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What is fascial unwinding?

Updated: 2 days ago

Fascial unwinding sometimes described as myofascial release is a practice used in bodywork and somatic therapies to release strain, chronic tension, and restriction within the fascial system. Fascia is often described as a soft tissue network or a 3-dimensional web. A self-supporting structure made of collagen, elastin, and mostly water. It surrounds, interpenetrates, shapes separates, and supports every cell, muscle, bone, organ, nerve, and immune cells in your body. It provides the environment for EVERY living cell, including your microbiome. It connects body and mind and lies at the heart of healing.

Our fabric of embodiment

In SomaSensing I describe fascia as our fabric of embodiment. It holds the blueprint of our original selves as well as our patterned selves, shaped by our life experiences from childhood. We hold habitual patterns of emotional stress, trauma, movement, and how we perceive the world. A living system, like any other living system, responds to the stresses and strains of our everyday life.

Fascia when soft, plump, and supple reflects a state of vibrant health and well-being. Stiffness, strain, stuckness, fatigue, and pain are signs of fascia needing to restore and recharge.

How motion heals emotion

Fascial unwinding describes how the body moves rhythmically, often in a spiral nurturing motion, to release restrictions and strain. Releasing oxytocin and other body chemistry to calm pain and release long-held patterns of trauma. Restoring the integrity of the tissue. Often a whole body motion, the movements that emerge can be large or small micro-movements. Effortless as you shape-change, you're left with a sense of well-being.

As well as being intertwined with the nervous system Fascia is a sensory tissue on its own. The mechanoreceptors of the nervous system embedded in fascia respond to pain, pressure, and touch. Making it the body’s largest organ of communication.

Is fascial unwinding a movement or manual therapy?

It is both. Fascial unwinding manual therapy is a hands-on therapy with roots in myofascial release therapy. Myofascial release is based on:

Myo = muscle

Fascia = fascia

Today we use the term fascia to include muscle and everything else. A fascial unwinding manual session is great if you want to relax and let someone help you to unwind. During a fascial unwinding manual session, the practitioner gently guides the client's body through a series of slow, rhythmic movements, often in response to the client's own spontaneous movements. It's the practitioner's touch that invites fascia to "melt" and unwind. Helping to improve, breathing, flow, and nervous system regulation. Easing pain and discomfort.

SomaSensing Intuitive body unwinding is the movement version of fascial. During a session, we guide you to tune in, self-enquire, self-adjust to ease the strain, whilst we guide you to find the quiet within and let movements emerge. Placing emphasis on pandiculation. The blueprint of unwinding.

After a body unwinding session, clients often describe how the tissue feels “juicy”, how movements feel natural and effortless. There is freedom and flow. They describe how it reconnects them to their “inner child”. How they reconnet to play.

That’s because the movements that emerge follow the nature of the body’s design.

When we move against our design, it feels effortful and unfamiliar. This is also why it's so important to encourage babies to move on the ground and find their way. Without restricting them in chairs or bouncers. Nor encouraging them with walking aids to accelerate their development.

It's all about the water

Fascial unwinding hydrates the body, keeping us supple and strong. Fascia is about 70% water. When water combines with the water-loving molecule Hyaluron it becomes gel-like, giving fascia it’s plumpness and suppleness. Many anti-ageing lotions and serums contain Hyaluronan molecules in an attempt to plump up our skin. It's the stuff that's contained in aesthetic fillers too. Movement is essential for hydration.

The other approach to the gel-like quality in our fascia points to the water itself. According to scientist Gerald Pollack, water has a 4th phase. We know the 3 phases of matter in physics. Solid, liquid, and vapor. Liquid crystal or gel is the 4th phase. Think jelly-like or the consistency of honey. EZ water is how Gerald Pollack describes this 4th phase. What makes it different is its structure. It has an extra hydrogen atom. (H3O). This ionized water is like a charged battery. The more EZ we have, the more energy we have. In Pollack's studies, the water in our body is affected by sunlight in the same way as light affects the health of plants. Fascia can "phase change" from stiff to soft and soft to stiff, in response to light.

Although Pollack's research does not extend to movement or fascial unwinding studies. The body definitely feels "juicier" and energized after unwinding.

Whatever the science, in fascial unwinding, we are relying on this phase change or “melting” sensation of stiff to soft during a session. As well as the feel-good nurturing sensation of oxytocin to calm the pain, we're looking to improve the gliding quality of the tissue, to release areas of stuckness or stickiness. Improving the overall health of the tissue.

Tapping into an innate wisdom

Fascial unwinding is based on the idea that the body has an innate ability to heal itself, and that by facilitating this natural process, the practitioner can help the client to release physical and emotional blockages and restore harmony and vitality to the body-mind system. In SomaSensing you can explore this practice as a manual or movement therapy.

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