“The old research premises within our
anatomical field are no longer valid” – Dr Heike Jäger

Around the world there is an ongoing revolution within the anatomical research field, turning the way we view our bodies upside down and setting a new standard for how we conduct research. 

Dr Heike Jäger, neuro physiologist and specialist in muscular deseases, chronic pain and back ache at the Fascia Research Center at the University of Ulm, Germany, is one of those leading this development. According to her, the old premises for anatomical research are no longer valid.

The reason being this wildfire of new discoveries that is challening our conventional view of the human body. One such example (Rein et al, 2014) is the discovery of a new type of nerv endings in the tissue, previously unknown to us.

“This forces us back to an observing stage. New discoveries show that we know too little to provide answers”

New discoveries awakens new realizations. In Dr. Jäger’s case, it happened in the 90s when she began studying Fascia and problems in the lower back region, with the help of ultrasound and new measuring methods.

  • Still, how did we end up here and what impact does it have on how we view the body? 
  • On this page we have gathered the ideas behind this new approach to anatomical research.
  • In addition we have also just began an extensive literature study on Fascia, inflammation and pain to the back and neck togehter with Dr. Heike Jäger and Professor Karl E Arfors. We hope to be able to present it here in April, 2018.

Introduction: Why is Fascia still such a mystery to us?

We have identified three main reasons for our unawareness of Fascia and its key role in the functionality of the body. It might be helpful to bare these in mind when relating to current and previous research.

 

If suddenly research pops up that claims “hey! Everything you learned during all the years you studied was based on the wrong perspective – you have missed one of the most central parts “it is not easy to accept that.

  1. New field of research: Fascia research is no more than 40-50 years old; during a majority of that time it has been fragmented and disintegrated. What researchers in Germany found did not reach fellow researchers in the US, and so on. The first Fascia Research Congress was held in 2007, marking the beginning of the unification of ongoing research in the world. Atlasblans attended the fourth Fascia Research Congress in September 2015. A number of recorded interviews from that event can be found on this page.
  2. Contradicts previous knowledge: These new research findings turn previous knowledge about the body upside down. Text books on anatomy speaks little about Fascia. If suddenly research pops up that claims “hey! Everything you learned during all the years you studied was based on the wrong perspective – you have missed one of the most central parts “it is not easy to accept that”.
  3. New paradigm, new perspective: Tom Myers believes, somewhat jokingly, that the Fascia research will have the same groundbreaking impact on the paradigm shift for biology as the difference between Newtons’ mechanical universe and Ensteins’ e=mc2. A bit pretentious, maybe, but in one way it is like hearing about Earth being round when you always have thought it to be flat. Old perspectives, beliefs and habits die hard. The new is often difficult to accept.

New paradigm, new perspective

How do we understand things from another perspective?

To understand another perspective it helps to take a closer look at our own. Why do “we” look at the world jus the way “we” do?

One way of finding out the origin of our perspective is to look at the ideology history. Ideas we today take for granted, how and where did they originate?

Ideology history is, without doubt, a complex science but we took the liberty to create a simplified descrpition:

Questions previous knowledge

To understand Fascia you first need to grasp the whole, and thereafter the parts

We have known about the existance of tissue for as long as there has been studies of the internal body. But if you open a book on anatomy not much is written about tissue/Fascia.

We have dissected the body to understand the individual parts. We have cut in organs, muscles and skeleton; we have conducted close-up studies on cells – but when doing so we have also carved through the tissue.

Gil Headly has dissected bodies since the 70s and was one of those who started paying attention to what he actually carved through.

He believes that it is important to begin seeing the body as a whole rather than in parts. When you realize that the fascia first of all exists and secondly, have an important function, a realization follows that you cannot turn back from and you will view the body as one whole. If you study a muscle, an organ or a bone, the fascia is always around, and some parts are linked together with other parts – you simply have to see the whole picture.

At first this may be difficult because we have been trained in seeing parts, not the whole. It will take readiness to accept new research and admit to having had the wrong perspective; that we have missed one of the most central pieces. Not easy, we know.

Not a system of muscles and skeleton enveloped in Fascia but a system of Fascia containing muscles and skeleton

Since the 70s Tom Myers has been one of the strongest proponents for increasing the understanding of the Fascia.

“Fascia exists everywhere in you body. Your brain is wrapped in Fascia, your heart is embraced in Fascia, your intenstines are enclosed in Fascia and the same with your muscles and joints; they are all envoloped in this fibrous tissue. Fascia is the biologal structure holding us together.

We have been talking about the musculoskeletal system but when talking about bones and muscles we exclude the system that connects these together. Sure, we talk about tendons and ligaments, but as separate sturctures while the biological contsrutcion is all-embracing.Thanks to latest research, which in real is no more than 10 years, this has now been confirmed”.

A holistic view also means understanding that the root of a problem often is to be found elsewhere: e.g. a dysfunction in your foot may cause a problem in your hip, which in turn may cause pain in your neck. We do not pay attention to the whole, because we are too focused on the individual body parts, instead of how they are all connected.

 

New field of research

Why has not more research been done sooner?

Fascia research is no more than 40-50 years old; during a majority of that time studies have been fragmented and disintegrated. What researchers in Germany found did not reach fellow researchers in the US, and so on. The first Fascia Research Congress was held in 2007, marking the beginning of the unification of ongoing research in the world. In September 2015 the fourth Fascia Research Congress took place.

