The field of fascia research has undergone remarkable expansion and growth over the last decade. But until now, a true visualization had been a challenge. Enter FR:EIA, the world’s first 3-D human fascia plastinate. In this episode of The ABMP Podcast, Kristin and Darren speak with Rachelle Clauson and Gary Carter about how FR:EIA came to be, her first public appearance in Montreal, Quebec, at the 6th International Fascia Research Congress, and how their ideas on fascia changed during this experience.
Read about FR:EIA and the process of creating the world’s first whole-body, fascial-focused plastinate in the September/October issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine.
Click the link below for more information about the Fascial Net Plastination Project (FNPP), including press releases, the Fascia Research Society, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
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0:00:00.1 Kristin Coverly: Are you a massage therapist who loves to problem solve? Do you see clients with challenging musculoskeletal issues? If so, then studying Precision Neuromuscular Therapy will help to sharpen your decision-making skills and achieve better client outcomes. Our emphasis is on the problem-solving process rather than the teaching of a singular technique or approach. Led by founder Douglas Nelson, each PNMT instructor is a busy clinician with decades of practical experience. Visit pnmt.org to explore our offerings of live seminars, online courses, or the video resource library, the PNMT portal. That's pnmt.org.
0:00:57.3 Darren Buford: I'm Darren Buford.
0:00:58.7 KC: And I'm Kristin Coverly.
0:01:00.0 DB: And welcome to the ABMP podcast, a podcast where we speak with a massage and body work profession. Our guests today are Rachelle Clauson and Gary Carter. Rachelle serves as the Fascia Research Society's Fascial Net Plastination Project Director of Creative and Administrative Affairs. She is a Board-certified massage therapist, owner of Flourish Bodywork, and co-director of AnatomySCAPES dissection lab workshops in San Diego. For more information, visit anatomyscapes.com. Gary Carter is the Fascia Research Society's Director of Anatomical Design on the FR: EIA Project. He owns and operates Natural Bodies Training Center in the UK and offers myofascial anatomy courses for movement and manual therapists in the UK, Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit naturalbodies.co.uk. Hello, Rachelle and Gary and Kristin.
0:01:49.9 Rachelle Clauson: Good morning.
0:01:51.0 Gary Carter: Good morning.
0:01:52.3 KC: Hello and welcome to the ABMP podcast. We are thrilled to have you here. Today we are talking about FR: EIA, the world's first whole body fascial-focused plastinate, and so we're gonna do a deep dive into that. Listeners, I wanna let you know that I am sure you are gonna get so excited about this you're gonna want to know more. And I wanna make sure you know that we have a whole cover story, full article in the September/October M&B issue of Massage and Bodywork Magazine. So know that there are many, many pages there with great content and beautiful images. So we'll encourage you to go and learn more after the pod. But now we're gonna have a great conversation with Rachelle and Gary. Let's start at the beginning. Explain for our listeners what FR: EIA is and how she came to be. And listeners, for those of you who are just listening and not looking at the show notes, FR: EIA is spelled all capitals, F-R-: -E-I-A. So Rachelle and Gary, take us from the beginning.
0:02:50.6 RC: Well, FR: EIA as you described is a full body plastinate, but the word plastinate is not a common term, so let me explain that just briefly. The world of tissue preservation has gone through many stages over the... I would say centuries really, from mummification to what's more familiar now, which would be formaldehyde preserve tissue that you would find in a cadaver lab. Well, in the 1970s, a man named Dr. Gunther von Hagens invented a different kind of tissue preservation that was completely unique. What makes it unique is that the tissue is preserved completely with a dry, odorless preventing any further decay and it's also shapeable, so that the tissues, instead of just lying flat on a table like in a dissection lab, or being shriveled like you would see in a mummification, or even lacquer preservation which was done for a period of time, I believe it was like the 1500s.
0:03:45.8 RC: Instead, the bodies are able to be reformed, almost as if they are alive again. And if you are familiar with the Body Worlds exhibits, you've probably seen this. They look like muscle-exposed bodies that are in the middle of playing soccer or doing an arabesque on an ice skating rink. And so this amount of flexibility and the ability to show the human anatomy in more of a living form or appearance of a living form as opposed to kind of the creepy land of the other things that we may have seen, allows people to really reflect on their own anatomy and see it as if... What they look like probably on the inside as they're viewing these cadavers. So FR: EIA was a different kind of plastinate, and the reason that she's different is that she highlights a tissue system of the body that has been under-recognized for many, many years, and that connective tissue system is the fascial system.
