“Fascia is the system that touches all the other systems.” — James L Oschman, PhD
Back in 2008, I was spending a lot of time in LA.
I grew attached to the lifestyle—the slower pace, outdoor activities, farmers markets and this one workout created by Anna Rahe called “GST” or Gridflow Somatic Technology. In those classes was the first time I hear the word fascia.
I learned that fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place) in the body. Considering how important it sounded, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. Nineteenth-century anatomist Erasmus Wilson called this tissue “a natural bandage, a system of human anatomy.” It’s been described as “the inner matrix that shapes our health” and even “a new type of sensory organ.”
I was instantly fascinated, so much so that I wanted to get certified in GST. I had finally found a workout that was primarily about healing, combining so many different modalities.
Anna was a bit early to the boutique workout craze. When I came back to NYC, I was able to find one GST teacher in Bushwick and I would go before work for regular classes. My body never felt so good. Then, sadly, that lone studio closed.
Ultimately, my journey continued with yoga instead and I ended up getting certified in 2011 through Yogaworks. It wasn’t until years later that the concept of fascia would come back into my life through my friend Bonnie Crotzer, who teaches a class called The Floss. And I am obsessed yet again!
In fact, I am so compelled by what she has created that I asked her to help curate this month’s content, focusing on, yes, fascia itself. Like GST, The Floss empowers you to heal yourself through specific movements. And, in this case, she uses acupuncture points as way to increase energy flow, so you feel amazing after class.
But that wasn’t the only reason I chose fascia as a focus. This past September, I was setting up yoga mats in our new studio space when something weird happened to my back. Suddenly, I couldn’t sit down. It was beyond painful and frustrating as back injuries tend to be. I’m an active person and nothing I did seemed to help.
Finally, a colleague recommended I see a fascial manipulation specialist, Dr. Stephen F. Oswald, who has been working in this specific realm for most of his career. His name has come up several times since then through word-of-mouth and he is indeed a magical worker. His approach is extremely holistic and healed me as much as sixty-percent in only two sessions.
His approach to fascia incorporates each individual’s history, as he assesses how experiences—even dating as far back as childhood—have imprinted on the body. That could be surgeries (leaving scar tissue), broken bones or even emotional trauma. He works from those points and releases the fascia, so it no longer holds onto those memories. I am hooked and continue to see him as much as I can. We don’t realize how much we have stored that needs to be released!
As with everything, it is a process. I am beyond excited to introduce you to some experts in this world who are changing people’s lives daily. Fascia is a whole body practice—detoxing organs, releasing emotions, relieving pain—so don’t be afraid to go deep as that’s where the best results happen. Isn’t that always the way?
Healing and releasing fascia takes a multi-layered approach. Fascia itself is a private internal communication network to free your emotions and energy and, of course, treat pain. The body holds on and remembers everything that ever happened to it. Releasing fascia releases these memories and experiences that negatively impact the physical body. After all, the human body is a unity of connection. Fascia plays a huge part in that web.