Fascial Dysfunction: Manual Therapy Approaches

9th March 2015

Leon Chaitow has gathered contributions from twenty leading experts for this helpful guide to the latest research and therapy approaches to fascial dysfunction.  An authority on fascia, Chaitow begins with an outline of current definitions and explanations of this important, multi-purpose tissue, which over the past decade has been the topic of exciting scientific research.  At present, there is a variety of therapeutic approaches claiming to specifically deal with fascial dysfunction, which (as with soft tissues in general) is caused by a number of reasons such as overuse, postural issues, injury, etc.  Chaitow highlights the need for a rigorous understanding in order to provide truly effective treatments and rehabilitation advice.  Although there are still disagreements over fascia’s functions and how to manually treat it, experts agree on its inter-linking properties; namely from a cellular level to a structural and biomechanical level, it has connective, communicative and feedback influences on the function of the body as a whole.

Thomas Myers’ chapter summarizes his interpretation of the body’s main fascial pathways, or Anatomy Trains, and how this can inform postural assessments and treatments that work towards addressing any imbalances and dysfunction.  Chaitow then outlines further modes of assessment and palpation, as well as the effects of manual therapies on fascia.  The following chapters cover current treatment modalities, including the Bowen Technique (written by Michelle Watson and Julian Baker): gentle and osteopathy-like, this includes a skin-rolling manoeuvre followed by pauses that allow for the central nervous system to respond.  Robert Schleip and Divo Gitta Müller look at the approach taken by sports science, with particular reference to elastic recoil, fascial stretch, fascial release and proprioceptive refinement.  Paolo Tozzi explains the gentle method of fascial unwinding, in which ‘The operator engages the restricted tissues/joint by unfolding the pattern of dysfunctional vectors associated with the inherent fascial motion’ (p.147).  Jonathan Martine’s chapter on the long-established method of Rolfing Structural Integration asserts that ‘the Rolf Ten-Series offers a systematic approach to reorganizing the body and its movement in relationship to the force of gravity and its environment (Maitland 1995)’ (215).  Other modalities described are massage therapy; instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization; dry needling; muscle energy; neuromuscular; and positional release techniques, all keeping the therapist up-to-date and well informed.

Review by Catherine Stone @ Massage World Magazine

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