In early 2013, a German documentary was broadcast based on the latest research Fascia. It provides a very basic introduction for newcomers. The entire documentary is just over 30 minutes, but for those who quickly want to get an overview, we have cut together a shorter version:

 

  • Why no one has been able to examine Fascia until now
  • Travel into the body – how the Fascia looks on the inside
  • Graphic explaining how the Fascia affects the immune and nerve signals, among other things
  • Why the Fascia is vital for our movement

The new knowledge about Fasica has taken us back to an observing stage

Dr Heike Jäger, neuro physiologist and specialist in muscular deseases, chronic pain and back ache at the Fascia Research Center at the University of Ulm, Germany.

Since the 90s Dr. Jäger has been conducting groundbreaking research on Fascia and problems in the lower back region, with the help of ultrasound and new measuring methods. Together with her colleagues she challenges conventional beliefs about the human body and sets a new standard for anatomical research.

Their findings are astounding. One example (Rein et al, 2014) is the discovery of a new type of nerve endings in the tissue, previously unknown to us.

According to Dr. Jäger, the old premises for anatomical research are no longer valid. The new discoveries and knowledge about Fascia has taken us back to an observing stage – we have to investiagte our surroundings to get an understanding for what to measure.

 

A sample from recent research

Fascia inflammation causing neck and back pain?

  • In a sedentary service society and increasingly digitized world, more people suffer from back and neck problems; problems that lead to impaired quality of living and longer sick leave.
  • In recent years new research (Gordh et al 2011, Mense et al 2015, & Wilke et al 2017) show a direct link between pain and inflammation of the tissue (Fascia).
  • Inflammation is the body’s natural way of healing but if continued, inflammation will result in pain.
  • Drawn-out inflammation may have many causes, for example: poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, a healing process that has gone wrong, or repetitive, monotonous movements (e.g. tennis elbow).

Fascia in horses and validation of Facia Wave Treatment

Veterinary Dr. Vibeke Sødring Elbrønd has found, through autopsy, that the horse has the same kind of chains and networks of connective tissue through the body; just as Tom Myers found in humans. They are called “myofascial chains in horses”.

Since the horse is a quadruped these lines, also described as chains, are 90% consistent with humans. Vibeke’s study was presented at the Fascia Research Congress in Washington DC, September 2015.

Validation of Facia Wave Treatment

To test her hypothesis Dr. Elbrønd used Atalsbalans’ Fascia Wave Treatment machine on six horses. The machine validated as effective since all six test subjects showed decreased tension and improved blood flow.

List of studies

Atlasbalans has started an extensive literature study (over 150 hours) on Fascia, inflammation and pain to the back and neck together with Dr. Heike Jäger and Professor Karl E Arfors.We hope to be able to present it here in April, 2018.

 

  • Link between back pain and Fascia of the lower back (lumbodorsal Fascia) Wilke et al 2017
  • Discovery of a few unclassified nerv endings – Rein et al 2014
  • Summary of a study examining pain of the lower back, Fascia and inflammation  – Mense et al 2015
  • Link between whiplash injuries and inflammation of muscles (and tissues) – Linnman et al 2011

Recommended films and lectures

Crawl under the skin – what live Fascia looks like!

Dr. Jean Claeude Guimberteau takes us on a fascinating journey under the skin. With small camcorders, he has managed to capture alive Fascia. As we have previously seen Fascia during dissection of dead people and animals, Guimberteaus film gives us a deeper understanding of how living tissue functions and how complex, but ingenious our body actually is.

Stretching, tissue, chronic pain and cancer

Dr. Helene Langevin is Director of Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In this film she explains the importance tissue plays in the functionality of the body and how Fascia is interrelated with the immune system.  She talks about new discoveries about stretching: the beneficial effect it has on inflammation and its link to chronic pain and cancer.

What happens during the Fascia Wave Treatment?

Fascia Wave Treatment and Inflammation

Fascia wave treatment with the machine AtlasOrange1 is an innovative way to treat connective tissue and muscle tension, reducing inflammation and increasing mobility.

Treatment results from approximately 200 therapists in Sweden, the EU and the US indicate that inflammation-related disorders are alleviated or completely overcome.

Many people who have been treated, experience reduced problems with back and neck pain. Fascia wave treatment in horses, have led to trotting horses running faster and jumping horses, to a greater extent, remaining injury free.

Treatment with Waves and Vibrations

NEURONS IN THE CONNECTIVE TISSUE:

It has been found that in the connective tissue there are six times more neurons than in for example muscles. There are neurons for both pain reception and position determination. These neurons are affected by vibrations and varied movement which may explain why those with AtlasOrange1 receive both pain relief and increased elasticity in tissues. (1)

FLUID IS TRANSPORTED VIA CONNECTIVE TISSUE:

Recently, a German researcher showed that the connective tissue in a human transports 15 l of water in 48 hours, which is a relatively large amount compared to for example the amount of blood and the lymphatic system. (2)

There are several studies showing that manual therapy largely involves the movement of water in tissue. In many trials, it has been shown that in manual therapy it is not about tissue processing, but about increasing the flow of water in the tissue. (3, 4). The same report shows that by using static vibration we can increase the flow of fluid in the tissue from 3-12 times depending on the frequency.

We filmed the machine’s effect on water with a high speed camera (600 frames / second). The clip shows Program # 1 and all its variety.

Sources

(1) Fascial plasticity – a new neurobiological explanation- Part 1 (Shleip 2002), (2) Looking in particular at flow of fluid through that tissue (Reed 2011), (3) Mathematical Analysis of the Flow of Hyaluronic Acid Around Fascia During (Roma et al 2013), (4) A theoretical framework for the role of fascia in manual therapy (Simmonds et al 2010)

Do you want to know more about Fascia?

Do you want to learn more about Fascia and how important it is for our health and wellness? Then you are in the right place!

We have gathered a lot of information regarding Fascia on our website, trying to explain Fascia and new research in the easiest way possible.