0:04:38.4 GC: So we've basically given her a fascial focus because I think when a lot of people think they're going to see a full fascial body, that they're just going to see this honeycomb web and that's not the case at all. We've followed along some of the rule book of Body Worlds, where they actually have a full body with detail on it, but what we've chosen to do is to expose more of the fascia and in fact, leave most of the fascia behind in the way that they would tend to remove it in the basic dissections they do at Body Worlds, and also most of the classic anatomical labs. So what we decided to do was to remove some fascia to reveal fascia, which then became quite a conversation piece because we had to decide what to remove, what to save, and that was a very interesting process.
0:05:34.7 KC: What does FR: EIA stand for?
0:05:36.4 GC: Fascia Revealed Educating Interconnected Anatomy. So in the dissection labs that we usually go into when we're working with say people like Gil Hedley or Todd Garcia or my colleagues in the UK here, Julian Baker and various others, and also on my own. We often name the form that we work with rather than going into a lab and say, "Oh, we're working on the cadaver or the body," because we have a week with them or two weeks with them, some people have a month, and that's intimate. So you've got someone that's left you the biggest gift that they're ever going to leave you, which is their form. And you are going to be knowing that better than anyone else would do, even the person that lives in it probably, so a name is something that is given, but that name is never really used outside of that environment after that. It's not their name that they had in their living state. So FR: EIA was something that was chosen, and it took a while for us to come up with that because we have to contemplate the form that is on our table and...
0:06:41.0 GC: When the name comes to us, then we start exploring them and seeing whether that really fits. And when FR: EIA landed, I think Rachelle might correct me on this, so one of the plastinarian team checked it up on the internet and Freya, the original spelling, F-R-E-Y-A, stands for the Norse goddess of love, and it was just so appropriate because one of the original designs of FR: EIA is that she was going to be holding her heart proud, above her head, and we just thought, "Actually, this really fits her." However, Body Worlds would never have a named form, and when she was being presented to the CEO of Body Worlds in her dissected state, once that was complete, the word Freya was being used a lot, and Dr. Angelina Whalley said, "Excuse me, who is Freya?" and I mentioned, "This is the name of the form," and told her the story as to how that comes about, and she absolutely loved it. She wanted to find a way for the name to stick, but it had to then be created in a very different format so that we attached words to each letter.
0:07:52.0 DB: Let me ask you a question about... I know listeners, you're listening to the podcast and not looking at FR: EIA currently right now, but FR: EIA is in a dancing pose. Can you tell us a little bit why that pose was created, why it was challenging to create that pose, and then back to what you had mentioned, Gary, how do you know what to remove and what not to remove, including organs and/or the fascial lines throughout the body?
0:08:17.7 GC: Okay, well, Rachelle and I will dance around between this one together, but the original design of FR: EIA was actually based on a male form first, and the first designs, when we had our initial meeting in Frankfurt at a hotel lounge at the airport there, was presented by Dr. Vladimir Chereminsky. He had sketched out an idea of a male form standing very erect, holding the heart directly above the head, which is based on a statue that is found in a tomb in France, funny enough. But when we found a little later that FR: EIA was going to be a female form, what I did with that was then rendered new designs and drawings based on a dancer form, but also the male form holding the heart straight above the head was interesting, but it probably would have bettered itself more as a medical anatomical model.
0:09:10.0 GC: But given the fact that a lot of people that relate to the fascia world, especially out there in the movement world, there's lots of dance-related movements, flowing type movements that are used, so I thought, well, what we need to do is to create a position for her that enables the tissue... And we could create the tissues that wind around her so that it leads the viewer into dropping their eyes around her, so it leads you into her from a spiralic perspective, and that was really, really important to have that happen.
0:09:42.0 RC: I think the design element of FR: EIA was what Gary's life was absorbed with for the entirety of the six months we were dissecting.
0:09:51.3 RC: We had a team of about three to four people coming in two to four weeks at a time over the course of six months to do this dissection, so it was lengthy. It went from all of July through to the end of December, just before the pandemic hit actually, so it was the end of 2019 when her dissection was completed. But as far as the question of what to remove and what to leave, that is the heart of our struggle that as we went through, I think of almost the Statue of David, how if you've seen or read about the analysis of how there's the introspective part of himself and then there's the more expressive part of himself. FR: EIA sort of has that division between her right and left side.
