One of the perks of being a Yoga Tune Up® teacher is that we have monthly coaching calls where Jill and the community share their insight on specific topics. This month, Jill and Sarah Court (fellow YTU Teacher Trainer and soon-to-be DPT) shared their learnings from the recent Fascia Research Congress.
First of all, I love to be reminded that the YTU community is so deep when it comes to specialties and knowledge – such a treat. Also, it is very important to surround yourself with people who inspire your curiosity and excitement around whatever your passion topics are! Needless to say, I hung up from the call so EXCITED with what they shared.
The first nugget I want to share with you today is the idea that less is more when it comes to fascia. Researchers are reporting that blasting and smashing your fascia and soft tissues does more harm than good. Your fascias have a stretch capacity – basically, how far they can stretch before damage is done. The same thing happens in a rubber band – it has a stretch limit before it is permanently damaged.
The latest findings are that if the stretch/force applied (such as with a massage or massage tool, like YTU balls) to your fascia is in the neighborhood of 3-5% of it’s total available stretch, then the cytokine production is decreased. Cytokines are one way cells talk to one another, and are often found as inflammatory markers; so when cytokines are lower, inflammation or the cell’s need to cry out for help to other cells is also decreased.
If the stretch is more than 8% of the stretch capacity of a tissue, cytokine production is INCREASED, so you are, in effect, doing more harm than good. Think of the last super deep massage you had – were you sore after? The soreness is an indication that there was some sort of damage or overstretching of the tissue, which leads to inflammation, which is felt often as soreness.
If we boil this down to the über basics – when you roll super hard – and power through the pain or discomfort or, when you roll with an intensely hard object, like barbell, kettlebell, tennis ball, lacrosse ball etc., the deep discomfort you are feeling and the soreness the next day are an indication of damage. More is not better!
As long as you stay within the gentle range of 3-5% of total stretch, you are helping the tissues to be rehydrated and healthy. So instead of going after your body like it has betrayed you and must be punished, give it some love and gentle touch, instead of beat down.
If you run into a product that promises to obliterate or blast your soreness/stiffness/fascias away – run the other way as quickly as your stiffened fascias will allow you!
What do you think? Have you found in your own mobility practice that you prefer less in one session? That you like to roll slower?
*based on research of Dr. Paul Standley
- November 7: Banish Back Pain (Yoga Vibe at the Village, Glendale Ca)
- November 8: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Unfold Yoga, Brea CA)
- January 23-24: The Roll Model® Method Weekend (Evolve Yoga, Anchorage AK)
- February 5-7: YTU Integrated Embodied Anatomy Training (Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks, CA)