Learning with laughter

The Fascial System

January 28th, 2010

In non-technical terms, the fascial system is the body stocking under the skin or straight jacket holding us together.

The fascia of the body is the tough connective tissue orientated in longitudinal and transverse tubes which holds us together. It stops the heart and liver descending downwards into the pelvis and also prevents uncontrolled lateral expansion of the torso. The fascia envelopes every structure of the body. Even the tiniest nerve or a taste bud has its own fascial sheath or envelope. About half of the muscular attachments of the body are to fascia so that muscle tone or the state of contraction, have a lot to do with how tight or loose the fascial sheaths and envelopes are, in certain areas of the body.

An example of this fact was solving a patient’s back pain. I believe one must “think global and act local”.

Any one had their Jaw, neck and back treated for back pain? Probably not!

A patient came in with acute lower back pain. He had no history of any recent injury however he mentioned that his bite was “off”. I noticed the spine had a visible “s” curve sideways which was caused by muscle spasm and his head and neck had done a compensatory rotation so he could see where he was walking! Next day he visited the dentist who had fixed his high filling! Within 10 minutes he walked out pain free with a straight spine. Clinically I find treating a short leg, pelvis misalignment and body fascia helps the jaw.

Did you know that there is continuous line of fascia connecting the inside of your head to your big toe? Starting inside the head the fascia exits and forms the carotid sheath then the Pericardium in the chest ie: thorax. This in turn connects to the Respiratory diaphragm, Psoas or hip flexor and then down leg into bottom of the foot


“You are only as young as your spine”

A healthy flexible spine and Dural Tube is critical in treating TMD, headaches and back pain. This is because that Dural Tube connects the head to your upper neck and pelvis.

Anatomy: The Dural Tube situated within the spinal Vertebral canal is made of fascia and must have a reasonable degree of movement in relationship to the arachnoid membrane. According to Wikipedia this is “A delicate fibrous membrane forming the middle of the three coverings of the brain and spinal cord, closely attached to the dura mater, from which it is separated only by the subdural cleft, but separated from the pia mater by the subarachnoid space.

I found this article interesting from the CranioSacral Therapy by John Upledger and Jon.D. Vredevoogd:

“THE DURA MATER forms a tube which runs downwards through the vertebral canal. Within the canal its only bony attachments are to the posterior bodies of the second and third cervical (neck) vertebrae and to the posterior body of the second sacral segment. It exits the vertebral canal through the Sacral hiatus and blends with the periosteum of the coccyx (tailbone). The Dural Tube within the vertebral canal is also firmly attached to the Foramen Magnum of the Occiput. This dura mater connects with membranes inside the skull which line and form partitions in the skull cavity.”

I find, clinically, that stretching the fascial system together with mobilising joints in the neck and back makes a huge difference to help relieve headaches, TMD and improving flexibility.

1. Physiotherapy to mobilize fascial restrictions

2. Exercises to stretch out this structure

Video and pictures to follow every month: 1st tip Seated roll down  (as seen on YouTube) 


The arachnoid mater is one of the three meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (To read more follow the links).

Using the occiput (base of skull) to evaluate and mobilize the Dural tube.

I ask the client to lie on their back and place hands on the occiput and apply a very light traction towards the top of the head.

 2nd vault hold

This is a picture of the 2nd Vault Hold

  occipital base release

and the Occipital Base Release


Pictures reprinted from CranioSacral Therapy by John Upledger and Jon D. Vreevoogd with permission of Eastland Press.

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