of Your Fascii
by Sandi &
Most dancers have heard of plantar fasciitis, an ailment of the foot.
If you’ve had it, you know it can be painful and can take a long time
to heal. Did you know the body is full of fascii that can also become
inflamed and cause imbalance, poor posture, and a host of other
“Fascia” in Latin means bands, and the fascii throughout the body are
elastic bands that encase muscles, organs, nerves and blood vessels.
This connective tissue is not like ligaments, which join one bone to
another bone, or tendons, which join muscle to bone. In some places,
they hold organs in place, in others, they form sliders for muscles to
move across. In the foot, where the fascii runs from the toes, over the
heel, and up the back of the leg, they support the arch.
Scientists have discovered 12 sets of these fascii connecting seemingly
unrelated parts of the body, from the toes to the top of the head. When
they function properly, they look like wavy folds that stretch and
retract. Stress, trauma, poor posture, and inflammation cause them to
lose pliability, and that restricts muscle movement. It has been said
this is the source of most chronic pain problems that have no apparent
A new book called Anatomy Trains maps the fascii of the body and shows
their interplay with movement and stability. It has evolved into a
course for massage therapists, yoga instructors, chiropractors, and
personal trainers, on the basis that fascii respond to massage and
Stretching before you get on the floor is good, to get the kinks out,
as some would say. An Oberlin College dance instructor has introduced
stretches aimed precisely at the fascii, as reported in the recent
Dance Teacher magazine.
Here are some warm-ups being touted on the internet to improve balance
and fascii: 1) Prop your toes up against a wall, keeping your arch and
heel flat so the toes stretch. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat. 2)
Roll a frozen water bottle slowly under your arch. 3) To relax your
shoulders so they don’t scrunch up around your neck, stand with hands
over head, grasping left wrist with right hand. Gently pull the elbows
away from each other, activating the muscles in the shoulders and arms.
Bend at the waist to the right, feeling a stretch along the left side
of the body. Rotate the elbows so you are looking at the floor. You
should feel a ripple through the fascii to the lower back.
Once that water bottle thaws, be sure to drink up. Fascii can become
dehydrated if you don’t drink enough, and then are subject to micro
tears and lose their stretch, and you’ve got that creaky, achy feeling.
a club newsletter, February, 2014,
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, February 2017.