American Chiropractic Association, Newsletter, pages 15-20
By Warren I. Hammer
Science has dismissed the value of a connective tissue structure that encompasses our whole body both internally and externally. Carla Stecco, MD, elaborated this dismissal in her upcoming text entitled, Functional Atlas of the Human Fascial System (Elsevier 2015): “In anatomy text books, only local areas of fasciae are described and they are characterized by only one of their minor functions: as an opaque covering.” In her preface, she adds that most anatomists view connective tissue as something to remove so that joints, muscles, organs and tendons may be studied carefully. In fact, it has now been established that the basic function of joints, muscles, organs and tendons requires a normal, functioning fascial system. Research demonstrates that more than 30 percent of the force generated from the muscle is transmitted not along a tendon, but rather by the connective tissue within the muscle 1,2,3,4 and fascia contains mechanoreceptors and proprioceptors. 5,6,7,8 In other words, every time we use a muscle, we stretch fascia that is connected to spindle cells, Ruffini and Paccini corpuscles and Golgi organs. The normal stretching of fascia thus communicates the force of the muscle contraction and the status of the muscle regarding its tone, movement, rate of change in muscle length and position of the associated body part to the central nervous system (CNS). An important question now arises: What if the fascia, where these receptors are located, is restricted due to increased viscosity or is chronically overstretched? As receptors are activated by pressure or stretch, is it possible that the receptors, which must be free to function, are inhibited? Could inhibition of receptor function provide altered feedback to the CNS? The fascia is therefore much more than an “opaque covering.” It should probably be designated as another organ of the body. Something else to consider: The acupuncture system is within the fascial system. Langevin9 described the network of acupuncture points and meridians as a network formed by connective tissue (fascia). Practitioners must understand what causes fascia to become pathological and why it disrupts function. Ultimately, they need to know how to restore normality to the fascial system.
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