Fascia Facts

Ask a Therapist

By Terry Ritter

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.

Q. I’ve heard a lot of talk about massage therapy and fascia, but I don’t know what “fascia” is ...

A. Terry Ritter is a bodyworker and owner of Evansville, Indiana-based Fascia Works. He explains, “Fascia is a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot without interruption. Trauma, posture, or inflammation can create a binding of fascia resulting in excessive pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and organs.” A range of afflictions, from physical and/or emotional trauma to prolonged stress and repetitive motion injuries, can lead to this condition.

When individuals feel pain (for instance in their neck, low back, forearms, or quadriceps), Ritter says they may be experiencing crimping in one or more areas of their fascia. And while the condition isn’t uncommon, “many of the standard scanning procedures, such as X-rays or CAT scans, do not show the fascial restriction,” he says.

Ritter is trained in myofascial release, a type of bodywork that emphasizes fascial manipulation. He says it is a gentle form of stretching where sustained pressure is applied to fascial restrictions, creating a profound and long-lasting effect on the body’s tissues.