0:10:30.8 RC: Her right side is however, the more external, more superficial tissue. So it takes you from the skin down to the depths, and then the left side of her body goes even deeper, and that's where you can actually see into where the ribs have been removed on the left side, and you can see the empty pericardium where her heart has been removed, but to see that relationship of the fascial structures that come through the mediastinum, the fascial covering of the heart, the pericardium, connecting continuously with the diaphragm is a really profound moment for people to be able to see into the chest that way and be able to see kind of the core of where we are and how much of it is fascial is really quite a remarkable thing.
0:11:11.5 RC: So that design was very intentional, and not only that, but Gary could elaborate for hours, undoubtedly, and I could as well, of the detailed dissections that were incorporated were all based on scientific research. So it was very important to us that it wasn't just something that looked pretty but it had significant meaning, so that if you had studied or if you are a studier of fascia and you are familiar with the different research that shows how fascia is not just a gooey web or it's not just tight bands of stockings for our muscles, but that it's an intricate, complex system, and that you would see where those relationships are with the neurovascular tissue, with the muscle, with the bone, with the skin, with the fat, and to be able to understand that in a visual way. Each one of those little vignettes, I always would call them is kind of a study in a particular study. So she's very academically educational as well as beautiful to just stare at, as many people did at the Congress for many hours at a time. Some people would come in and say, "See you tomorrow." 'Cause they would go back to another lecture and then as soon as they had a break they would come back in and they came in every day that we were in Montreal. It was pretty fabulous.
0:12:25.7 GC: So something that needed to happen at the very beginning is that we had a series of scientific advisors, of which Tom Myers, Gil Hedley, Dr. Robert Schleip, Professor Carla Stecco, and many others were involved in. I took on the role of interviewing each one to ask them if they went to see a fascial-focused plastinate at Body Worlds, what would they expect to see? So they all had their different views, obviously, and then the job was to bring all of those ideas together and see how that could be incorporated into the one form. But not only just highlighting our advisors, but also other people that have been key players in the field of fascia research.
0:13:05.5 GC: But what came up from the interviews was the common theme for all of them was continuity. So continuity then needed to be expressed within FR: EIA from head to foot, but from skin to depth and the multiple dimensions that we could do that. And I think I said to Rachelle one day, and I remember this because I live in the UK in Brighton, and I was walking towards the seafront and there was a lot going on coming up to this conference, and I just said, "Do you know what? We've carried the weight of having FR: EIA look exactly as she can look and that she doesn't get any criticism for it because she's also not only displays as an anatomical educational piece, it's also a work of art, and works of art do get criticized."
0:13:47.1 GC: And I don't think we've really had any of a negative criticism on her. And it was just making sure that the weight of the top brass of critique would be sort of landing their critique on us. That was a big burden for all of us to carry and make sure that we did the best possible job that we could. So we had to literally keep holding back on every... And now this is Rachelle's words here, fiber by fiber, is that we were sort of teasing away at the fibers and then stopping and waiting. Is that gonna work? Is that gonna show? Because we know the critical [0:14:21.9] ____ wide that will be looking at it closely, and thank God [laughter] this has worked in the way that it's worked.
0:14:31.0 DB: Let me ask a follow up there, Gary and Rachelle. During the plastination project, I know in the article you mentioned something about fat not demonstrating well through the process. Are there any other things that are lost through the plastination project that aren't demonstrated the way that potentially you would want to see? Or does it capture 99% of what you would want to?
0:14:53.7 RC: Well, I think it's really easy to answer this and say that nothing captures everything and that different views reveal different things. And one of our colleagues, Lauri Nemetz, talks about this all the time. She talks about how we're creating as much as we are... We're creating a view, we're creating a view and highlighting, and it is partially reality and it's partially our own imaginations, our own vision of something. It's been said many times that you can carve out anything out of the body, anything, literally. Like, do you follow this line or that line? Because the body is a three dimensional solid structure that has very few true spaces but it's continuous throughout.
