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The Fascia Bars provide a method to exert stretching forces into deep layers of fascia– specifically fascia (fascicles) that wraps muscles and their compartments. Application allows a “deep wave” of pressure which deforms muscular compartments and thus fascial encasements surrounding them- see illustration below.
The Fascia Bar is a full 16" long (the Fascia Bar AP is 18" long), which gives the practitioner advantage in terms of leverage. While other forms of deep tissue myofascial work have this effect, the fascia bar makes easy work of it while remaining tolerable to the patient. Another great advantage of the Fascia Bars is the ability to perform and control “tissue pull” over longer distances than when using the hands alone.
These tools are a necessity when treating sports injuries (or for preventing them) in the lower extremities. It turns hard fibrous calves, hams, or quads into pliable tissue. The contact surface is a full 1/2 in diameter which allows more intense pressure into deep layers. Most edge tools are limited in terms of how deep they can be worked by either tissue damage or patient discomfort. The Fascia Bars improve the range of applications possible with myofascial tools.
One of Ida Rolf's theories (now expanded upon eloquently by Thomas Myers) is the holistic nature of the fascial web that runs as an uninterrupted unit throughout every local and even every cell of the human body. Fascial integrity in the feet affects movement patterns of the head. Joint pain, organ health, and even emotional well being are connected to the integrity of the fascial system. Over time, stress, postural dysfunction, over-exertion, and deconditioning cause patterns of thickening in the fascia that restrict movement, then initiate movement impairment and pain syndromes. Fortunately, the fascial web is somewhat pliable and through inputs of correcting stresses can be modeled back into its ideal form.
These tools are very simple- they provide leverage to ease stress to the practitioner, and distribute forces over a longer contact surface than when using the thumbs allowing a depth penetration without patient discomfort. Usually, when thumb pressure is too intense, contact is changed to the fist, forearm, or elbow. While this does distribute forces, it is at times awkward (and possibly distributes forces inconsistently).
Illustration showing "deformation" of fascial encasements within the leg compartments when using the Fascia Bar.
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