Fascia has become one of the most talked about things in health over the past decade. More and more people are understanding what it is as well as how and why it’s important for our overall health. So, what is fascia anyway?
Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place. But it does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. When stressed, it tightens up. Fascia has often been mistaken for one sheet of tissue, when in fact, it is made up of multiple layers with liquid in between called hyaluronan. A great article can be found here.
Fascia is designed to stretch as you move, but there are certain things that cause fascia to thicken and become sticky. When it dries up and tightens around muscles, it can limit mobility and cause painful knots to develop. There are many ways to keep your fascia flexible and healthy. Qigong is one of them.
Qigong opens and closes the body in specific sequences. These sequences move blood, lymphatic fluid, glandular secretions, ligaments, tendons and fascia all at the same time. This methodical method of movement refines all the functions of the body. When it comes to fascia, very little can compare to the personalized toolbox a person can develop with Qigong. The way Qigong opens and closes the joints, gently pulling on the tendons, ligaments and fascia cannot be done any other way. Qigong is a very unique and special method that over time will get into every layer of fascia in the body. As a result, the longterm benefits can be exceptional when we commit to this kind of practice.
Qigong through the repetition of movements as well as opening and closing the joints, moves blood through the body and lymph through the lymph system, massaging all the deep layers of tissue and fascia inside the body. This is where the concept of Qigong being an internal art really originates. Once you have opened the fascia and dissolved enough tension in the body, organ function and fluid flow can be regulated. Then you can begin to truly develop a jewel of a practice. This develops Qi flow and being able to feel the shift in blood flow in the body consciously indicates Qi is actually moving.
Most people who have not spent much time connecting to their bodies will have revelatory experiences just from feeling their blood move. This is a beginning stage. While blood is synonymous with Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, blood movement is only the beginning and not something to be chased. The real jewel of Qigong practice is feeling the engagement of fascia and its internal expansion inside the body when we practice. Like that feeling of finding the ‘sweet spot’ where you experience time dilation and effortless movement. These spaces can be found through active participation in Qigong practice and are not mystical or magical things, but very real, very authentic physical feelings that happen from moving blood and lymph in the body.
The movement of blood and lymph in the body allows us to develop listening skills to feel the engagement of our fascia. With Qigong we can keep our fascia strong, flexible, toned, and conditioned in such a way as to develop our body’s fullest potential for self nourishment from the balance and regulation of everything inside. Then the magic happens.
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