0:15:35.0 RC: So as we create this vision that we have based on the research currently, so of course we're looking to see the things that are in the research and show those, that's giving us a directive of showing. So the whole evolution of her is showing a view of fascia. Plastination itself of course changes the tissue. Not only that, before the body was plastinated, it was formaldehyde-preserved, which also changes the tissue. The really, the truest true tissue that you can find is living with you right now. That's your own body and that's gonna give you the right textures and the right feel as to what living tissue feels like.
0:16:07.8 RC: By the time you get to a plastinated body, there's an obvious change in the... The texture of the tissue is completely solid. The translucency changes, so there's great deal more translucency in the fresh tissue than there is in a plastinated tissue. It becomes much more opaque, likely because of the plastic that's present. And then also you were talking about the fat removal. For certain, all of the fat has been removed because fat does not preserve. It's a lipid. It's completely different. So it's essential to the plastination process that the fat has been dissolved out. So then what you're left with specifically in the superficial fascia is like an empty honeycomb structure. If you think of the fat as the honey and the honeycomb as the fascial architecture of the superficial fascia layer, now imagine all that honey is gone. So there's a bit of a collapsing that happens because the fat isn't there to like keep the buoyancy and the breadth of that tissue in its full expanded state. So that's a change.
0:17:10.8 RC: And then the last thing, I think, which was something that we had hopes for some attention to be given to but there were many reasons why it wasn't able to be, is the color, and the color of fascia in FR: EIA has a bit of a white yellow tone to it. In reality, much of your fascia has a rainbow luminescence and it is absolutely sparkling. Tendons glisten and there is a beauty in fascia in its fresh state that unfortunately isn't fully expressed in FR: EIA. I think people would have their socks blown off if they could actually see what fascia truly looks like in the living form.
0:17:49.7 GC: Yes, that was a really important part for us, Rachelle and I would discuss this endlessly, is that how could we bring that color to it? Because what they do with the Body Worlds's models is that they color the musculature and maybe some of the blood vessels and the nerves and so on, if they're going to highlight that. And I was working with a colleague of mine who used to work in the film industry and he was trying to find the right color ways that we could use and the methodologies that you could use to get it onto the plastic. But unfortunately they need a year's worth of practice time to lay those colors onto this particular plastinate because they tried it once on a heart and it went green after a year, and we could not afford for FR: EIA to go green. So as a future idea, we could look at what could happen in the future with... Because she would zing if... I mean, she zings anyway, but if that fascial color was there, it would just be something that had never been seen before. And Body Worlds have never done this like this before. And we actually found out why they don't preserve so much of the fascial tissues on the form because as Rachelle was saying is that there's this process of plastination that...
0:19:02.6 GC: That removes the fat. There's a fat removal from that, but the tissues change, as Rachelle was saying, but also the connective tissues shrink quite considerably, and we hadn't realized that until their team started to look at FR: EIA. Once she was dissected, they said there was an awful lot of fascia on here, and their concern was the shrinkage because that could damage some of the tissue, but also make her impossible to position. So they changed their positioning protocols for us so that she could be in the position through part of the plastination process that they wouldn't usually position them in. And during the lockdown process, I had to go back out to look at the positioning and do some of the positioning with the team, and my God, it was so tough that in some cases it was more robust than the bone was. I'll leave that part to imagination because there was a lot of things that happened there, but we couldn't move limbs until certain things had to happen because of the density of the fascia.
0:20:06.1 GC: So that was kind of interesting in terms of densification of tissue, when tissue hardens. Now, of course, it's not gonna harden all over like that and shrink down, but when we do start to see that there's limitation in tissue movement, that's then going to render the underlying musculature useless to some degree, can't function so well, but then this might describe why we do start to see the kind of injuries that we might see closer to joints and so on, but that's... We learned a lot from that.
0:20:37.3 KC: Let's take a short break to hear a word from our sponsors.
0:20:40.7 KC: Anatomy Trains is delighted to invite you to our in-person fascial dissection workshop, October 10-14, 2022. We're excited to be back in the lab with Anatomy Trains' author Tom Myers and master dissector Todd Garcia in Todd's Laboratory of Anatomical Enlightenment in Boulder, Colorado. Join students from around the world and from all types of manual movement and fitness professions to explore the real human form, not the images you get from books. Visit anatomytrains.com for details.
