January 11, 2023

Fascia and Principles of Osteopathy

Fascia and principles of osteopathy are intricately entwined. Treatment of the body’s fascial system is at the core of Jeffrey Russell’s practice of manual medicine. A brief overview of fascia, its function, and its role in health follows.

Fascia is a membranous ‘envelope’ of connective tissue that lies just under the skin. It encases every part of the body, and so connects every part of us. Fascia stabilizes the body, giving it a cohesive structure. It “holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place” (1)

The fascia is also where the body’s circulatory system meets the nervous system. Blood vessels from the heart and throughout the vascular system follow the framework of the fascial network. Therefore, when fascia becomes restricted, dysfunction and pain occur. Because of the system-wide connectedness, restriction in one area of the body may result in pain in another. (2)

Fascia is a highly sensitive tissue, almost as reactive as skin, and it can easily be affected with gentle touch. Research has found that this connective tissue is far more pervasive in the body than conceptualized for many years. Now we know that it permeates human anatomy, also surrounding every cell, nerve, joint, tissue, tendon and ligament in the body.

Some of the functions this connective tissue performs are that it keeps muscles intact, and allows them to contract, stretch and relax. It also allows internal body parts to safely co-exist and move in close proximity without creating friction and damage between them. Fascia helps ease body tension by separating muscles and it contributes significantly to the efficiency of the circulatory system. Additionally, it helps provide joint stability and bodily movement. Therefore, working with fascia therapeutically is a way of working with the whole body. Each targeted area is connected to the whole of our anatomy. (3) 

Osteopathic principles inform Jeffrey’s practice. These are:

  • The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.

(No single part of the body is independent from any of the others. All are interconnected and any dysfunction in one area affects the whole).

  • The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.

(The body is innately self-healing. Blockages in that process are addressed in manual medicine through work with the fascia).

  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.

(The structure of a body part governs its function. Consequently, abnormal structure causes dysfunction and inhibits self-healing).

  • Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.

(These osteopathic principles apply in all aspects of sustaining health, and disease prevention and treatment). (4)

To schedule with Jeffrey, phone or text at 502 299-8900.

Texts are always more convenient and answered more promptly.

Related Posts