As a beginning student of Structural Integration, working with the body’s connective tissue and fascia was confusing to me. In all my past studies, I had been trained to think in terms of muscles and bones, and suddenly I was being asked to think about connective tissue and fascia.
I had no idea that fascia could be separate from muscles and bones, or that it forms three-dimensional envelopes and that it surrounds the entire body like a jumpsuit. So, I kept trying to think about it as a simple ‘glue’ and imagining how releasing adhesion between fascial layers affected individual muscles. I did not – and for a long time could not – see or feel fascia as surrounding envelopes with their own mobility and integrity. And I had no idea that it was weight bearing, becomes denser and less mobile under load, and is a structural component in its own right.
Fascia basically feels like plastic shrink wrapping, especially where it surrounds the bones of the lower legs and feet. The fascial layers of the shins and feet wrap the lower legs and feet in a plastic-like ‘stocking’ which will conform to the alignment and weight bearing loads of the entire body. It is the interrelationship of these thin, dense fascial stockings to the thin, dense fascial envelopes surrounding the upper legs, pelvis, back and upper body that is the real focus of fascial work on the shins and feet.
To understand fascia is see and to feel it as a whole-body matrix. And to see that your work in one area of the body is affecting the structural and fascial matrix of the entire body!
Dr. Rolf would often say to students, ‘Where it is, it isn’t.’ And I think I’m finally beginning to understand what she meant by that and how true this is.