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Fascinating Fascia

What is fascia?

Fascia is a connective web-like tissue which extends throughout the entire body. It's a tissue that surrounds, intertwines and even permeates every bone, muscle and organ. This allows it to operate as one homogenous unit. Fascia is an crucial part of the anatomical system and if compromised can cause serious issues for the horse.

Fascia must be hydrated.

Fascia requires moisture (lubrication) which helps the structures move fluidly and with comfort. Equine body work helps keep the fascia healthy in combination with routine exercise, proper diet, nutrition and a variety of factors.

Fascia feels!

Fascia has been scientifically proven to contain thousands of nerve endings which makes fascia a sensory organ. Fascia is even said to hold feelings and emotions. Fascia can become easily dehydrated and stiff under pressure points such as ill-fitting tack.

Fascia is elastic.

Fascia has a memory so to speak, as it can return to shape once stretched.

Fascia keeps everything connected.

The superficial fascia is the easiest to immediately impact with massage application. Because of the connections directly from the superficial fascia to the intermuscular fascia and intervisceral fascia, equine massage can positively affect the deeper structures too.

Fascia can be manipulated.

A variety of techniques are applied when manipulating the facia (myofascial release) in order to relax the horse and further prepare the muscular system for massage, which allows for deeper tissues to be reached. Myofascial release applies a gentle, but sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue in order to allow for better movement, reduced tension, and reduced pain (improved comfort).

Fascia speaks but horses can't.

Our horses and equine friends are relying on us to be their voices. They cannot express pain verbally the way that we can, and so we as responsible horsemen must do our part to explore the horse's behavior and body and determine what he is trying to say. So often fascia is linked to our horse's "issues" whether it be as minor as a misstep during a dressage routine, or as serious as tumbling over during a barrel race. The fascia connects EVERYTHING and yet it doesn't get nearly as much attention in equine circles as it should.

Consider learning more about the innerworkings of the equine fascia and how this understanding can dramatically improve your horse's overall wellbeing and long-term performance.

A skilled bodyworker can manipulate the fascia through special techniques that allow for major releases of tension and pain throughout the body. (Remember, it's all connected!). Myofascial work improves circulation, sleep patterns, performance, balance, and overall quality of life.


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