Fascia is connective tissue that is more than a sheath or layer of tissue – rather it is an interconnecting, interweaving webbing that runs throughout your entire body, wrapping around your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and organs. Fascia literally forms our bodies! If we removed the fascia, everything would fall apart. However, if we removed everything but our fascia, we would still see the shape of our bodies. Fascia connects everything physically, and within that structure it is also a master communicator in our bodies, sending signals through an electrical circuit, known as qi in Chinese Medicine. But when fascia is dense and unhealthy, this circuitry breaks down, as the qi flows in and through the fascia. When we improve the state of our fascia, not only do we remove the root cause of stiffness and pain, we also directly affect energy systems of our bodies. We then experience better energy reduced stress, more mobility, better digestion and sleep, better posture, true flexibility (more on that soon), healthier organs and happy joints.
The formula for Fascia FLO is simple, yet effective:
F is for Flex: we begin each movement with the target muscle in a shortened position.
L is for Lengthen: while maintaining that contraction or resistance, we move in a way to lengthen that muscle group
O is for Observe: while lengthening, we observe when the resistance begins to fade – and when it does – we stop and reset to repeat the FLO
When we move in this way, the tensile force integrates the fascia and restructures it on a cellular level, making it healthier and more functional. The key is the resistance WITH the lengthening.
Not only do we engage the densified fascia to clean it up, we activate the energy meridians running in the fascial planes. It’s a beautiful, harmonious system!
No. Traditional stretching only focuses on lengthening, or “stretch-ing” whereas FLO helps muscles become more flexible in all ways (contracting, lengthening, twisting). And regular or traditional stretching can cause more problems. When we stretch in end ranges as we’ve been taught, the body has to go in and repair micro-tears, which leads to more fascia and scar tissue in the area (complicating areas of pain and stiffness).
No! Fascia literally holds us together. Without it, we would not have structure in our bodies. Our bones and organs are held together in the structure created by our fascia. By association, when the fascia is dysfunctional, it interferes with this structural integrity. Moreover, the fascia is the master connector and communicator in our bodies. In short, we need our fascia. And our fascia needs us – to help it function optimally.
Let’s revisit the term flexible. It’s not stretch-ible. Our muscles are meant to make a variety of movements to move our limbs and move us in space. That capacity to stretch or lengthen is our range of motion. Not our flexibility. True flexibility, then, is the ability of our muscles lengthen AND to contract (flex!), and twist. When fascia is dense and inflexible, it acts like a straight jacket, restricting the muscle from contracting, lengthening, and rotating. Clean up the fascia and we free up the muscles. Not only do they lengthen in an appropriate range, they contract and rotate better. We are stronger, more flexible, and move with ease.
You can still enjoy those forms of movement if you wish. But fascia is different than muscle. Fascia is the only tissue in our body that connects all the other tissues, and even permeates tissues. Fascia is its own unique tissue, and requires its own unique movement – that movement is FLO.
We have been schooled that stretching a muscle long is better. Have we been stretching wrong all along? It seems so. As overstretching and moving into end ranges takes the stretch out of the belly of the muscle and into the joints. The result? The body responds to these micro-tears by laying down more fascia to repair the instability – boom, we now have scar tissue which is more densified, problematic fascia. The good news? Our bodies are intelligent and always looking to return to homeostasis. You can learn how to stretch better, the Fascia FLO way.
Yes, for sure it feels good. There is a temporarily relief of tension, and also a release of feel-good chemicals in the body called endorphins (hormones) in the body. So we do indeed feel good. But is it serving us to stretch this way? As we sleep, the body then needs to go in and repair those small tears created with over-stretching. We then wake up feeling tense, stiff or in pain and start the process all over again.
No. You need a willing spirit, and a commitment to practice. We do work on the floor sometimes, so these items might be helpful for you to have (but not necessary as you can always pull cushions/blankets from home):
- A sticky (“yoga”) mat. If you have sensitive knees, you may want a thicker mat or a knee pad. Not all our practices are on our mats/knees, but it’s important to be comfortable – even if you don’t have sensitive knees.
- Sometimes we use yoga blocks. You can also use books or other home props.
- When we work on our backs, it can be helpful to prop the neck and shoulders. Cushions work fine or you can look at a yoga bolster.
You absolutely can, if you practice. The people that show up and do the work are the ones that experience these shifts. And it is work to create this change. It doesn’t hurt, but it does require effort. Not everyone wants to make the effort. But those that do? Those are the testimonials.
Absolutely. Unlike traditional stretching which go into joint structures, Fascia FLO does not go into joint structures. Rather, the movement stays in the belly of the muscles and surrounding fascia. When your improve the health of the fascia, your muscles will become stronger and will be recruited to move your body (rather than your joints).
Yes! One of the benefits of this movement is that we increase our muscle tone as we buff up the fascia. You will also experience a cardio response. This movement can step in as an all-in-one workout!
It depends. This is very personal, it varies based on how much dense fascia you have in areas and how often you practice. Results can be expected, just stay with your practice and make notes of even subtle shifts.
This also depends. You will become more in tune with what your body needs with time and practice. In general, try to practice 2-3 times a week, perhaps for a half-hour or more. Then see what you need in a day. Once you get on top of your tissue health, you may want to do a specific few stretches every day for 10 minutes. Other days you may want a longer whole body flow.
Let’s distinguish pain and soreness. This should never add pain to the body. Soreness a day or two after a session is normal, as we are using a lot of strength to make these movements, the muscles are getting a workout. But this soreness is in the muscles, rather than having pain in the joints. There are some things you can do to reduce soreness. Be sure to drink a lot of water during the day and to eat very nourishing, nutrient-rich foods, including plentiful greens in your diet. Try taking an epsom bath the afternoon or evening after stretching, or use an infrared sauna if you have access to one. You can also take a brisk walk or do some light cardio (such as 5-10 minutes of rebounding) to help the lymphatic system flush the system. In time, you’ll connect with how much resistance to use and as your body becomes more familiar with the stretches, you won’t be as sore.
This is a big question, because when fascia isn’t very healthy it has a huge amount of resistive force. So much that if you maximally resist you need several people to move you through the stretch! So when we self-stretch as in Fascia FLO we need to find a level of resistance that we can work with. That is, not so much that is too difficult to move and exhausting, and not so little that it won’t affect fascial change. Certain tissues also have more dense fascia – the yang tissues of the body, and the hamstrings, shoulders, and side/back body in general. So those will take more resistance and/or more repetitions to shift. In general, though, keep in mind that we want to work in a range that is sustainable for us and brings us back to practice! So try resisting at different levels (full vs 50% vs very little) and sense into your tissues. For most practices, it’s sustainable to resist around 50% of your capacity.
Benefits can include (but not limited to): increased energy, better muscle performance and strength for activities, more range of motion, reduction (or removal) of pain, improved flexibility, better digestion, better sleep, stronger immunity, enhanced body awareness, better posture.
In the members area, go to the live classes tab to join via zoom. Classes are every Thursday at 9:15am PT / 12:15pm ET. In addition to the regular Thursday class, Dreena schedules BONUS weekly classes at different times and days to accommodate more students to join live. Recordings of all the live classes will be added to the membership.
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Classes are every Thursday at 9:15am PT / 12:15pm ET. In addition to the regular Thursday class, Dreena schedules BONUS weekly classes at different times and days to accommodate more students to join live. Recordings of all the live classes will be added to the membership.
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