Fascia (plural fasciae) is found throughout the body and performs several functions. That sausage skin- like coating that each muscle has is fascia. There are sheets of semi-transparent fascia in your abdomen holding your entrails up in place. There is fascia in your palms and soles that make the skin more wear resistently to friction and some of the muscles are attached to other structures via fascia.
Fascia is a tough and flexible connective tissue that envelopes organs and muscles and hold them in correct proximity to one another. Fascia is often wavy or corrugated in structure which helps give it elastic properties. It is like a multi-faceted membrane within your body that acts like a soft skeleton. It’s like a longer continuous piece of shrink wrap that connects all the internal structures.
Like other tissues in the body fascia is helped stay healthy with a good diet and adequate hydration. If it is too stiff it has a general uncomfortable tightening effect on the body and if it is too loose the flesh has a floppier quality about it.
The white strandy tissue (that is not fat) that you sometimes see butchers cut through when filleting meat includes fascia. Scientists are learning new things about fascia all the time, not all of them even agree how different types of fascia should even be categorized.
Tendon, ligament and spinal discs are closely related anatomically and functionally to fascia. When fascia is well hydrated it has a springiness about it that helps tissue it is connected too to return to it’s normal position. Your gastrocnemius (calf muscle) is not joined directly to your heal bone but by a long broad band of fascia.
Even more surprising is that fascia is now being thought of as the biggest and most important sense organ of the lot. This is so because it is honey -combed all through the body which means that if the fascia coating your leg muscles are stretched an internal stretch via the fascia through to other distant parts of the body. Everything on the inside of us is more or less connected together by fascia.
Fascia therefore has an important part to play in proprioception- your body’s awareness of it’s position in space. So fascia is now believed to be related to your posture and balance.
Like other soft tissues in your body fascia can strain and tear and sustain scare tissue when it heals. When you massage your muscles (or have someone else do it for you) your fascia is incidentally getting massaged with your muscles which is good for it’s circulation.