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What is Fascia?

Fascia is a very strong type of tissue that provides structure and support in the body. It connects or binds many types of tissues while providing structure and protection for the tissues. Individual muscle cells group into bundles of muscles and these bundles of muscles join to form the larger muscles that we give names, like biceps, hamstrings or quadriceps. Fascia envelopes each muscle cell, muscle bundle and individual muscle and it is also found just

underneath the skin. The fascia not only provides support and protection for the muscles and skin, but it also allows for proper gliding of distinct muscle bundles and separate muscles over each other and in relation to the skin.

To get an idea of what fascia looks like, I often tell people to picture the nylon spider webs that can be bought around Halloween. Most people have had encounters with fascia when preparing meat products as fascia is the whitish colored thin sheets of tissue between muscles or muscle and skin.

The white areas in the picture to the right represent fascia and the white strands in the picture on the left is fascia that has been separated when muscle tissue was dissected and teased apart.

You can get a sense of fascia and how it connects with the skin. Notice how much movement your skin has by wriggling the skin over your forearms or scalp versus on the palms of your hands.

There is much less movement on the palms of your hands as that makes it easier to grasp objects. If the skin over your forearm or hamstring had decreased movement, this could reduce the movement of the associated joints.

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