Connective Tissue Remodeling
“Just because we don’t understand some forces at play in our physiology, does not mean they have any less impact on us..” -Juan Disla
Take for example, Connective Tissue Remodeling. This is the reforming of our fascia in response to mechanical tensions placed on the body. Force vectors, the direction and magnitude of tensions, will play a big role here in determining how our body will change.
As we continue to learn more about Fascia, we can formulate better strategies in our training and better prioritize what we spend our time on. Fascia refers to the soft tissue component of the Connective Tissue System. Think of a 3 dimensional spider web of tension encasing all of our muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organ systems, holding them within the web. Hopefully in a good position…
There are many types of Fascia from the familiar Tendons and Ligaments, to the casing within individual muscles to the casing of groups of muscle. Fascia will unite the entire body and also create distinct pockets. Blood Vessels, Muscles, Nerves etc. will fill these pockets.
Fascia is involved in force transmission throughout the body. Thomas Myers describes significant lines of Fascia in Anatomy Trains relative to force transmission. The tension within our Fascia suspends our bones and organs, meaning Fascia gives us our form, our posture.
In stillness and especially in movement, posture tells us about the internal state of tension within the body. It tells us about the positioning of organs, about muscle recruitment, anchor points, orientation of bones, blood vessels, organs etc.
To a good extent, we have control over the mechanical stresses we encounter over our lives. We decide how to move, sit, train etc.. Let’s examine how we can benefit from being more intentional about these mechanical stressors.. There’s power in position.
Connective Tissue Remodeling is a process which occurs over an individual’s lifetime where Fascia is being remodeled to meet the demands of the environment. Fascia can be added or removed just like muscle and bone.
It can also become fixed in a certain direction, more viscous and stuck. We tend toward losing elasticity from becoming too flaccid or too tense. Our fascia becomes dehydrated and the lattice pattern more irregular. If this is the state of our Fascia, we will likely experience issues.
Fascia is responsive to mechanical stress. Collagen will be added along areas under higher mechanical tension, for example the shoulder of a baseball player’s throwing arm will have denser fascia compared to the non-throwing arm. This occurs with everything we do and depending on frequency, intensity and duration of stimulus, the body adapts.
Connective Tissue Remodeling produces visible changes in the bones which can be seen long after an individual’s death. Much of what we know about our ancestors comes from this bio-archeology.
In examining the bones of our Hunter-Gatherer Counterparts (the primal humans) we can see that they had greater bone density and stronger connections in the Fascia. This is in response to the rich variety of mechanical stresses they experienced, primarily walking and running.
We could call our posture the collective orientation of bones and organ systems inside our connective tissue. Considering Connective Tissue Remodeling we could also say that our posture is subject to changes over a lifetime depending on mechanical stresses. I would add that this occurs over generations as well and that we may be in danger of trending downwards, leaving future generations to correct our dysfunctions.
In our Tensegrity models we see how the compression pieces (bones) are held in place and moved by the tension of the elastic pieces (myofascia). Our posture is showing us the pre-tension in our structure.. The base tension of our structure in that moment trends us toward our standing posture.
Since we all have experienced different mechanical stresses, we all have different posture, different connections in our Fascia.. That said, there are common postural dysfunctions present throughout different cultures.
Whether it’s aches and pains or smooth moves..it has everything to do with these elastic pieces, your MyoFascia – muscles and soft tissue.
Injuries like the one I experienced will result in an altered structure. A reconfiguration of the elastic pieces as they move the balance around the damaged pieces. This will create changes that reverberate throughout the Web and can be challenging to overcome.
Traditional training could not help me with the injury I experienced, even physical therapy did little for me. When I found Functional Patterns and learned about Anatomy Trains I was able to become much more resourceful. More precise in the mechanical stresses I underwent in my life and therefore more precise in my Connective Tissue Remodeling.
I’d like to introduce you all to the system which was able to help me so much. There is no way to fix Biomechanics (the way we move) without learning more about it. We’ll have to learn enough about what’s happening, then be very precise in our movement going forward to make a true change for the better.
It will be well worth it. The benefits of having a body with Fascia supporting alignment with gravity creates a greater sense of well being. Anxiety, Breathing Issues, Hypertension, Obesity and a slew of physical ailments are mediated by Fascia.
Those of us looking to truly move towards a healthier lifestyle should consider the impact of Fascia and Movement Diet.. Good biomechanics will benefit the entire system making us truly healthier from our circulation, immune system etc.. Our culture’s lifestyle leaves us vulnerable to injury and disease.
I feel better than I have in a long time and enjoy moving more than ever. Where I used to feel pain I now feel connections in my body that I know to be stable. I am able to relax and breathe more calmly. Breathing is heavily impacted by posture, we’ll talk about that next time.
Advocating Tensegrity Tactics,
Move Intentionally, Not Habitually