A New Way of Knowing

Fabulous Fascia

By Leslie A. Young
[Editor's Note]

They said it would be groundbreaking. They said there had been no conference like it that connected massage therapists, bodyworkers, physicians, and scientists from around the globe. Naturally, my interest was piqued. The year was 2007, and this was the inaugural International Fascia Congress.
I didn’t know what to expect, but they—so many of our distinguished Massage & Bodywork contributors—were flocking to Boston for the occasion. When Leon Chaitow, Erik Dalton, Thomas Myers, Diana Thompson, and Ruth Werner are all on their tippy-toes, so am I. I was curious, but they were giddy.
Initially, it was difficult to comprehend that the ooey-gooey substance we throw out as we cut up a chicken for dinner is alive. Yes, it looks like snot, but it’s a dynamic, fluid, intelligent system. It took Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau’s initial endoscopic videography taken during surgeries to prove that this fuzz called fascia is a natural force to be reckoned with. I watched the story unfold on the big screen in the lecture hall at Harvard Medical School, mesmerized along with 700 other awestruck observers representing 28 countries and 60 disciplines.  
As the conference progressed, I developed a strong sense of the importance of research and evidence-based work in our profession, as well as a need for a common language with MDs and PhDs. I was co-hosting the Massage Therapy Foundation table, which was a wonderful gathering place for meaningful exchanges. In the auditorium, I listened to bedside-to-bench conversation after conversation and presentation after presentation where scientists compared notes with practitioners. What the scientists were coming to know, the massage therapists and bodyworkers had always felt at their fingertips.
Now, just short of a decade later, the insights sparked in Boston that week are inspiration for this issue of Massage & Bodywork. Be gentle with yourself as you dive into this content. It’s tough and gritty, but insightful and magical. Back in 2007, I didn’t understand it all—dare I say, no one could comprehend all the data and the implications. But I absorbed as much as I could, and so did my colleagues, and I invite you to do that with this issue.
As I look back with a historic lens, I’m struck by everyone’s willingness and capacity to accept a new way of knowing. In this issue, Thomas Myers writes about how grateful he is to live in this time of discovery and “to have been shocked, humbled, delighted, and finally changed by the arresting and important images” Dr. Guimberteau unveiled.
As we look forward, I can’t help but wonder: What else don’t we know? What else is possible in our dynamic world of massage and bodywork? It’s clear to me this new paradigm wouldn’t be progressive and useful if so many key individuals weren’t willing to be extraordinarily curious, tenacious, and vulnerable. They’re lifelong learners—as we all should be.

Leslie A. Young, PhD