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0:21:54.9 KC: I'm so curious, talking about FR: EIA and this whole process being a teaching process, obviously for the viewer, yes, but I'm curious about for you. You are all fascia experts, everyone who is on the teams and working, what did you learn? Was there anything that surprised you like, "Oh, this is new information about fascia" because of this process?
0:22:15.4 GC: The difference in the tissues from our specimens that we practice on, that we would practice to make sure that would take with FR: EIA, and then when it came to actually working on FR: EIA was very different. It's obvious in a way, because we know that muscle sizes are different and so on, everything else is different, yet the differences within the fascial tissues I think far outweigh the differences that we might start to see in muscle mass and densities and even skin densities and so on. For instance, an area of the arm where we would work on... And it was a male arm, I think that was being worked on, so we were trying out some ideas that we were going to apply to FR: EIA.
0:22:54.8 GC: And where it took, I think a lot longer on the practice piece, but by the time it came to FR: EIA, it was like moving on butter, so almost having to not go so fast. But not only that, is that... And I say this quite often, and I don't know how PC it is really, I'm not sure... Is that when working in dissection, sometimes the form is not going to give up the goods easily to you. It makes sure you work damn hard for what you're looking for, and in some cases, it can just give it up readily 'cause it's ready to.
0:23:27.8 GC: I wonder sometimes whether the individual was as stubborn in life, in terms of how the tissue goes, but there's no correlation. You can't put those two things together, but it was an interesting thought that came up, and there was moments with FR: EIA where we would learn a lot about the way that the issues were, and the moment we thought that we could just go in there, "Right, I'm gonna go get this," something about her tissue just wouldn't let us and we had to down tools, back up, wait for a moment. Rachelle and I would walk around the huge Body Worlds exhibit that they had there, looking at some of their other structures and figure out how they did that, and something with the two of us would click, we'd go back, apply it to FR: EIA, and it's almost as if FR: EIA had said, "Yep, now you've found me. Let's go again." And it was just like working on a form... A body, sorry, when you're working in massage, and I'm a structural integration practitioner as well, so we meet those tissues at that sort of depth, and it's the same sometimes. We have to weight them back up.
0:24:23.6 RC: I would say that my anatomy understanding of fascia exploded. You go in thinking you know stuff and then you're like, "Wow." Okay, so like Gary even had said that we're talking about the burden of not just making sure that FR: EIA critiques, but also that she fulfilled the dreams. So many people have dreamed of being able to see this, and so to make sure that that was achieved, and there was a day where Gary talks about when on one of his walks that he's all of a sudden... No, it was in the middle of the night, wasn't it, that you bolted up in bed and said, "We have to dissect everything." Like this isn't just a project of an area, it's everything from head to toe. And I think even when we're studying fascia, we may study in one particular area, we get really comfortable with understanding, say the lumbar dorsal fascia or the plantar fascia or the IT band of the fascia lata, but have you really followed every last piece of that? Do you know how that follows then through the knee, and then what about all the compartments of the lower leg, and how does that transition into the retinaculum of the ankle? And there's all of these areas where you suddenly find yourself completely and totally lost.
0:25:31.3 RC: And what you thought you knew, you didn't know, and I would say if I would summarize it for me, probably what struck me the most were two things. Regarding fascia, was how interconnected everything is. It's a pretty generic thing to say, but so, so, so true. You cannot make clean lines and planes in the same way you can draw them, and that's what's done in all the drawings, even some of the famous drawings that we followed from the works of like Bergere. He has this beautiful book, this atlas, where he actually describes fascia quite well, but it's an artist line that was drawn, not a photograph where it becomes much muddier or much more complex of to where does this actually divide or where is the end of this plane, and suddenly it's become something else altogether.
0:26:17.8 RC: The other thing that was nothing to do with fascia per se was the intricacy of the vascular and nervous system. I don't think I've ever studied it to that depth within the tissue itself, but we were constantly, in this particular form with FR: EIA, her vascular system was injected with red plastic completely. So she... The red that you see on her was not painted on after the fact, it was actually injected throughout her vascular system. So it had a toughness to it that was actually stronger than the fascia was itself. Her actual tissue was quite a bit softer. So as we would be cutting, sometimes we would come to these hard areas, which was a vessel, and it may be at a capillary size, but it still was hard plastic.
