How to Destress at Home by Releasing Your Fascia

This post was written by our community creator Bonnie Crotzer of The Floss

How do you explain fascia to someone who has never heard the term before?

Fascia is a huge deal. Even though it was discarded by classical anatomists for centuries as if it was packing material, connective tissue is a major player in the body. Clinicians, acupuncturists and body workers have known for a long time that impacting the fascia can impact our health in a major way because it is the great connector, but now science is looking at it in detail. It is the one tissue that touches every other bit and piece of us (and it acts as a compartmentalizer, separating the lungs from the digestive zone for instance).

Fascia is the body’s foundational material (scaffolding so to speak), a matrix of hydrated semi-crystalline collagen fibers in varying tensile strengths and interweaving patterns that wraps around our organs, bones, tendons, ligaments, brain matter, etc. Fascia takes on the form of whatever it is wrapping while maintaining separation (for example between organs) and creating continuous connectivity throughout the body.  Recent research has shown that all past traumas, both physical and mental, are stored within the fascia causing its natural form to be disrupted and hardened to hold the body in a distressed state. And with repetitive movements and trauma, the density and mass of the fascia can impair movement, circulation, and the flow of lymph throughout the body. So when we feel a knot in any muscle it’s actually a build-up of fluid, toxins, adhesions and scar tissue within the fascia that’s unable to move within the lymphatic system of the body. 

You can imagine that benefiting your fascia may lead to a more relaxed body, a calmer nervous system (fascia wraps and supports the nerves too), and a more less tense state of being. 

Rolling out on a ball or a roller can be beneficial but can also cause discomfort or make our sympathetic nervous system turn on if there is too much sensation. Trying Fascia Flossing is an alternative that impacts the fascia on a deeper level, changing and releasing our tissue from the inside out. 

Take a spin with these two Fascia Flosses and see if they help you relax. Flossing does take some effort and patience but think of an Orgasm…there is some time and energy put in and then gives way to release.

This first Floss is specifically to release stress…we are working on your exterior energy, helping the body and mind to separate what your inner reality is versus the external aspects of life (that are not you) happening outside of yourself: 

-Get into tabletop position. Start on all fours with knees under hips, just a bit wider than hips, and forearms on the floor.  Place your elbows directly under your shoulders, and place your forearms parallel so they look like a # 11. 

-Most important part, you must engage your tissues by pressing down with your palms and forearms in the mat, and almost like you are trying to drag the mat toward your knees (but your arms won’t actually slide back in space). This actively engages the tissue you will be Flossing.

Tuck your toes under, and slowly pull your hips back to hover over your heels, while continuing to press down and back into the floor with your forearms. Your arms will straighten (without moving them),  as you sit into a child’s pose, feeling like your dragging your elbows back toward your knees. 

Then, slowly pull yourself forward, lifting hips, moving through all fours, and pushing your shoulders forward of your elbows. Repeat rocking back and forth 10 to 30 reps.

Hamstring Floss

Come into a kneeling lunge with right foot forward. The left leg stays back with left knee on mat, toes untucked, and torso over the right quad. Arms are straight by sides, hands under shoulders and either be on the floor (propped up on finger tips) or you can bring them onto two blocks or books. Flex right toes up to the sky, digging heel into the mat, actively pulling back in space (your right foot won’t really move backward) as you sit your hips back over left heel and straighten front leg. You should feel your right hamstring contracting as you lengthen it.  Come back to the starting position bringing your right foot down and lunging forward to feel stretch across the quad and hip of your left leg. Repeat 10 to 30 times on each side.

This floss allows the pelvis to come back into neutral position and stack the spine with more space between each vertebra, which relieves the low back and supports an erect posture, potentially overtime this move may also release neck pain.

Quad floss

Start lying on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, just above the knee (foot flexed). Press left knee into right ankle for resistance, then drop both legs over to the right side and slowly pull them back to center. Repeat 10–30 times and then switch to the other side.

This move is beneficial for TMJ as the fascial tissue of the jaw and quad live on the same meridian—the stomach meridian in TCM—with the quad having the densest amount of fascia along this particular chain. As the fascia from the quad releases, it will allow the jaw to release as well.

Some Flossing students have experienced improvement in their digestive and hormonal health since beginning their fascia flossing journey, which anecdotally makes sense seeing as de-stressing can have positive impacts on your gut and cortisol levels. But, of course, everyone will experience their own personal benefits. As a practitioner who feels more open and spacious in their body, Fascia Flossing impacts the health of the nervous system, relieving daily stress and eventually helping to resolve past traumas.

More about the author Bonnie Crotzer:

With an extensive and professional background in bodywork, movement and biomechanical flexibility and strength, Bonnie developed her method and platform The Floss to educate people on an often overlooked aspect of health – our fascia network.

Bonnie’s Fascia Flossing classes and private sessions re-sculpt the bod’s foundational structure through a personalized combination of physical manipulation, guided resistance movement and engaged muscle elongation techniques.

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