Most of the therapies I do basically work on the connective tissue (also known as fascia) so I thought I’d explain what the connective tissue (CT) is and how it works. It’s also a simple anatomy lesson that should help you understand a little more about your own body and how the therapies I practice help your body heal itself.
What is Connective Tissue?
A lot of people ask me, “So what is it that you do?” After feeling the results of the therapy, many clients think I practice some sort of voodoo or magic, which is flattering, but not exactly accurate. In order to balance the nervous system and organs in the body, I work on the connective tissue.
Connective tissue is what holds you together. It is the most abundant type of tissue in the body, it gives you and your organs their shape and holds you together, therefore it plays a very important role in postural alignment and the overall state of your health.
Simply put, connective tissue is the glue or saran wrap of the body. It bundles muscle cells together to create a muscle belly, it then connects the muscle to the bone via the tendons and bone to bone via ligaments.
Because the CT is so prevalent and is one continuous sheath throughout the body, a “snag” or adhesion in one location can cause pain and discomfort in another. To help you visualize this, take the bottom of your shirt and pull it towards your hip. You can see that a line of tension is created in your shirt from the point where you are pulling it and up to your chest, shoulder, neck, etc. depending the direction you pull it in. The spot that is causing the “pull” is what we call an adhesion. This pull is a big deal because it can create misalignments throughout the body. Walking around in a misaligned body is like driving around in a car with misaligned tires…eventually there is wear and tear on the joints that can eventually cause pain and dysfunction.
What causes adhesions?
Adhesions are caused primarily by inflammation. Inflammation can be triggered by injuries or by any number of factors like infections, allergies, etc.
How is connective tissue treated?
My job as a CranioSacral Therapist is to find adhesions in the connective tissue and release them. I do this by identifying the area where the tissue is tight and then applying a small amount of pressure or a tug to the area and follow the direction of the pull. When I find the area that is adhered I encourage the tissue to unravel itself and when it does, this is called a “release.” When the connective tissue is released, I often find that the nerves in the area are freed up, which then help the muscles relax, and once the muscles relax they stop pulling on the bones (that they’re attached to) and since the muscle isn’t tugging on the bone anymore, the bone can realign itself. I can also release adhesions in the sheaths along nerves and the fascia that keep organs in place to alleviate more specific dysfunctions.
To the person on the treatment table, it feels like magic because my touch is light, and because the changes are subtle they don’t always feel the adhesions or the releases. The magic in this therapy is that it recognizes that the body wants to heal itself and find balance, sometimes it just needs a tug in the right direction.