Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fascial Fitness Seminar by Thomas Myers in Boston

Thomas Myers is the author of Anatomy Trains.

A book about the way things are connected from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.  There are several "trains" that make up the body.  It's a great book and has been profoundly influential on how we look at, treat and train the body.

If you haven't read it.  Get it.  It's great.  He was one of the reasons I signed up for the seminar I took this past weekend in Boston.  I wanted to hear and learn from him for awhile.  I will talk about a few other's later this week or next.

First, Myers has about as much influence on our knowledge of practical application of the newest fascial information you can find.  He can go off a bit on some interesting tangents...ala Paul Check and get into the spiritual side of body work ect...but it's hard not to listen.

So here are some notes and thoughts from the lecture.

1/2 of what we know will be wrong in 20 years.  The problem is we don't now which half.  So always keep an open mind.  Stuff that doesn't work but should, stuff that shouldn't work and it does.  There will never be an absolute.  Don't get stuck with that mindset.  Example,  "Five years ago, I would have stood up here and stated absolutely, fascia does not contract!  We now know that fascia does contract and has a profound impact on contractions.

Look at the posture of depressed people.  They are stuck on the exhale. Breath out as hard as you can and hold that posture.  Feel the tension and compression in your body.  We know there is a serotonin problem.  But could there possibly be a breathing problem?   Fascially, look at the pecs, scalene, SCM and get that diaphragm fully engaged.

He thinks a lot of the ADHD we see in kids these days is coming from a lack of people not inhabiting their body correctly.  How I took it was the things like art, music and sport are being taken away and there isn't enough stimulation neurally to get a proper release.

Fascia is stronger then steel.  Just sounds cool.

Women with hysterectomies have a destroyed fascial pelvic floor.  (from my own thoughts, the diaphragm will have to be free along with the psoas to help stabilize the inner core)

We now know when you lift a weight or pull on a muscle.  That muscle is only doing about 50% of the load. Other structures around the joint are being used.  This is most evident with the lower leg.

That knot you find about the medial top shoulder blade from the levator scapulae will not improve if posture remains a problem.  He calls it the forward head strap preventer.

A new gem I learned is that a muscle will have different tendencies of dysfunction.  It can be eccentrically loaded which will be painful and people will complain about the pain.  You can also have a concentrically loaded where it is again dysfunction but will not be painful.  Eccentrically will be long and tight.  Concentrically will be short and tight.  Very interesting.

Very interesting point.  Myofibroblast can pull significantly on the extracellular matrix.  Extracellular matrix is everything that isn't a cell to put it simply.  The environment that you cells live in.  Fibers and glue ect....Now the real interesting point is that athletes have more myofibroblasts then non athletes.  What we don't know is if there born that way or is it because of training.  I would tend to be on the side that it can be trained for.  (not sure how)  Everything we are learning lately is that we are in control, epigenetics ect.  Now how much more can we get?  That will be something to keep your eye on.

These myofibroblasts are heavily present in the thoracolumbar, crural fascia.  They are also super prevalent in Dupuytrens Contracture in the palms.

From research there are to types of fascial individuals.  Viking fascia and what he calls temple dancers.  Viking people are stiff and temple are loose.  The theory is that it takes more energy because of the friction and stiffness to move and thus creates heat.

He gives this little test to see what you are naturally.  Flex your wrist down and pull your thumb towards your forearm.  The closer you get your thumb to the forearm the less Viking you are.  If you get your thumb to your forearm, your what he calls a temple dancer.  Fluid and less stiff individual.  I am somewhere in the middle, more temple dancer I believe then Viking though.


He believes we are in the Fascial Health decade and that's where the research will be.  70's was power, 80's aerobics, 90's neural coordination, 00's core.

Fascia transmits force globally.  Fascia listens with it's many sensors.  Fascia has 10x more sensors then a muscles.

Fascial fitness was the title of his lecture.  Train the long myofascial slings.  Don't isolate muscle.  He think this is a horrible idea.  (I personally do believe there is a time and place for isolating a muscle)  What he is getting at is that the body is one piece.  When you start doing leg extensions...ect.  You are training your body to not be fluid, not be a spring.

Stretch in multiple variations.  He actually has some cool fascial stretches that I will discuss at a later date.  It would be to hard to explain without pics or video.

Cultivate elastic rebound.  An example is doing push ups off a wall.  Stand, fall into the wall and push to a standing position.  Train preparatory counter movement.  Think jumping.  ( this was big concept with many of the strength coaches I listened to over the weekend)



It takes 6-24 months for fascial changes.  I believe he was speaking about permanent changes that need no intervention for global patterns.

He gave an interesting example of a nationally ranked older German weight lifter that took a vegetable brush and brushed it all over his body before he attempted big lifts.  He said it turns his fascia on through enhanced proprioception.  This will be an interesting experiment.  You see it all the times in sprinters before they get in the blocks.  They are hitting their quads, glutes, hams.....like saying "Wake up!"

Facial health comes down to posture, nutrition and hydration.

3 comments:

Amy Scheer said...

I've been hearing a lo about body brushing lately, mostly through the raw food movement. I tried it for a while and didn't notice any major changes, but it does wake you up nicely!

Jason Ross said...

How were you testing it? I would be interested in hearing. Thanks

Amy Scheer said...

I first heard about it from Natalia Rose's books. A basic bath brush will do--long handle is helpful, coarse bristles but not so hard they'll hurt your skin. Different people have different methods, but the basic idea is that you do this in the morning before a shower or bath, and that you start from the feet and move up (to make the energy flow upward). Usually two brushes for each "strip" of skin, then some circles around the navel, that sort of thing.