0:27:01.7 RC: So we had to really work carefully because sometimes the tissue itself would be damaged as we were trying to get through the plastic, which was a beautiful teaching tool to have that vascular system highlighted on her. It shows you where there is more vascularity and how much there is, especially through the superficial fascia, but it was... It presented challenges. And then some of the other pieces that I worked on, like we said, we worked on pieces parallel to her so that we didn't do our first go on her, but on other pieces to get a sense of what we were doing. I just kept saying, "Oh, another bifurcation." I would constantly be heading to these bifurcations and bifurcations of both nerves and veins and arteries, and I think it makes me more aware now when I massage clients, when I come to lumps or bumps or "knots," sometimes I'm more aware of the fact that I may be actually interacting with neurovascular tissue as opposed to a muscle knot or a trigger point. It actually may very well be a part of the system that my mind is not necessarily focused on.
0:28:06.2 GC: Yes, and you would see around some of those neurovascular bundles, there would be more of a sort of a condensation of fascial tissue in there. So, where you've got gliding planes and then there's vessels that traverse those gliding plains, those vessels are acting as a bit of a spring-loaded return within the gliding plane, but sometimes when they don't glide so well, where you'd see densification, it would very quickly gather around the vessels as well, because the vessels are a nice highway of fascial directions at the same time. Because these fascial plains, even though they're on gliding plains, they're traveling along the vessels and blending to those areas, and then each vessel has got it's own density of fascia.
0:28:50.0 GC: And back to what Rachelle was saying about the plastic-infused blood vessels, of course, that slowed us down. That really slowed us down to some point where we were getting frustrated, but then we realized that we had quite a bit of time with her, because the initial first week or so of working with FR: EIA, there was the frenzy of dissectors that usually go through a week or two week long dissection where you can go from skin to bone in that time. FR: EIA was never gonna go from skin to bone like that. She was always going to be preservation. So we were dissecting to preserve, dissecting to save.
0:29:24.3 GC: So the process slowed us down, and it was probably like the longest bodywork session ever, but creating detail. But the beauty of it as well, is that we had a team of people that were movement and manual therapists. So there was points where I would stand back and look at the group working on her, and the delicacy of touch, the care of touch, the scalpel blades and the tweezers and the scissors were all used like paint brushes on her. So the level of touch was exquisite compared to the classic dissections that are going to get an end result. This was so different because everyone knew the tissues they were dealing with, even though on a new form like FR: EIA, they still offer up new challenges because that's a new person. We've never met that person's tissue before. But it was actually... It was mind-blowing to watch that. I would sometimes be mesmerized by how the team worked.
0:30:17.4 KC: I'm curious, what do you hope FR: EIA teaches manual therapists who are able to view her?
0:30:23.2 RC: It's such an excellent question. I think that there's so much to be gained and very much depends on what knowledge you come into with FR: EIA. I think you can come in knowing very little about what's beneath the skin and immediately visually capture a great deal of information. And then if your studies have gone to quite a level of depth, I think you'll find nuance or answers to questions that you didn't even know that you had. A lot of times even working with FR: EIA it caused us to go back to the books. Like, what are we even looking at here? Where are we? What is this? How come I don't remember this? And sometimes we would find it was a variation, and other times it was just something that we'd forgotten that we had studied at some point.
0:31:00.2 RC: For me, I feel one of FR: EIA's largest contributions to the massage community at large is how much exists from the skin before you ever reach the muscle. And I think that for over the years, in the past, my massage training over 20 years ago now, and many people's over the years, has been so muscle dominant and that we've spent a lot of time studying and memorizing muscles' origins and insertions, devoid of everything that's between the skin and that muscle. And there's some dense areas of fascia that we are familiar with, but they are only the densest of areas. The rest of it is exposed.
0:31:40.4 RC: Gary and I were talking recently about how even the muscle charts lie to us. Because the muscle charts are actually drawings of what an outside silhouette of a person looks like and making all of it muscle. And I'm here to tell you that even the most muscularly person that you can find, a lot of those curves are still fat, and the fat is an essential part of our body. It not only regulates temperature and hormone balance and is a carrier of our immune system, it is one of the largest areas of the body that we touch with knowing very, very little about. We don't understand its architecture, we don't understand its relationship to the skin, we don't understand its relationship to the muscle or the fascia that's beneath. So for my studies have delved deeply into this, I feel like I've become a lover of fat. [laughter] And that love affair began with the first dissections that we did in Gubin in preparation for FR: EIA, which was in January of 2018, where my job was to remove the superficial fascia, which is the fat layer of the abdomen. So I spent several days, five days with belly fat, and I... Nobody really likes their belly fat.
