiasts, including myself. One of the primary benefits of massage is in fact ironing out this fascia to release tension and knots from various muscles which are wrapped within. Which leads me to foam rollers…
Foam rollers are a great way to self-massage our body, which actually means we can self-heal. Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend an informative workshop by Personal Training Academy, the institute where I’m doing my Personal Trainer course, on the use of the new generation of foam rollers, also known as trigger point foam rollers. These cool “toys” mimic the feeling of a massage therapist’s hands on muscle fascia and are used by many leading athletes and sports teams around the world.
I was amazed by how effective and quick this tool is in relieving a few chronic pains I’ve been having over the past months.
The takeaway from this post for you guys is hence threefold:
a) Muscle pain may well be related to tightness in the muscle fascia rather than the muscle itself. In this case it would be useless to religiously apply anti-inflammatory gel to your muscles. Instead focus on ways to release the muscle fascia, including a foam roller.
b) Getting hold of a foam roller and performing regular short work with it (equally effective as part of warmup or cooldown) will reduce instances of injuries and frustrating pains. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles, releasing knots and assisting in returning your aching muscles to normal function.
c) Last but not least: never stop learning!
To fitness with love,