By Gavin Buehler
Last month’s article, “It’s All Connected Part 1,” explained the broad connection of everything throughout our body via the connective tissue that we call fascia. With this tissue interwoven through virtually everything, we can see how any disruption at any point in our body could have a global impact.
In this article we’ll take a quick look at the musculoskeletal nets that have been mapped out so far in this multilayered system.
The New Structural Model
We left off with the analogy of an orange having a fascial lattice that runs through its entire structure but also containing defining wedges that can be separated from one another. Our musculoskeletal system is much like these wedges within the fruit. Traditional anatomy has identified individual muscles in our body, and because fascia was previously ignored, we assumed that each individual muscle worked independently affecting only its immediate attachments. However, no one muscle ever operates solely to create movement or stability within the body (the tongue maybe the exception). Instead, muscles work synergistically, and they are grouped and connected through fascial slings. These slings are so cool because not only do they create tension around our bones to keep us erect, but that tension has the ability to be varied at any point throughout the entire sling!
Have I lost you a little? Let’s use the icosahedron as an example again. This tensegrity structure has compression structures in the form of posts that never touch one another but are all connected through the tensioning rubber bands. The posts provide shape while the tensioning bands keep them in position. Our bones are like these posts, they provide shape and hopefully never touch one another as they are separated by other soft tissues. The fascial slings comprised of multiple muscles are like these bands creating tension and holding the bones in place not the other way around. We are biotensegrity structures. Being structured this way gives us the ability to move in all sorts of patterns and still maintain balance.
Connection & Compensation
Having the ability to tension the entire sling by contracting all the muscles within it, or just certain sections of the sling by contracting specific muscles allows us to have an unbelievable number of options for movement and stability allowing us to adjust for varying loads and force distribution. Now imagine if you had a lesion at some point in any one of these slings. It would affect the tensioning ability of that entire sling. You might feel pain or discomfort at any point within that sling because it’s all connected after all, and not necessarily where the lesion is. Of course, since the tension is affected in that sling, and you still want to stand up and continue about your business, the other slings in your body recalibrate to keep you balanced and allow you to keep functioning. That my friends, is how compensatory issues arise. Pretty cool right?
The Fascial Lines
I have referenced fascial lines in many of my previous articles and I won’t get into detail with each individual line here as that’s textbooks worth of detail. Instead, I will list the 7 lines that we currently have mapped out and provide links for the images for you to see how these slings wrap around our bones. If you’d really like an in-depth look, fascia pioneer Thomas Myers’ book Anatomy Trains is a great place to start.
I hope that you found this information helpful and as always, this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult a health professional before attempting new exercises or protocols, as the content of this article may or may not be appropriate for you.