0:32:47.6 RC: I mean, it's not really something anybody is proud of, right? We're happy when it's not there or when it's really thin or where you can see the muscle coming through it, but I was so mesmerized by the architecture of it, by its relationship to the rectus abdominis and the rectus sheath beneath and the architecture of that, and since then I've learned so much more about how it is that our superficial fascia layer is the fascial bridge from our skin to the muscle, and that in certain areas it has a strong adherence, and in other areas it's intended to glide. It changes the way that I touch. I feel so much more before I even palpate the muscle, and the results that, working with people, I feel has shifted as well 'cause there's a sensitivity that's been added because there's a layer now that I understand that I didn't before.
0:33:34.9 GC: I fully agree there with Rachelle, because I think it's such an important medium to understand. And very briefly there, Rachelle, this whole thing is when you touch someone, you never touch somebody's muscles. You're touching the skin and then you're going through and what you're on that other tissue. So when someone's... If I'm massaging someone, I say, "Well, I'm not touching these muscles. If I lay a yoga mat over you and I say I'm touching your quadriceps, I'm not, 'cause I'm on the mat all the time." So for me along with that is that there's an underlying landscape, and this was very evident when I went into my first dissections, is that there is a world of shape under there. It's not just what the anatomy book shows us. It's got its own unique directions to it.
0:34:21.2 GC: Of course, hamstrings are where hamstrings are. You don't find a hamstring on the arm, but they're all different shapes to them and their textures are different, their landscape is different. And if I just go in working on someone's body thinking I'm going to impose the anatomy on them, then all I meet is a resistance in their tissues. But if I allow myself to wait a little and listen to the textures and the places Rachelle was talking about that she knows so well, that tissue then kind of parts and allows another landscape to come to my hands. And then I have to wait all over again because it's still a fascial tissue. It's just different architecture to it. It's still going to respond to my touch, and then if it yields enough, the doors open and it lets me through. But the tissues determine how I'm going to work, not me driving it in there.
0:35:14.9 GC: And if I just try to get the anatomy out of it, then of course those doors are just shut and there's a fight between the two bodies that it's just not worth it. So it's... I think it's such a valuable thing. So seeing FR: EIA that way, I'd hope that it would generate the eyes for that. As Rachelle and I were both witness to, something quite profound happened at the Congress is the visceral effect that FR: EIA had in a positive way on every single person that went to see her. And it was interesting because there was some people looking at her and you could see they were looking at her with their anatomy eyes. They were just standing looking straight at her, and Rachelle knows this, that FR: EIA's outstretched arm is inviting to you. And if you kneel down on the floor and you look at her fingertip, you see the spiral of tissue that we've designed around her and your eyes are led into her in a rotation, and you don't see her anatomically, you see her fluidly, and it's very different, but it takes a shift of perspective to see that.
0:36:18.7 RC: Well, we'd also like to just put a thank you out to the dozens of people. It's not just Gary and I. This project belongs to so, so many skilled dissectors, researchers and supporters of this project throughout. We all work together as a team. And I think as Gary has said before, without even just one of us, the whole thing probably would've fallen apart. It was quite a strong team effort. So thank you.
0:36:43.6 GC: Absolutely. We couldn't have done it without them. So, we're standing here because of them, and we're standing here because of all the research that's gone on before.
0:36:51.9 DB: Thank you so much. I wanna thank our guests today, Rachelle Clauson and Gary Carter. For more information about the good work that they're doing, visit the show notes to this podcast wherever you listen to our podcast. And also for more information, be sure to check out the September/October, 2022 issue of Massage and Body Work Magazine, where the article for Rachelle and Gary is laid out and you can see FR: EIA in all of her glory. Thank you so much, Rachelle, Gary and Kristin.
0:37:17.5 RC: Thank you so much for having us.
0:37:19.3 GC: Thank you. Thank you very much.
0:37:21.4 KC: Thank you Rachelle and Gary, not only for this incredible conversation today, but for all of the work, soul, effort, hours that you put into creating FR: EIA so she can be a beautiful teacher for all of us. Thank you so much.
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