ball therapy, yoga and back pain…
Long forgotten by anatomists, fascias are now being brought to the forefront to relieve many chronic pains or lack of physical mobility, and are now considered a connective tissue system in their own right. But what is it? Discover in this article 3 techniques to work on your fascias. We will call them fasciatherapy massage exercises:
Connective tissues present throughout the body
If you eat meat, you’ve probably seen that whitish skin around chicken for example. This is a fascia! And that’s how we know fascias, as the membrane of cells that covers the organs. In fact, fascia, also called connective tissue, is the set of tissues that envelops the majority of the body’s structures: muscles, nerves, bones, blood vessels.
Connective tissues that both separate and connect:
But if the fascias separate, they connect all these tissue structures together at the same time. At the muscle level, for example, each fiber is wrapped in fascia.
The fascias “run” through the muscle like a spider web and meet at the end to form the tendons that attach the muscle to the bone.
Did I lose you? Ok so imagine an orange: Each piece of pulp is wrapped, each orange wedge is also surrounded by its membrane and all the wedges are wrapped in the main skin.
The fascia changes density, function and name according to the tissue structures, organs and joints it covers. The structure that connects the bone to the tendon, called the periosteum, is also a form of fascia, as are the ligaments that connect the bones together. In fact, every element is fascia. That’s how much is at stake for anatomists!
A densely innervated network of gel-fibers that forms our soft skeleton
In fact, the fascias are a kind of net of collagen and water fibers that allows everything to stay in its place, but also allows the different components and elements of the body to slide smoothly against each other.
The more fluid and healthy these connective tissues are, the easier the movement. On the other hand, the more rigid they are, the more imbalances and tensions are likely to appear: Joint problems, mobility problems as well as muscular pain (lumbago, tendonitis, stiffness…) can find their origin, at least in part, in these fascias. But also digestion problems, aging, sleep alteration, stress… They have a big role to play in your health.
Yin Yoga and Balls Therapy!
The general public is hearing more and more about these connective tissues, especially athletes, and this renewed general interest is timely, since there are now multiple ways to take care of them: either by osteopathic work or by practicing anatomy independently. Finally a solution to take the patient’s pain seriously.
The idea is to rehydrate its connective tissue. And I often say in class to my students “if I throw a glass of water in your face, will you have drunk?”, well it’s the same with the fascias. Drinking water is not enough, here we must use the image of the sponge that we must wring out so that it can absorb liquid again. So we are going to press, stretch these fascias to obtain the “rebound effect”: This is the moment when our connective tissues rehydrate.
To take care of your hair, you occasionally go to your hairdresser and daily you wash and comb it. For its connective tissues, it is the same: The fascia therapists, osteopaths and Rolfers with their various manual therapies come to bring a specific care, and in the daily life you can pamper your fascias with the Yin Yoga, the foam roller or the Balls Therapy .
As opposed to the more active “yang” yoga, where the emphasis is on muscle work, yin yoga focuses on the connective tissue. Hence the need to stay longer (often several minutes) in each pose, in order to give time to the tendons, joints, ligaments and fascias, less irrigated than the muscles, to feel the stretching of their envelope.
Personally, I combine Yin Yoga with Balls Therapy in my classes, which consists of placing balls in strategic places to obtain a myofascial release. What I love about these classes is that I try to empower my students, I show them what they can do on their own at home.
Discover 3 fasciatherapy exercises explained by Carine below.
1- Myo-Fascial Release (MFR) of the arch of the foot:
- With a specific ball, or a tennis ball, we will exert pressure points in the arch and then massage it.
- It may not be pleasant, I hear my students talk about “sweet pain, but we try to hold it for 1 minute minimum.
- I invite you to do a test, and do only one foot and then lean forward to feel the difference in the body with the side massaged and the other side, it will surprise many.
- If I have explained it well, you must have understood that since everything is linked, you can obtain an improvement in the flexibility of the legs or the back by relaxing the arch of the foot.
2- Yin stretching of the arch of the foot
- We come to hook his toes in the carpet and sit on his heels.
- If it’s too intense, the body weight will be carried forward, on the contrary, if we want to intensify the stretching, we will go a little further back.
- This posture can be very painful for many people.
- If this is the case, don’t try it and if necessary place a folded blanket under your feet to cushion your feet a bit.
A tip: practicing this position for several days in a row will lead to rapid and impressive progress, you will have less and less pain.
3- RMF OCCIPITAL JOINT :
- Place the ball in the hollow of the neck, at the level of the neck/crane junction,
- then place the ball on a block
- and lie down on it.
- With your head, make little “no” and “yes” sounds.
- After one minute, the ball and block are removed.
The bounce effect is pretty powerful in this one, a big favorite of my students.
This exercise will easily replace occasional osteopathic work and will also make you autonomous in the management of your health.
In conclusion, the discovery of fasciatherapy is extraordinary when you are a patient who is used to going for osteopathy on a regular basis, especially since all mutual insurance companies do not reimburse this type of care, or reimburse it only slightly. If you are experiencing chronic pain or various aches and pains on a recurring basis, adopting these exercises into your sports or yoga practice can truly improve your life and play a decisive role in your health. It is also very pleasant to be one’s own patient: it changes the whole approach of care that one has towards oneself. You also become your own osteopath and will be able to give yourself massages whenever you feel the need. Regular, even daily, work on the tissue elements: your joints, your organs and your cells will considerably improve your mobility. Discover this exciting book on anatomy . (See also all our Yoga books ).
Follow Carine on Instagram: @happy_and_yoga