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December 12, 2016

By Ariadne Weinberg,  Featured Columnist



At first glance, “fascia” looks a little bit like “facial.”
However, the fascia is actually less locationally specific than
that. It's everywhere. How's that?


Fascia is a substance made of densely-packed protein
tissues, that weaves through the whole body and binds and
supports your muscles, bones, and organs. Fascia material
also contains smooth muscle cells and is all over the human
body.

Structurally mostly made up of collagen, fascia actually
contains fibroblasts that help the cells remember their
specific function, what they were meant to do.   


It is becoming fashionable nowadays to deep massage your
fascia, either with the help of a professional, alone, or with
new toys to release fascia, such as the FasciaBlaster.

The idea of a fascia massage is that it releases tension, and
sometimes the treatment is based on trigger points, where
therapists target a very specific place.

This technique is often referred to as "myofascial release".

Releasing the fascia is used for a variety of maladies
including temporomandibular joint disorder, sports injuries,
and simply tight muscles.

While fascia massage can potentially have some great
benefits, there can also be disadvantages to a fascia
massage. It's important to analyze your specific case before
jumping on the fascia boat.

Read on to be alerted for what to watch out for.  































1.
Fascia Massaging Causes Bruising


The appearance of bruises after fascia massaging is
somewhat controversial. There are some who say it's
actually a positive side effect of the lymph nodes being
unblocked.

However, if you are not a person who normally bruises,
there's a good chance post-massage marks are not doing
you any good.

Emily Cohen, California based massage therapist and
graduate from California college of physical arts, affirms that
“If you are feeling uncomfortable pressure during the
massage and you are bruised the next day, the therapist is
working too deeply for you.  Ask them to tone it down or
find a new therapist.”

Likewise, if you are trying to release fascia by yourself or
with a machine, it's good to analyze the underlying causes if
many bruises are showing up. Cohen says that in general,
bruising isn't normal or necessary.

There could be outside factors or causes that have nothing
to do with the fascia massage, such as blood thinners or
aspirin causing damage. Look at your case and analyze it
with the help of a health care professional.  




2.Fascia massaging causes wrinkles





In one case of using a product to do fascia massage (there is
one called the FasciaBlaster), instead of improving skin like it
was supposed to, the massager did quite the opposite. One
woman, reviewing on the Fresh New Life website, reported
that no cellulite improvement was noted. Additionally, she
got many little wrinkles that hadn't been there before and
reported that overall, her skin looked more aged. In an
informal poll on the Fresh New Life website, only 50% of
people using the trendy new FasciaBlaster reduced cellulite.
So, if your aim with using a device to massage your fascia is
a cellulite-free bod, that won't do it, and it may cause your
skin to get worse overall. Just some words of warning.  




3.
Fascia Massage Can Causes Emotional Distress


Modern medicine has been catching on to the fact that the
body and mind are quite linked. Part of what makes up both
the body and mind are emotions.

Jenny Eggers, a Seattle-based licensed massage practitioner,
points out that with most deep bodywork, including fascia
massage, some emotions or memories are stored in the
tissue and can be released.

The body can't really discriminate between a cellular
pathogen and an emotional pathogen, so a post fascia
massage experience could actually be stressful.

Emotions that weren't felt before because they were blocked
physically have the potential to open up all at once, and
that's not necessarily something that's good for your entire
system—an extreme cortisol spike never is.

Eggers suggests coping with the distress through
counseling, journaling, exercising, and napping. You may
want to consider whether fascial massage will open up
feelings you aren't prepared to deal with.  




4.
Fascia Massage Can Cause Pain and Damage


In order to really release the fascia, oftentimes an aggressive
technique is necessary.

Paul Ingraham, Vancouver-based massage therapist, reports
that he hears many stories from patients about extreme pain
due to fascial release.

Here is one person's story: They had soreness and achiness
in the balls of their heels and in their toes. After going to a
therapist to get the fascia massaged in a deeper way that
included using elbows to dig into the muscles, the therapist
instructed the patient to reproduce the same pain level on
the calves and hamstrings.

The patient did as they were told for 1 hour a day for 5 days,
using a wooden roller on their feet. After that, they
experienced extreme painful stabby prickling in the feet,
back of the legs, hands, and armpits.

When referred to a neurologist, the medical professional told
them that it was probably biochemical and related to
muscles, and the myofascial release most likely caused the
oversensitivity to pain.

Fascial massage isn't like the standard Swedish massage, and
does have the potential to cause an adverse effect, whether
you do it alone or with a licensed therapist.  




5.
Fascia Massage Makes Some Conditions Worse


Fascia massage is not for everyone. If you are in pain due to
fairly common conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis,
you might be tempted to get a massage or self-massage.

However, the myofascial technique is not the one you should
use, confirms George T. Krucik, a family medicine doctor
from San Francisco.

Krucik also affirms that myofascial release for those with
deep vein thrombosis or vein issues, broken or fractured
bones,
weak or fragile bones, or those taking blood-thinning
medications is a no-no.



6.
Fascia Massage Can Cause Internal Bleeding


You read about bruising as a side effect of fascia massage.
Depending on how hard you are massaged or where a
trigger point is touched, it could even lead to internal
bleeding, according to experts at the Sage Health and
Wellness Center in Toronto.

Cases of bleeding internally are rare, but you should
especially keep it in mind as a potential side effect if you
bruise easily or have a serious health condition.  



7. Fascia Massage Can Cause Difficulty Moving Your Muscles
or Temporary Paralysis


The inability to move muscles is often the reason people get
fascia massage in the first place.

While difficulty moving muscles and temporary paralysis is
another rare side effect of fascia massage, it is possible and
would be extremely frustrating if that is what you're trying
to solve.

Muscle difficulties are another one of the problems that
physician George T. Krucik lists.

Muscles are still somewhat of an enigma to health care
professionals, and sometimes they get damaged by weird
things like massage itself or seemingly for no reason. As
massage therapist Paul Ingraham puts it, “ Muscle tissue is
the largest organ in the body, complex and vulnerable to
dysfunction, and the primary target of the wear and tear of
daily activities, nevertheless it is the bones, joints, bursae
and nerves on which physicians usually concentrate their
attention.”

The lack of information in general about muscles makes them
sometimes difficult to repair if they are damaged.  
 





























































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