What is FST?
FST, or Fascial Stretch Therapy is a combination of techniques a therapist uses to release bound up connective tissue in a clients body. The client is clothed and comfortably lying on a massage table. The therapy is gentle, relaxing but very effective at creating length & mobility in joints and muscles that otherwise are stuck or over used and strained, causing unwanted pain and/or limited mobile function.
What is Fascia?
Myofascia is a global system of densely woven connective tissue. It covers and interpenetrates all muscles, bones, nerves, arteries,veins and internal organs such as the heart, brain and spinal cord. It is a continuous, uninterrupted structure that links from head to toe. It is comparable to one-piece compression gear that envelops both sides of the body in a symmetrical and balanced manner.
Fascia is often hard to imagine. Picture taking the skin off an uncooked chicken. You can see a white coloured web; this is the chicken’s fascia. This structure is common to all living beings. Another way to think about it is imagining an orange that has all of its juice squeezed out. You are left with a complex web of connective tissue that once contained the orange juice.
To understand the importance of fascia, consider that your one piece compression gear is several sizes too small in some places and you cannot lift your arm above your head. Walking and running is no longer smooth or balanced and despite your best efforts to exercise, your body is misaligned and your movement is painful. Now imagine that your compression gear has been torn and sewn back together at the knee. Despite repairing the suit, there is still a pull through the compression fabric all the way up to your shoulder and neck. The tear is like an injury, surgery or trauma (car accident, repetitive stress injury, habitual poor posture etc.) and the ‘pull’ is the impact this has on your fascia. Injuries and traumas have a cumulative effect, causing the fascia to lose pliability. This can limit the comfort and function of the body and can either cause or perpetuate symptoms.
When the fascia suit is perfectly tailored to your body, your movements are smooth, you can perform day-to-day tasks and exercises correctly and stiffness and the risk of injury is reduced. That’s the objective of Fascia Stretch: to balance the global fascia suit for each individual, whatever that means for their body. Through assessment, we identify which areas along the fascia nets require attention. Most often a site of pain is a response to an area of tightness located elsewhere in the fascia nets.
This can be hard to comprehend for people as the whole premise of our medical system is that the site of pain is rarely doubted to be the cause. Therefore, the medical approach to the pain from such restrictions is the use of drugs to temporarily free or reduce the patients pain. While this medication undoubtedly has its place it does nothing to straighten out the causative fascia (re balance the compression suit) and therefore it seems unproductive to rely on these instead of fixing the instigator of the pain.
Other modalities & traditional therapies will often treat the symptoms that are caused by these restrictions such as trigger points or aching muscles which provides the client with temporary relief but these are often short lasting as the fascia/compression suit still needs to be straightened to truly eliminate symptoms. This is not to invalidate other modalities; everything has its place, it is simply to suggest that their effectiveness may be enhanced or longer lasting if used in conjunction with Fascia Stretch to address this component of restriction and pain. A large percentage of those suffering in pain have undiagnosed problems with the fascia.