By Karrie Osborn
Fascia is fascinating. I didn’t truly know that until just a few years back, when I saw fascia in a way I’d never seen it before.
It was while working with French surgeon Jean-Claude Guimberteau, MD, for the September/October 2016 issue of Massage & Bodywork, that I had my fascia epiphany. His newly released book at the time, Architecture of Human Living Fascia, was eye-opening. Within it are hundreds of photographs Guimberteau captured using a digital endoscope to see and record what was happening to his surgical patients’ tissue as he worked through and around it. I believe those photographs and the accompanying videos convey something quite miraculous. For those who love anatomy and are astounded by the body’s complexity, you can’t look at these images and not be in awe of their depiction of the living fascial system.
“What we see in the book’s photographs and accompanying videos is both simple and complex; chaotic, yet organized,” I wrote at the time. “It’s fascia in its living form—much different from the often minimalistic illustrations depicted in most anatomy books or its hardened and lifeless form seen up close in cadaveric explorations. The results of Guimberteau’s look at ‘living’ fascia are forcing clinicians and researchers far and wide to think differently about this mysterious tissue.”
As I watched Guimberteau’s fascia videos again and again, the connectedness within the human body became more obvious than ever. As did the impact of touch. “The videotaped sequences leave no doubt. Any gesture of manual therapy has an impact at the cellular level,” Dr. Guimberteau told me. “However, the nature of this mechanical consequence and its therapeutic effect, for now, cannot be demonstrated and appreciated quantitatively and qualitatively.”
And that’s why he says much work remains: “We’re at the beginning of the exploration.”
Fascia for You
Read the full series of articles and watch the video from the September October 2016 issue of Massage & Bodywork:
“Finding Fascia: A Look Inside the Human Body” by Karrie Osborn
“The Living Fascia: Rethinking Our Assumptions” by Jean-Claude Guimberteau, MD
“Understanding Fascia: The Radical Story of an Adaptive System” by Thomas Myers
“Addressing Fascia with Myofascial Release: A Conversation with John Barnes” by Karrie Osborn