The most present cell type in the extracellular matrix (connective tissue network) is fibroblasts. Our lifestyle and stress affects the building of connective tissue, which can quickly thicken and change.


Collagen: the tissue’s glue that holds it together. Built of proteins bundled together into varying types of fibers. Collagen gives stature, form and stability to the body.

Fibroblasts: Cells that secrete collagen proteins. When fibroblasts are stretched or pressed, they can double their production.

Collagenase: Secretes enzymes that break down the peptide bonds in collagen, to prevent abnormal collagen growth during for example scarring.

Myofibroblasts: Arises from fibroblasts that have been stimulated to change their shape and function. These have similar character as smooth muscle cells, and can be contracted. These come into play in the repair of damaged tissue. A major trauma is required for this process to start.

Soft muscle cells: Are obviously present in soft muscle tissue, but surprisingly also in the connective tissue. These can perform slow involuntary contractions and may therefore create movement in the connective tissue.

Integrins: A protein that is vital for cell-to-cell communication in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The integrins binds together the ECM to all cell membranes and can communicate to the cell what, is happening outside. The cell cannot just “taste” the chemical environment, but also knows what is happening in that environment.

Fibronectin: glue-like substance that integrins adhere to.

Elastin: Allows the body to regain its original shape after stretching.

Fibrillin: Molds elastic fibers that give strength and flexibility to the connective tissue.

Fat: Shock absorbing and insulating.

Transforming growth factor: Protein that controls growth

The Fascia’s slide bearings: Contains proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid

Stimulation of connective tissue provides an increased volume of the fluid filled slide bearings.

Most sensory receptors are located in the superficial connective tissue and it explains why many manual superficial therapies hurt. It also explains the nonspecific pain that can occur in large areas, and which can be released during effective treatment of connective tissue. It seems that vibration therapy can release locked nerve signals that cause muscles and connective tissue to keep a constant state of contraction. Muscles that have been in convulsions for a long time can quickly regain their normal muscle tone from vibration therapy that affects the receptors in the connective tissue and muscle spindles.

As previously stated, the connective tissue contains up to six times more nerve endings and is very important for the body’s functioning in general. If the fascia function has decreased, that disrupts the nervous system as well- a negative spiral is initiated.