Fascia is a connective tissue that infuses every cell of our body. Although fascia can be divided into classifications, the level most studied and known about are the myofascial layers that infuse every muscle in the human body. It’s easily preserved and dissected anatomically and has been studied for over a century. However, beyond the myofascia, the ligamentous formations, and tendon attachments, the remaining fascial network is only recently discussed.
What is the world coming to? There is a recent immersion of outdated theories arising where people are seriously touting the idea that you have to “mash” and “squash” your fascia to aid in improved performance.
Let’s leave the mashing and squashing to potatoes and bugs. Why mash and squash your own body? Why would we have to beat our bodies to submission to make it do what we want it to do? Just FYI, we are not at war with our body and if you treat it that way, well, you will have a revolt anyway you cut it.
This is the first weekend since June that I have been in my own home. My June and July travel destinations spanned across the US and into Canada. I have so many things to share, so many experiences and information I want to write about I am not sure where to begin. Amazingly, my cats still seem to love me and spent Saturday with me as I worked to catch up with lots of business things and personal life.
Do you suffer from chronic pain? We have all experienced acute trauma in some way or other. Bumping your head on a cabinet, missing a step, slipping on ice, falling, tripping, getting hit by an object, cutting a finger… acute trauma is tough to avoid. Like my mom always says, “Accidents happen, that’s why they call them accidents. You don’t know they are coming so you can’t really avoid them.”
Today, for the very first time on national television, human fascia from a living body will be viewed by all that tune in on the Dr. Oz show. I’ve been very privileged to be a part of a growing network of “fascianatos” – people desiring to understand how the human body sustains its integrity, longevity, and overall good health. Science is just scratching the surface to explain this relatively unstudied element of the human body – fascia.
In most dissections, cadavers are embalmed. This leaves those of us looking to view the cadaver as a model infinite time to slowly move through the landscape of the human form.
I admit it. I am a bit obsessed with fascia. That's not really accurate. It's more than fascia, in fact, it's not fascia as it is defined in text today that I am intrigued with. I am curious and well versed in the connective tissue system and the collagen matrix that architecturally, psychically, and mechanically supports, protects, and keeps us stable over our lifetime.
When you are old and gray, losing your grip seems like part of the process of aging. Arthritis, joint swelling, and a loss of strength seem like "normal" events we all will have to endure as we age.
But what happens when, due to an accident, repetitive stress, or some other issue you actually lose your hand strength? No signs of arthritis, no joint swelling, no clear signs or things to blame, just a sudden lack of hand strength.
It happened to me once upon a time. When I was in the midst of developing MELT and the techniques I use on the soft MELT Roller my practice exploded. I went from seeing 30 people a year to well over 300, I woke up one morning and went to grab a glass from my pantry and the glass nearly slipped from my hand. When I went to make a fist, I realized I simply couldn't.
That was where the hand treatment became part of the MELT treatment. The last thing I developed in the MELT Techniques has become quite a staple for me and many others. It just takes a few minutes a day and what's cool about it is you gain immediate changes in upper body strength.
I worked with a bodybuilder who said he couldn't benchpress as heavy any longer because his shoulder felt weak and his thumb hurt to grip the bar. I had him do a one rep max and then took him aside for 10 minutes and did some MELTing on his hands and forearms. We went back to the bar and when he lifted it up, he immediately put the bar back on the rack. I said, "Are you okay?" He looked at the bar and the weights stacked on each side and said, "The bar actually feels lighter. I thought maybe someone took a plate off." He then got back into his position and did not one but three reps of the same weight. When he sat up he said, "Where do I get those balls? They are like freaking magic." I am sure the grin on my face was the easiest sign of satisfaction I could have shown.
Most people don't know they have even lost their grip until I point it out to them. Using the soft MELT Treatment ball, a basic assessment techniques is a Grip Test. Squeeze the ball in one hand and assess the grip. Whatever the grip feels like, call that a "5" then in the other hand, squeeze the ball. Is the grip the same or is it like a "3" or an "7"? Notice if you have lost the strength of your grip. You might be surprised that your non-dominant hand feels "stronger"! What's compelling is that grip has less to do with which hand you write with and more to do with the nerves that travel from your cervical spine to your hands. If we sit in slumped postures at a computer desk all day, the cervical spine can compress the nerves that innervate grip to the hand. Sustain those postures and you can lose your grip. Let that persist and guess what? You get inflammation in your hands and ultimately that can lead to arthritis.
The MELT Hand Treatment is simple. It take about 5-8 minutes a day to treat your hands and bring vital fluids back to your neck where some of the underlying cause really is. There are 5 simple techniques you can even do at your desk while you are at work. Consider coming to a MELT Class or Event and TRY THE MELT HAND TREATMENT!!! Like the title says, "Get a Grip!" Or better yet, never lose it. You need it!
Okay, okay I admit I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to all this fascia stuff. But hey, you have to be curious about something.
Over the past 4 years I've been told I have to simplify all the stuff in my head so people will understand what it is that I know is of the utmost importance. Debbie who helped me write the book "The MELT Method" coming out April 2012 with Harper Collins has even told me not to mention the molecular components of fascia in my teacher trainings as it confuses participants and makes them think they need to know this stuff to teach MELT. They don't need to know all of the ins and outs of fascia to teach MELT, that's true but this stuff is interesting and to me at least... cool.