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This Is Why Stretching Doesn’t Work…

A LOT of people have tightness that is uncomfortable and makes it hard to move well.

The solutions we are given? Stretch! Yoga! Massages!

Nothing wrong with any of these things. However, many people do these things and are still battling the same tightness for months, or even years.

What gives?!?

Enter fascia, the most underrated tissue in the human body.

It is thin, flexible, and stabilizing. It also covers large areas of the body allowing us dynamic movement as human beings.

Unfortunately, the lives we live are hard on the fascia. Accidents and injuries. Lack of movement. Stressed posture.

Over time, the fascia becomes inflexible and dehydrated.

The result? You guessed it - tightness and “muscle knots”

But until the fascia is released, the tightness persists. Which is why continuing to work on muscles may be a fast track to insanity.

Episode #8 of the Quantum Chiropractors podcast will teach you the full story and how to move forward.

To your tremendous health,

Dr. Jake

P.S. A FREE 10 minute phone consultation could change how you feel for the rest of your life.


Episode 8 Transcript:

Hello and welcome to episode number eight of the Quantum Chiropractor's Podcast. My name is Dr. Jake Dodds and today we're diving into a very important topic known as fascia. So we've been talking about there's two main things that are going to contribute towards your health. The first is structure. So your body needs to be able to get to a good position, hold itself in a good position, and be able to move well and fluidly if it's going to be able to feel good.

It's a foundational aspect of our health. So within structure, there's really four things or four major systems that play together that allow us to do that. We got our bones for the foundation. We got our nerves. We got our muscles and you can loop in ligaments and tendons with that. But the last one we have is called fascia and some people have heard of it.

Some people have it. A lot of people just have kind of heard it in passing don't have like a full understanding of what's going on with it. So what is fascia? Well, from a biological textbook perspective, it's a clear, thin connective tissue that covers pretty much everything in your whole body. So it covers your muscles, it covers your ligaments, it covers your tendons, it covers your organs.

It's everywhere. It's ubiquitous throughout the body. And they used to think it was like this nothing tissue, like when people were learning about the human body, they would see this stuff and they didn't really know what it did. And they're like, I guess it doesn't really do anything. What people are realizing, especially in the past three years, is that was a huge mistake and it's now being seen as the most underrated tissue in the human body.

And for good reason. It has a few really vital functions and we're going to talk about what it does from a structural perspective today. So again, it's like this clear, thin, saran wrap looking like tissue and it's covering everything. So you may say, big deal, who cares? Well, it has these interesting properties to it.

So it actually operates like these huge, stretchy rubber bands. And the distribution is interesting and critical to how we move as human beings. Because it's a lot more broad than what we think of for muscles. So muscle is going to run from one joint to the other, typically. So like our bicep, it runs from our elbow, it goes up to the shoulder.

When it contracts, it has a motion. Um, pretty much same thing for the rest of the body. You know, some of the muscles in the legs are obviously a little longer because it's a longer part of our body, but fascia can literally run from the base of your skull all the way down to your sacrum, for example, or all the way from underneath the chin towards the top of the pelvis.

So these really big distributions, and again, they operate as these nice, big, flexible rubber band sheets. So it's actually a huge part of locomotion. Uh, one of my favorite descriptions is... If you just have your hand on a table and you lift your finger, that's a muscle. If you lift your finger and you peel it back up and you let it fly, boom, fascia.

It has that elasticity, springy motion to it. Anything we do, especially any dynamic movement or powerful movement as human beings, is dependent on that stretchy tissue functioning well over these big distributions, whether that's a cross sling between the shoulder and the pelvis, or a deep anterior line that goes from the neck all the way down in towards the abdomen and the ab muscles.

So again, very underrated in terms of how we exist in gravity as human beings. Now what happens and the problems that come up with fascia is first of all, it gets dehydrated. So when we have accidents or injuries or we have general wear and tear throughout the course of our lifetime or we're not moving a whole lot, a lot of us are spending a lot of time in front of computers, sitting in cars, on the couch, and everything's like cushy and we're sinking into it and we end up, a lot of us end up in this hunched up state, right?

And when all of those things happen and combine and it's going on for years and again you sprinkle in some bigger accidents or injuries with it, the fascia, the first thing that will happen is it gets tightened. So it contracts and it thickens. As it thickens, it loses its elasticity and it starts to stick to itself.

So we lose a lot of that functionality and you hear it from people all the time. It's like, man, I try to turn my head and it's like I'm stuck in a vice grip or it feels like... Somebody's got a rope that is tying me down and I can't move. People literally feel like they're stuck inside their own bodies.

As that happens, the tissue also starts to become dehydrated. So I would say it's kind of like if you put a sponge under a sink and it's nice and squishy and then you just leave it on the counter for like a month. It's like weird and hard and it doesn't move at all. Same thing for fascia. We need to keep it hydrated.

It needs to be able to move well if it's going to function well. So what I want you to do. I want you to take your right hand, pull on the right side of your shirt about the ribs. And I want to see where you feel the tension at. So you feel it on your left ribs, right? So it's tightening on the right and it's pulling the shirt closer to that tightness.

And you get the tension on the opposite side. So the reason I want to do this with you is because a lot of people have tension in their bodies and they're like, yeah, I'm feeling tension on this left side. I'm going to stretch this left side. But. If we have this constriction point, and the fascia often does this, it pulls on this big distribution and we get the tightness at a different place than where the dysfunction is happening.

So this is where so many people find stretching ineffective because like, man, I keep stretching and it still feels so tight, but nothing feels like it's working. It feels better for like a day and then it comes right back. And another way I like to look at this is if the muscle has, uh, adhered fascia in it like this, and it's got a big knot in it.

When you're pulling on this rubber band, the knot gets tighter. So if you're stretching, it tends to create more of the same for yourself. And for that reason, I'm not a huge fan of stretching, especially if you've been dealing with chronic tightness for longer than three to six months. So, a much better way to interact with the fascia and get these adhesions and the thickening and the dehydration back on track, myofascial release.

It can be as simple as taking your finger and finding where those knots are or where it feels like it's thick or it's like, man, I, yeah, it feels like somebody like stuck a bone in the middle of my muscle kind of thing. Those are the type of points you're looking for. Um, instead of like this deep rub or all these different crazy movements, if you can just park it at that point.

for two to five minutes. So a long sustained hold is going to create some slack in the tissue and allow things to start to unwind and open back up. It's going to create some pliability and the more of that hydration that comes in, the more it's going to function like it's supposed to. So the big things I wanted to take away from today is that fascia is everywhere.

It's hugely important to the structure of our bodies. When tightness comes up, it's oftentimes a fascial issue that's pulling on the muscles rather than the other way around. And instead of stretching, using a gentle sustained hold at those fascial constriction points is going to be the best way to go.

So, the rabbit hole goes even deeper with fascia. It does some other really cool things that we're going to talk about in takeaways. Gentle myofascial release to start to get this back on track and make sure you can get your body to the correct position so you can feel and you move like you want to for a lifetime.

Thanks guys. I'll talk to you in future episodes.

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