The Foundations of a Fascial Maneuver

zones of the body

WHAT IS A FASCIAL MANEUVER?

A fascial maneuver is a mix of intention, movement, and breath. It releases tension restricting our movements and bodily functions. Performing the maneuvers can eradicate pain and initiate healing in every aspect of the body, from muscular dysfunction to hormonal imbalance.

The founders of Human Garage and its students have had radical full-life transformations from consistently doing the fascial maneuvers. Regularly practicing the maneuvers is only a piece of the puzzle: choosing to eat organically, maintain healthy relationships, and keep your home space toxin-free are also crucial factors of embodying our philosophy.

ZONES OF THE BODY

There are three zones of the body, and all of them are engaged during a fascial maneuver. The first zone is the neck and the head. The second zone is the shoulders down to the hips. The legs are the final, third zone. Ideally, pressure distribution is even between all three zones. In reality, most people have different levels of pressure in each zone because of fascial tension and restriction. In the Fascia Fundamentals section, we will explain how we use counter-rotation to activate each zone.

Fascial zones of the body

FASCIA FUNDAMENTALS

INTENTION

Setting an intention allows all the systems of the body to coordinate and organize themselves to create the most impact. Having a clear intention is more effective than taking physical action.

This is because of the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Everyone’s brain has a RAS, a neural network developed primarily in our formative years based on experiences. The RAS holds personal narratives about self and our worldview. It’s a protective mechanism of the mind. However, most people’s RAS has been impacted by unresolved trauma and it results in self-limiting beliefs that keep them stuck both mentally and physically.

The RAS can be reprogrammed and used as a powerful tool. That’s where intention comes in: it allows us to gradually realign our beliefs with our greatest benefit.

For example: if you intend to stretch a muscle before you start a fascial maneuver, your mind will automatically focus on the muscle and that’s what you will accomplish. The mind-to-muscle connection will take over. However, if you set the intention to release the restrictions in the fascia AROUND the muscle, then your brain will focus on the fascia, and you create a new mind-to-fascia connection.

PIN AND LOCK

Pinning and locking the skin at different points of the body targets specific areas of fascia for release. Pinning refers to the subtle twisting or stretching movement you initiate to activate the fascia. Locking refers to the steady grip you will hold on the skin to prevent it from moving. Nearly every fascial maneuver will start with a pin and lock.

COUNTER-ROTATION

Counter-rotation is the natural movement pattern of the body. The body is divided into three zones: the head, the torso, and the legs. In a healthy body, movement in one zone causes counter-rotation in the other zones to achieve balance.

Our fascia is wound in a spiraling shape throughout the body which is what causes these oppositional forces. While standing still, counter-rotation is very subtle, but it can be more easily felt and observed when walking or laying in the fetal position. When we walk, one arm goes forward while the other goes backward, the head turns slightly one way and the torso turns the other way, one leg rotates inward and the other rotates outward, and in unison all these counter-rotations create an equal pressure distribution throughout the body with each step.

Fascial maneuvers use counter-rotation to restore the body’s natural flow. Counter-rotation combined with internal pressure from breath has an effect akin to wringing out a towel. It pushes stagnant tension out of the fascia.

MOVE SLOWLY

We have realized slow and steady movements are necessary for fascial maneuvers to be successful. This is because sudden motion sends a message to the body that it’s under threat. When the body senses a threat, its muscles contract to stabilize and protect itself. We refer to this as the musculoskeletal defense system.

When doing fascial maneuvers, go slowly and try to hit every angle around the area of pinned fascia to get the best release.

BREATHE

Breath is a key part of releasing the fascia because it expands the body from the inside out. With intention and specific breathing techniques, we can drive air into compressed areas of the body, adding a new dimension to the fascial stretch.

Breathing through the nose drives more pressure into the upper half of the body, from the diaphragm to the chest, shoulders, arms, neck, and head. Breathing through the mouth drives pressure into the lower half of the body, from the diaphragm down to the pelvic floor. The deeper the breathing, the more layers of fascia that will be released.

During maneuvers, we ask you to switch between nose, mouth, and staged breaths. Each breath pattern has an intention and a minimum effective number of breaths to produce results. If you have other breathing practices you would like to incorporate into the maneuvers, or want to add more than the minimum amount of breaths, we encourage you to play around and find out what works best for your body.

WALK

After each maneuver, we recommend going for a short walk. Walking is the best way for the body to adapt to new changes in pressure and range of motion and integrate the effect of the maneuver fully.

For every three minutes of walking, the fascia creates a new template of movement and sends it to the brain, which calculates the most efficient way for the body to move. This can be observed in individuals who fall and sustain an injury, who take several minutes to “walk it off” before the body begins to integrate new compensation programs to move around the injury.

OBSERVE

When doing the fascial maneuvers it’s important to observe the changes that you experience. Observation not only speeds up your integration of the changes, but it also helps you connect deeper with what does and doesn’t work for your body.

After you do a maneuver, take note of the feeling it gives you. Did you feel looser or tighter? Did you feel energized or more exhausted? Has your perception of your surroundings changed: are you seeing clearly, or does it appear brighter wherever you are?

Recognizing the change in sensory perception and feelings allows you to fine-tune your bodily awareness, which improves not only the way you do maneuvers but how well you respond to your body’s needs.

If you enjoyed learning more about the fascial maneuvers, stay tuned for Human Garage’s Complete Guide to the Fascial Maneuvers which is coming out soon!

Try out the fascial maneuvers for yourself here.

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