ACS > ACS POSTS > Fascia: a bodywide organ – part 2

Fascia: a bodywide organ – part 2

By Asomi College of Sciences
Since ASOMI College of Sciences is concerned with issues regarding wellness and health such as osteopathy, this article is an educational read on the fascial tissue and osteopathic practice. It is also the second part of the adaptation of a scientific paper on the fascial tissue by the acclaimed osteopath Paolo Tozzi. Click here for the first part of the article.

About the author:

Paolo Tozzi, a Master’s in (Hons) Science in Osteopathy at Dresden International University and Bachelor in  (Hons) Science in Osteopathy at the European School of Osteopathy and in Bachelor in Science (Hons) Physiotherapy at the Catholic University of Rome is also the Head of Academics Osteopathy at ACS Asomi College of Sciences / Asomi Academy of Osteopathy.


Fascial body network

The whole fascial body network can be intended as a three-dimensional viscoelastic matrix, balanced by an integrated system of compression-tensional forces in dynamic equilibrium (Ingber, 2008). In this vision, bones are the non touching rods that play the role of compression struts, embedded in a continuous connecting system (the tension system), that is the myo-fascia-ligamentous continuum (Levin and Martin, 2012). This exhibits a balanced tension as well as a three-dimensional and dynamic ability to adapt to any force introduced anywhere in the system. Thanks to its hierarchical organization, any applying force can influence any part of the whole, from cellular to the entire body and vice versa, through a non-linear distribution of forces.
Even at a cellular level, fascia displays an interconnected tensegrities arrangement, through an extensively reticular network that is formed by soft tissue fibroblasts, via their cytoplasmic expansions permeating all body (Langevin et al., 2004). Furthermore, each fibroblast’s cytoskeleton is structurally connected to the external environment, either directly with contiguous cells or through the extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents (Fletcher and Mullins, 2010). The entirety of this system may indeed represent a body-wide signaling network (Langevin, 2006), expressing through the interdependence between cells and the surrounding matrix. Signals from the ECM are transferred through transmembrane mechanoreceptors to the cell nuclei while being transduced into chemical information, so playing an impact on various aspects of cell behavior and metabolism via modulation of gene expression (Wang et al., 2009).

The fasciagenic unifying theory

Fascia appears to respond to various physical and chemical forces, as a single structural continuum interacting with a multitude of regulatory functional properties. In health as well as in disease, it plays different roles, such as those related to joint stability, general movement coordination, gross and fine movement control, transmission and distribution of mechanical forces; bodywide proprioception, nociception and autonomic activity, constantly interacting with the central nervous system, cortical organization, including cognitive and affective components; hydraulic pumping and fluids flow; piezoelectricity and other forms of energy transmission; diffusion of various chemicals and nutrients; immune, hormonal, cellular, genetic and epigenetic responses, together with a potential role in many connective tissue pathologies, wound healing and tissue repair (Tozzi, 2014). Such a multi-potential system provides the anatomical and physiological basis for a fasciagenic unifying theory on the different mechanisms underlying body function and dysfunction.

In other words
This network may certainly represent a bodywide sensory organ (Schleip et al., 2014), and even more, a meta-system (Langevin, 2006) that coherently influences the structure and function of the whole organism and the interaction between its constituents. Its vital function is so crucial that “by its action, we live and by its failure, we shrink, or swell and die” (Still, 1899).


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