Because fascia is so interconnected, snags—or adhesions, as pros call them—in one area can affect other other areas. "Imagine putting on multiple layers of long-sleeve shirts, and then think about how tugging on one of them would cause all of the other shirts to pull and stretch as well," says Cynthia Ribeiro, the president of the American Massage Therapy Association and a massage therapist. She stresses that you can't have healthy muscles without well-cared-for fascia.
The fix: There are different therapeutic methods to address keeping the fascia healthy, from intense, sometimes-excruciating Rolfing to gentle fascial unwinding to myofascial release, which usually involves loading the deeper tissues with force until they start to give. If you're chronically stiff and sore, or you have a muscle injury that just won't heal, consult a specialist to see what would be right for you. Massage therapists like Ribeiro and PTs like Wilmarth have seen clients for whom nothing seemed to work...until a type of fascial therapy helped melt away their pain and stiffness.
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