I quote Thomas Myers, author of the Anatomy Trains, talking about healthy fascia saying “If you think of children, they bounce. If you think of grandma, she doesn’t bounce.” Thomas Myers was talking about how our fascia (connective tissue) is healthy and hydrated when we are young and slowly dries out as we age. Our fascia should be wet, springy, “elastic” tissue that is always moving, sliding and adapting to our environment and the forces put upon it. I ride horses. On a moving animal, your “fascia”, is constantly having to adapt and absorb the bounce and movement of the horse. We need this elasticity in our tissues to reduce soreness, tightness and injury from riding or anything else that requires movement and resistance. Unfortunately if you ride horses you are destined to fall off at some point. Healthy fascia coupled with “tensegrity” just may be the secret to injury prevention from falling, whatever the circumstance. Tensegrity means our fascia, a continuous inward-pulling tensional network, balanced by the outward press of our bones, is like a suspension bridge. Load and force on the body is distributed evenly through the myofascial lines. If your fascia is healthy, hydrated and taught with tensegrity you have the natural ability to “bounce” and not break. Fascia that is dehydrated and stuck does not have the ability to slide and adapt, and can result in injury. If the tissues don’t slide, something will tear instead! This idea made me think about players in other sports like football, basketball, baseball and others. New research shows that individual muscles acting on bones does not adequately explain stability and movement. Forces on the body don’t stop at the joints, but continue to be absorbed by the rest of the myofascia lines. As long as the “lines” are open and available to receive the force distributed through them, no one body part takes the full impact of a fall, or the bounce from the gait of your horse. We keep our fascia hydrated and resilient by moving in unusual-for-you ways (Pilates, Yoga etc). The secret to finding tensegrity/distribution is letting go of tension so that the bones fall wide into our fascial fabric, making space in the body. I used to hold a lot of tension riding, and the distribution of force stopped right in my low back. I would always be sore and stiff. As a result of training elasticity into the tissues, letting go and finding tensegrity, I am NEVER as sore. My last fall from a horse left me with only a bruise on my arm from bumping into the arena fence. This new awareness has given me the ability to ride with less tension. It’s much more pleasant for me and my horse, soreness is greatly reduced, and I don’t feel exhausted. There is also a strange and wonderful ability…despite nerves…to have a relaxed focus–observation of the moment, in the moment. Could this help Quarterbacks, basketball, baseball players, and my equestrian friends have the “focus” to make better fast paced decisions? Sounds a little bizarre, but being “Neuro” fascia this too is certainly possible. Training and maintaining resilience in the fascial tissues could benefit participants of any sport or occupation, prolonging careers and hobbies for everyone.
Cody Robbins–Performance Pilates
We will address “Resilience” in a workshop with Karin Locher | Spatial Medicine. “Resilience in Performance & Competition,” at Performance Pilates, July 19th, 6pm-9pm. Click HERE for sign-up information. I hope you can join us!
Performance Pilates teaches movement from a fascial prospective. To schedule, or for more information call 713-301-5007 or performance-pilates.com.