What is Fascial Tension?

Fascia is the stuff that keeps us together. It is what gives us our form and what makes it possible for us to work our amazing bodies in the ways we do.

Fascial Tension is the way that Fascia works to help us stay upright, move dance and play. It helps us live, but it can also hold us back if there is too much of it in a certain direction.

Most people learn anatomy by learning about the bones and the muscles that attach to them. This is a good start, but is not really an accurate picture of our true anatomy. We are not just a skeleton held together with muscles and ligaments. A better picture is to imagine a mass of tissues including muscles, bones and ligaments, bound together, organised and coordinated by a complex web of fascia.

Imagine your fascia as looking like an enormous spider web that covers over every one of your muscles and links it to the next one. It intertwines with everything in your body, including your stomach, your lungs, your eyes and your toes.

If you have ever seen a raw chicken before it is prepared for cooking, you may remember an iridescent layer between the flesh of the muscles and the skin. This is the fascia of the chicken, and it looks pretty much the same in humans!

Therapists all over the world have been working with the concept of Fascial Tension for generations. Ida Rolf, Thomas Myers and many others worked on the theory that tension in our bodies is held in the system of connective tissue that covers over and runs through every muscle in our bodies. They all had their different theories about how tension was best released or used, but all agreed that tension could be held in different areas due to poor movement patterns, emotional tension or chronic postures.

I have seen (and felt) such amazing results with working on the fascial system that I had to find a way to teach this to the world. The myth of flexibility having anything to do with “Short Muscles” has been promoted for far too long, and it is time that some more effective, more truthful and more intelligent techniques are used to achieve our potential!

To check out one of my favorite techniques for releasing fascial tension in your body, click on the link below to watch the video. 


8 Responses to “What is Fascial Tension?”

  1. Mallory Says:

    You know the foam rollers used to help sore muscles? They are supposed to ‘unstick’ your fascia… Could this help with flexibility?

  2. Lisa Says:

    This is fascinating, as I am extremely tight and I have fibromyalgia. It’s becoming clear to me that the two things MUST be related, especially with the ongoing problems I have with muscle spasms in my neck. I also have extremely tender “trigger points” in my glutes, so I’m going to work those with my pinky ball and see if my flexibility improves. Thanks for the info!

  3. lisahowell Says:

    Hi Mallory,

    Yes! I love Foam Rollers and use them a lot in the clinic. They can be a great tool for loosening off the fascia, especially in the upper part of your leg.

    Do take care to go gently with any release techniques. Remember that you are trying to relax the area rather than physically “break up” the fascia as some people describe it!

    Work slowly, and avoid any areas that have an acute injury or are tender to touch normally. You dont want to exacerbate an injury while trying to improve!

    I hope this helps!


  4. rajas Says:

    the more i read , the more curious i became to try ur exercises .
    but , pls tell me – is ur dvd available in india?

  5. lisahowell Says:

    Hi Rajas

    Hahaha – Yes – it does make people curious! And YES! The dvd is available to anyone all over the world. We can ship from either Australia or the USA to any country, so that everyone can use this program. Enjoy!

  6. How To Get Your Flexibility Back After A Growth Spurt! Says:

    […] Transversus Abdominis rather than your ‘6 pack’ abdominals – Rectus Abdominis. Fascial Tension – While muscle tissue is actually quite soft, the fascial covering that lies over it can hold […]

  7. Fern Says:

    Which video are you talking about? Is it the sub occipital one? I was amazed by that video but I’m wondering if there are exercises we can do on ourselves (without the help of foam rollers and stuff) because that doesn’t look like one we can perform on ourselves. Thanks :).

    Hi Fern,

    Yes indeed we were referring to the sub-occipital release video. In actual fact you can try doing this release on yourself. Just try in a sitting or lying position and place your thumbs over the areas described in the video and gently massage in a circular motion.

    Kind Regards
    Physiotherapist for Dancers

  8. Brenda Says:

    I”m 14 and I’m really trying to get my splits down because I’m on my high school cheerleading squad. I’m doing the 30 day splits challenge but it really hurts wih I finish stretching. I’m on day 15 and got down way further than the beginning but I really don’t look forward to the stretching everyday. If it didn’t hurt so bad u wouldn’t mind it but stretching is the only way I’ve known how to get flexible.

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