What is fascia?
Basically speaking, fascia is a web of fibrous connective tissue, mostly collagen, that's EVERYWHERE in your body. It wraps your organs, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, offering a sheath that enables body parts to move individually or as groups. Most importantly, it’s all connected.
One of the best analogies I’ve heard compares fascia to citrus. If you peel an orange, you have a single piece of fruit covered in “fruit fascia” (my term) that holds the orange together in a sphere; you can separate an individual slice, which in turn maintains its own shape thanks to the thin tissue you might think of as "slice fascia." Then, if you open up a slice, the juice is packaged into its own individual "pod of fascia." The result is a web of orangey goodness that gives the fruit its shape and function.
Fascia is the unsung hero of the human body
Danielle Girdano, a certified personal trainer and self-proclaimed “science geek,” makes no bones about it: “Fascia is the unsung hero of the human body -- it keeps everything in place! It keeps muscles in place and also lets them move independently. It’s the lubrication necessary for muscles to slide or move beside one another.”
More than that, it’s a fluid structure. When properly hydrated and healthy, it bends, twists, and moves, effectively making your body’s actions seamless and easy. There are no “hitches” or “cricks” that hinder normal movement patterns.
Girdano suggests thinking of fascia as a piece of kale (weird food analogies here, but they work). “A hydrated piece of kale can bend or twist and move without much issue. If, however, you dehydrate that same piece of kale, turning it into a kale chip, it can’t bend, twist, or move without breaking. The fascia tissue works the same way. When healthy, it allows free movement, but when unhealthy, it can become injured, leading to restricted movement and pain.”