How does stress & trauma/illness affect our fascia (and how Pilates can help)

Fascia is specialised system that covers and penetrates the bones, muscles, veins & arteries along with all of the organs in our body. It is partly made of collagen and has the appearance of a Spider's web.

The fascia links all parts of the body together, and helps it to move. When the fascia is healthy, it is able to help the muscles and joints move with ease and allows good range of mobility , but chronic stress, trauma and surgery can all affect its function. These factors can cause fascia to become thick and stiff and lose its pliability.

If you have suffered emotional trauma, illness or an accident then the effect on your fascia will not show up on a scan or x-ray. Many people who are experiencing pain and discomfort in their body may actually be restricted in their fascia. When we cannot move or stabilise as well, our emotional stress can increase and the cycle continues which can lead to an unhappy time.

Symptoms of fascial restriction include;

Reduced range of movement in a joint

Pain when touched on a pressure point/trigger point

Weakness in a muscle/joint

Feeling of tenderness in an area of the body

Fascia is very complex. It can pick up habitual movements such as how we walk or pick things up. Remember this when you are attempting to return to training after an injury. If you limp as you get back into running, the fascia will respond to your new mechanics and 'assist' accordingly. You may find that you continue to limp long after your injury has healed. By taking the time to heal properly, and adding some variety into your movement (Pilates is an excellent form of movement) you will add strength and condition to your fascia. New healthy habits will be formed and this is how your muscles and joints and posture are improved.

Pilates involves moving and stretching your muscles in lots of different positions. As Pilates is a mindful movement class, your breath and the calm execution of the exercises allow the fascia to move easily, without shocking it whilst teaching you how to perfect the movement and form new patterns. The multi dimensional stretches during Pilates affects the fascia in such a positive way that conventional stretching doesn't. The feeling you get from attending a class, that release of stress and tension and the mental boost - is likely coming from the release of your fascia!

I am looking forward to offering outdoor classes in Darlington and surrounding areas. Follow my 'Helen Dixon Pilates' Facebook & Instagram pages for updates on a return to indoor Pilates classes. I teach in Darlington, Neasham, Hurworth & Northallerton. There are new classes opening up soon in Croft On Tees. Classes are open to Beginners and those who have practised Pilates before. I will also be adding a High Intensity Pilates class to the Online and Face to Face timetable - Perfect to add a cardio element to your movement routine!

Get in touch if you would like to join one of my Pilates Online classes or to express an interest in any of the outdoor/face to face classes.

If you would like to learn more about the fascia;

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