Fasciology part 1
Science & Secrets
Week 1 : The world of Fascia.
Here is where you will find the science & secrets behind the art of Kalari.
This week I have not been very well and am unable to present a live video however I shall upload it in the next 2 or 3 days.
In the meantime - here is an article I have written on Fascia:
Fascia is the connective tissue that holds us together. It is the network of connections
that martial artists and manual therapists use as a map, when interacting with the body.
Fasciaology - An Introduction
In recent years, extensive medical research has identified the vital role of Fascia within the body. In early 2018 researchers found Fascia to be the largest organ of the body and to be present in every part of it (Benias et al, 2018). We must remember the definition on an organ is ‘a group of cells that perform the same function’. So although this new discovery was of a microscopic substance, the fact that it was so prevalent throughout the body, joining everything together and existing inside every organ that was examined, meant that the biomass of this new discovered organ was so great that it made it our largest organ.
Now the easiest way to visualise Fascia is to think of a 3 dimensional spiders web extending out in all directions into the space and as it does so it wraps around and encases everything it meets, encasing every bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and organ. It binds everything together and as it does so it gives structure, lubrication and communication between all body parts. It is essentially the glue that makes us whole. It gives an appropriate tension and integrity to the structures within every part of our body, keeping everything just where it is meant to be. It stretches out and as it does so the strands of the web become thinner and more mobile. Or, conversely, it gloops together and the strands become thicker and less mobile closing down spaces inside the body and creating malfunctioning joints and body compartments.
It is as tho every part of the body is ‘dipped’ in wax and that wax covering is the fascia. But it goes further, for go inside any of these structures and you will find they too, are all made of fascia. It is a dynamic living matrix of connective tissue that responds and adapts to how we store tension within us (Zugel et al, 2018). According to recent research by leading neuroscientists, the neuromyofascial web is considered to be an extension of our consciousness into every aspect of our body (Bordoni et al, 2018) .
Now, the building blocks of fascia are proteins and water. As we age the water content reduces, we dry out and in doing so our fascia becomes less mobile and more prone to injury. Our eyes lose their acuity as the muscles around the eye lose their ability to focus, our skin dries out and becomes wrinkled. In fact ageing can be described as a process of drying out! The research made in early 2018 named this newly discovered organ the 'Interstitium'. They claim that it is where the interstitial fluid resides and that any obstruction or adhesion within the matrix not only affects the flow of this fluid but also affects the flow of electricity and even light throughout the body (Benias et al, 2018). Current medical research by numerous neuroscientists is looking to further understand this light flow and in doing so, their findings will undoubtedly support claims made by body workers and manual therapists that their interventions have an influence on the health of this matrix and the flow of light within it (Bordoni et al, 2018).
Within this dynamic living structure we find lines of pull where muscles attach to other muscles and form tracks of tension within the body as a whole. These are primordial lines of pull that were laid down as our body unfolded from its fetal state. Lines which govern all our postural and movement patterns and it is disharmony in these lines that ultimately leads to disharmony and ill health in the body (Myers et al 2018).
The sister science to Kalarippayat is Kalari Chikitsa, its literal meaning being ‘battleground treatments’. It is a hands on system of codified massage and acupressure which works directly on the energetical meridian network, known in Ayurveda as nadis and the vital points along those lines known as the 'marma'. From a western science point of view, these marma points are where we find clusters of NMJs (Neuro Muscular Junctions), meaning it is a point of significant electrical stimulation within the musculoskeletal system.
In the martial art of Kalari these points are struck to cause harm in the form of paralysis, an act of forgiveness of your opponents anger and an intention to simply ‘switch off their fury’ rather than to fight them and cause lasting bodily harm; in the case of Kalari Chikitsa - the healing art - these points are activated through acupressure and an electrical charge (pizo/pressure charge) is sent down into the marma point / into the fluid matrix, to cause a stimulatory effect on light / electric flow (Zugel et al 2018).
Recent research has further identified that the meridian system of CTN (Chinese Traditional Medicine) and the nadi network of Ayurveda (which Kalari aligns with) are both energetical systems which appear to be mirroring the network of this myofascial system (Bai et al, 2011). What this means is that the energetical body is physically manifested in the fascia or conversely that the physical network of the fascial matrix provides the structure and framework for the energetical body. It is a chicken and egg situation which remains unanswered. Are we first energetical beings around which matter forms and creates tissue, muscle, ligament and bone or are we physical ones whose patterns and rhythms of behaviour define our energetical selves.
Benias et al (2018):
Bai et al (2011):
Zugel et al (2018):
Bordoni et al (2018): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2515690X17750750