FASCIA AND AGING by Larry Heisler, M.A., LMT, reprinted from "NEW JERSEY MASSAGE" 5-7-23
(with extra added content by Saintorr, LMT)
It annoys me when I hear therapists asking their clients what they would like to accomplish in their massage session.
It makes the client think they need to have a reason, a pain, a complaint or some condition to get and enjoy a massage.
Almost as if it is a frivolous luxury.
Is it just me or are folks on the East Coast more prone to thinking about massage as an occasional splurge or a gift to themselves to celebrate a special occasion as opposed to the “West Coast state of mind”which is “Massage should be a part of every healthy person’s regimen?”
There are endless benefits to getting a massage.
Not least of which is longevity.
Just by breaking up the hardness, increasing circulation and flushing the body with oxygen, you are genuinely enriching your client's life.
(In every bio I write I state “the primary therapeutic purpose of massage is to keep soft tissues soft!”)
Part of our soft tissue assessment might be the question,
“Are there any areas you would like me to concentrate on today?”
Very often, as we age, we become very armored and tight.
Our fascia develops a lot of adhesions and those adhesions can pull mightily on our joints initiating pain and discomfort.
The next time you buy a chicken breast, notice the transparent layer of tissue (much like "Saran Wrap") that covers chicken breast and other parts of the chicken. You can almost peel it off with a knife and your fingers; THAT is fascia!).
As the masseur breaks up those adhesions, that pull will lessen and very often the pain will subside and even go away.
As we get older, we get tighter, harder, shorter, stiffer, colder. We get armored!
Did you ever hear the phrase that’s used when a horse is at the end of its life?
It is said to be, “Ready for the glue factory.”
That’s the proverbial picture of a horse with the sunken back.
Weird as it may sound, horses like all mammals are good for making glue because they contain a lot of collagen.
Collagen is a key protein found in abundance in mammals and the word is derived from the Greek word for glue, kola.
Collagen is the single most abundant protein found in mammals, being present in everything from horns, hooves, bone, skin, tendons, ligaments, fascia, cartilage and muscle. It’s a glue that provides great tensile strength and support.
In humans, collagen makes up approximately 25 to 35% of the proteins within the body.
Well fascia is actually a sheet or a band of connective tissue that’s primarily collagen.
So, here’s what I’m getting at…
As we age, we get tighter, harder, shorter, stiffer, colder.
We get armored!
I’m going to make up some words now to make a point.
We become more stickier, more gluier.
Did you ever have a pet that died?
Like a pussy cat?
By the end of the day, the rigor mortise sets in, and that animal’s body becomes stiff and rigid.
You can pick it up by the tail and fan yourself. Yes, that rigid.
I know, bad example.
But there’s an important point.
Just like the horse ready for the glue factory.
For us humans, rigor mortise (postmortem rigidity), sets in way before you die!
I’ve been saying this one line for over forty years.
So let me say it one more time so you can hear it loud and clear.
Rigor mortise sets in way before you die!
You can see the rigidity, the frozen zones, when you watch people walk.
Sometimes even when they are young.
So, here's a thought...
Our first GOAL as a massage therapist, should be to break up the hardness, and keep soft tissues soft!
"My rule," find the hard, cold areas and you'll find the problems.
Also, good to know...
Anytime you increase circulation, you speed healing and lessen pain.
That's why heat works, ice works, ultrasound definitely works,
even magnets can increase circulation.
(hot steam packs) can take the Charley out of the horse.
KEEP IN MIND...
A great massage therapist prepares an area prior to delving into the triggers.
Deep tissue work should never, ever hurt!
Slowly, gradually desensitize.
Like peeling an onion, one layer at a time.
But even then, some folks will be sore after a session.
That's where the steam packs (hydrocollators) do their wonders.
Why do you think Bob Hope, Rose Kennedy, George Burns and
Queen Elizabeth of England called massage therapists their fountain of youth?
All of them got a deep tissue massage DAILY!
That was their secret to their great longevity.
Deep tissue massage keeps soft tissue soft!