Fascial Fluid Dynamics

I just had the honor of attending an amazing webinar series from Tom Meyers.  It was all about fascia and had some great recent updates into what they’ve been discovering about it.  Today (3/22/17) is World Water Day, so I figured I would share with you some of the fascinating stuff he covered about water and how intimately it’s connected to your fascia.

slowballoon

Get ready to give your brain a splash of information (and water puns)

I’ve previously talked about Fascia and hydration for your brain and body.  Feel free to click those links and refresh yourself on those concepts if you’d like to.

I’ll go a bit more in depth today in:

  • How water/fluid rushes in and out of muscles as you exercise.
  • How hydration plays a part in the gliding of your fascia.

So grab a tall glass of H2O and let’s get ready to go!

takeasip


Myofascial Sponge:

Most of the water in your body is stored in your Myofascia (muscle and fascia).  One of the cool things I learned from Tom Meyers is that your Achilles tendon is 63% water! Every human is different.  Bernie Clark in his book Your Body, Your Yoga details how some people can be about 50% water while others can be up to 80%.  Either way a good portion of your body is liquid.

It’s stored in your tissue by Proteoglycans attached to the collagen and muscle fibers:

bottle_brush_proteoglycan_structure1310324639533.jpg

  • Green lines: Collagen fibers
  • Pink chords: Muscle fibers
  • Feathery things: Proteoglycans – Where water is stored in your Myofascia

Proteoglycans hold water in your Intercellular Matrix, or the space between your cells.  It gives your fascia it’s gooey quality, capable of being deformed yet still able to retain it’s natural structure.  Plus it’s thought that the water may help distribute tension and force.

This area behaves much like a sponge,  it retains water when at rest and it gets flushed out when the muscle moves.  

spongesqueeze.gif

The process of exercising squeezes out water when you contract muscles and move, then allows water to come back in when you rest.  Ever feel that extra boost in vitality when you take a mid set break, or a child’s pose in a yoga class?  That’s likely been influenced by water rushing back in to your Myofascia while you rested.

Water rushing in and out is good for the health of your Myofascia too.  When the water leaves it takes away cellular waste and when it rushes in it brings in proteins and other good nutrients for your cells.


Fascia & Glide:

Fascia is in many many different layers in your body.  In fact your body moves based on the gliding or sliding of these layers upon each other.  Gliding and therefore quality of fascial movement is influenced by the amount of water in the Myofascia.

  • Less water means less of a gooey quality and creates more friction between the layers.  
  • More water lubricates the layers and allows for a smoother glide.

One of the most notable layers is the superficial fascia (or top/outermost layer) and how it interacts with your skin.  Here’s the skin of a rat being pulled over the muscle.  You can see the fascial web where the two connect.

fascia4

Pretty cool right?  You can practically see the water stored in the fascia and muscle based on the glistening in the photo.  Water is sooooooooo important for healthy movement!

hotspray

& Healthy movement is hot 😉


Dehydration & Injury:

So we’ve seen now how water is stored in your body.  How it rushes in and out of your Myofascia like a sponge when you move.  Plus we’ve seen how movement occurs in the body via fascial glide.

Now allow me to detail what happens when there isn’t enough water in your body

Cue ominous music: Dun…Dun…Dun..

scaredlittlegirl.gif

Maybe take a sip of water, then read on

It’s actually quite simple: You’re much more prone to injury

  • When your body is dehydrated your Myofascia loses it’s ability to glide and more friction is created when you move (instead of shiny and gooey it’s more like beef jerky)
    • It’s also possible that this is one way how fascial adhesions form, or stickiness between the two fascial layers that should glide, rather than glue together.
  • Via the pumping/sponge mechanism your muscles are no longer efficient at removing waste and they are no longer getting adequate nutrition.

This is why it’s important to hydrate before, during, and after you work out to assure that you have an adequate supply of water to the area.  When you’re dehydrated and don’t have enough water you’re much more prone to injury.

One thing you may not realize is that consecutive workouts without adequate rest can compromise the water levels of your Myofascia.  This applies to the person that was possibly lazy over the weekend and decides to spend an extra hour at the gym, another game of tennis, or takes an additional yoga class on top of the one they just did.  Basically they go beyond their normal limit, without giving their body time to refill and refresh.  They’re now going into that additional bout of exercise without proper hydration in their muscles and fascia.

This extended workout time can be conditioned, but know it takes time, needs to be done in small increments, and doesn’t occur overnight.  You also need to properly prepare with adequate hydration before, during, and after.  For example: if you want to do two yoga classes back to back, maybe take a 30 min- 1 hour break, drink some water, then go back (or one class in the morning, one at night).

waterballoon

Dehydration hits hard, that’s why it’s important to rest and listen to your body!


That’s It!

Water is pretty important.  It’s always a good thing to make sure you respect your body and supply it with the materials it needs to be strong and efficient.  Working out dehydrated is a really dumb idea.  Take some time to prep, drink water before, during, and after you work out and be nice to your body by avoiding overloading.    If you want to push your limits do so slowly rather than all out and get adequate hydration to accommodate.

waterboy

Water is also really good for your brain.  Check out my other post here!

Stay gooey friends,

Dr. YG

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