What’s all the Fuzz about?
What is “Fuzz”? Fuzz is another name for the three -dimensional sheet of connective tissue that actually “connects” all parts of the body.
The “Fuzz”, also known as Fascia, is what connects the skin to the muscle, the muscle to the bone and the organs to each other. The “Fuzz” is what enables our muscles to glide over each other, it lubricates and insulates as it envelops all the different parts of the body, including every tendon, muscle, bone organ, ligament, nerve and artery. And just as the all parts of the universe are interconnected, so are all parts of the human body.
Now, picture a spider’s web. When something touches one part of the spider’s web, the whole web moves, the spider feels the energy shift in the web and knows where to find the new food. This same idea transfers when thinking about how the “Fuzz” works in the body. The web and the “Fuzz” are the communication system. You can also think of the “Fuzz” as a copper wire that transmits life energy through the whole body. This whole body communication system is receptive to information from all parts of the body. This is how an injury on the toe can impact the stress and pain felt in the knee or how a kink in the neck can create tension in the arm or even the leg.
So, why am I telling you about this amazing “Fuzz”? Because it is the key to unlocking your body’s performance potential and/or your body’s experience of pain. Stored up physical, mental and emotional energy that is locked in this Fascia needs to be released in order for the body to heal and reach maximum potential. This stored up negative energy can produce pain, chronic illness and disease over time.
Until recently, the importance of this powerful networking system has been overlooked by the mainstream. Contrary to what we once believed, it is the tensile strength of our connective tissue (the “Fuzz”/Fascia), not the bony skeleton, that holds up our body. Healthy “Fuzz” is silky and smooth and actually facilitates motion, by allowing muscles to glide over each other. The “Fuzz” warms up our body to move quickly and keeps everything well hydrated by acting as a container for our fluid body. When Fascia is not used enough it stiffens, thickens and becomes sticky. This can happen from a sedentary lifestyle or from stress and/or injury when we are forced to be immobile. Fascia cannot due it’s job as a communicator when it becomes thick and sticky and energy cannot effectively travel through our body, leading to limited range of motion, energy blockages and pain.
It is a myth that we shrink and stiffen as we age. We do not need to loose range of motion and mobility. We can keep a healthy spine and we can lengthen and expand the body by working with the Fascia. Skilled body workers and therapists can achieve great healing potential by manually manipulating the “Fuzz” and melting away the knots.
Everyone can benefit from healthy “Fuzz” and enjoy a greater level of wellness, by stretching and moving on a daily basis. Dancers and athletes can achieve greater flexibility by stretching the whole body and not just the specific part they want have more flexibility in and weightlifters can achieve greater range of motion with stretching. Yoga is a great way to maintain healthy Fascia. People who are confined to beds and chairs can achieve increased range of motion and a higher quality of life by moving daily, even minimal movements can work wonders. Obesity can create thicker layers of Fascia and require daily stretching and moving just to maintain minimal mobility.
In addition to Yoga, there are many ways to get moving and nourish your inner “Fuzz.” Find the one that works for you! Some ideas: Dancing, running, Zumba, Nia, walking, hiking, skating, biking and martial arts. Swimming can be great for those who have joint pain. Movement centered therapies may be something to consider, such as Continuum and Body-centered Psycho-therapy. For more serious knots and injuries working with a skilled physical therapist or Masseuse may be what you need.
I challenge you to try these 5 simple steps to achieve a higher quality of life, healthy “Fuzz”, and in turn a healthy body mind and spirit.
Commit Daily To:
Step 1: Hydrate: Drink a minimum of 2 quarts of pure, clean water every day.
Step 2: Stretch: To work through connective tissue and release tension held in the “Fuzz” you need to sustain a low intensity stretch for at least 90 seconds and up to 2 minutes.
Step 3: Movement: Any kind and everyday! Whether you are sitting in an office all day or an athlete, every half hour get up and move. Humans were not designed to sit often, but we were designed to move. So get moving! Find something that you enjoy! And just do it!
Step 4: Eat Clean: We need plenty of Vitamin C to maintain a healthy “Fuzz”, eat fresh fruits and vegetables and better yet, juice them. Your system will be more hydrated and nourished from all the vitamins and minerals and communication between all systems can be restored.
Step 5: Gratitude: Love your body. This is your body. It is amazing! Doesn’t it deserve respect? In this great little book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, reminds us that our body is a manifestation of the Divine and when you honor this gift, your life will change. When you practice giving your body love daily, and loving all parts of your body, your love will grow into a deep respect and every thought, move and feeling can be a prayer and a way to communicate and connect with our higher purpose.
TRY THIS: A Tennis or Golf Ball Exercise.
Step 1: Standing up, I want you to touch your toes or as close as you can. Pay close attention to any tight areas and stress in you feel in your body.
Step 2: Now, take off your shoes and use a tennis ball or a golf ball, and stand with one foot over the ball. Gently roll your foot over the ball, using the weight of your body for added pressure and massage the bottom of your foot this way for 5-6 minutes.
Step 3: Repeat on the other foot. Each foot will feel different because we hold stress in different places.
Step 4: Now try touching your toes again. Do you find that previous areas of tightness and stress have dissipated? If so, this is because the Fascia on the bottom of your foot can communicate to your whole body! Pretty cool huh?
This exercise is a great way to release tension anywhere in the body, but especially in the knees and back. You may also try using the tennis ball or a foam roller to explore various parts of your body such as your thighs, gluteus muscles, back and shoulders to release hard to reach stress spots. Through love, for our body, we can enjoy a sense of health and well-being and have the energy to live our dreams.
Shakaia Francois is a R.N., B.S.N. and Certified Health and Wellness Coach, as well as, a Licensed Zumba Instructor.
She currently lives in Long Beach, Ca and loves it. She enjoys healthy living, which includes daily working out, dancing salsa,eating clean and juicing veggies . She is motivated to share her passion for wellness with you through writing, education, health coaching and movement therapy. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
and find her on FB under Shakaia Francois. Her website, www.healthwellnessnurse.com
will be soon be available as a resource as well (in September).
1997, Ruiz, Don Miguel. The Four Agreements, A Personal Guide to Freedom. Amber-Allen Publishing San Rafael, Ca
2001, Durkin, Todd. What is Fascia? Underground Wellness. Talk Radio Video located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WlLNRLBRYQ&feature=related
2004, Burras, Jon. Yoga and Fascia. Located at: http://www.jonburras.com/articles.html
2005, Hedley, Gil. Fascia and Stretching: the “Fuzz” Speech. Video located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FtSP-tkSug&feature=player_embedded
2008, Myofascial Release. Video Located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3L2EAO5xC8&feature=fvwrel
2009, Healing Motion. Understanding Fascia. Located at: http://www.healing-motion.com/MFR/fascia.html
2011, April. Performance Training Institute. Located at: http://www.performancetraininginstitute.com.au/2011/04/whats-all-the-fuss-about-fascia/
2011, Cooley, Bob The Genius of Flexibility Center Boston. The Skinny on Fascia and RFST. Located at: http://www.thegeniusofflexibility.com/resistance-stretching/fascia-rfst-skinny.html
2012. Belanger, Megan. Fascia, “Fuzz,” the Saran Wrap of Our Bodies and Why It’s So Important, Part One. Whole Person Health. Located at http://therapeutic-massage.wholepersonhealth.com/?p=56
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