It interests me greatly to observe the various types of exercises and programs that are prepared and delivered by physical trainers, therapists, coaches and yoga teachers with comprehensive knowledge in their areas.
Experience has empowered me to appreciate the difficulty in trying to create success for a large number of people with varied movement challenges or goals.
My background has evolved around horses with my family heavily involved in this area. Dad had a team of draught horses that he built dams and main channels with, these carried the irrigation waters required for irrigation of farmland in our region after the war. Dad’s horses were everything to him not just because they were his vehicle for survival but because they became his best mates; he was truly at one with animals.
Dad’s focus was always on longevity and wellness of his horses, having them in optimal condition to allow their performance to be as minimally taxing as possible on all levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Dad was sensitive to the tissue on the outside as a reflection of the tissue on the inside. This is how I have always envisaged we should observe and condition our clients and students.
This created many questions in my head, as it was evident, even in the early days of my football career (real football… Aussie Rules!!!) that players were consistently breaking down with knee, ankle, groin or shoulder injuries.
The early 80’s in Australia was when we started to focus on “artificial” size and strength (my terminology, previous to this people just worked hard to get strong in their jobs!!). We started making individual muscles bigger and stronger in the hope that players were capable of creating and accepting more force in game situations; this was somewhat semi-successful. The focus certainly wasn’t on the longevity of the athlete but more about the NOW of performance.
It was about this time that stretching also becoming trendsetting for preparing the nerves and muscles for activity or exercise and the belief was that it also aided preparation. Of course, I was a person who was focused on achieving the ultimate success and did everything I could (within the rules) to enhance my performance; stretch I did. Unfortunately, now with the research and observation accumulated, this wasn’t appropriate for MY tissue!!
Each “ring” refers to a region of the body where large amounts of tissue all come together. The tissue in each ring consists of both soft and hard tissue.
SOMA is a SELF-care, tissue-management process for the OSTEO-MYOFASCIAL tissues of the body that uses multiple APPLICATIONS to empower you to MOVE, FEEL, LIVE BETTER .
There are primary tissues that have a huge impact and effect on the outcomes and solutions for clients in wellness, longevity and performance.
Fascia is a tissue that in horses is incredibly important and must be understood so as not to “break down” (injure) the animal, possibly jeopardizing his career; similarly due to our biological construction, fascia has a similar role in humans.
Fascia is nebulous, it comes in many forms and encases and entwines every cell in the human body; hmmm maybe we should think about that for a minute! It encases nerve, muscle, bone, viscera, heart, lungs, brain and much, much more, yet we as a profession are quick to focus on isolation when it comes to helping people move or heal. The extracellular matrix, viscera, heart, and brain are all directly connected…who would have thought??
Let’s take a look at certain attributes of fascia, that have been identified. I will preface at this point about current research, fifty percent of what we know NOW will in 2 years time be different (in fact it will probably be the opposite); we just don’t know which fifty percent!!! So I am going to stick with what we have actually observed through my own practice and other
practitioners and researchers such as Ida Rolf, Phillip Schleip, Tom Myers and many more.
Fascia is unitary, it is completely toes to nose, birth to death; it connects every cell in the body (Shultz & Feitis 1996). Fascia transmits and accommodates force globally allowing the body to share the stress that is introduced through exercise, daily challenges or occupational hazards.
We need to cultivate our fascial garden intelligently, feed it, hydrate it and move it well. The Fascial System takes 6-24 months to make major changes or remodel, so perseverance is essential; feeding the body the necessary motion to replicate life’s challenges is crucial.
Understand that fascia requires variation of force and movement to allow optimal adaptation. (Huijing 2007, Kjaer et al., 2009.)
This is important as it will determine how we need to condition it to be successful for the client’s goals. If we choose to ignore these phases it could potentially mean the difference between positive and negative solutions.
If you had of observed me when I was in my sporting prime you would of thought that I was a “Viking” archetype; strong, hard and resilient. However my tissue has the characteristics more towards of a “temple dancer”, my fascial tissue was already more elastic so further stretching wasn’t what my
body required. I have fewer fibroblasts than the Viking (a stiffer type of fascial tissue that requires more plastic preparation) and due to this will heal slower as it takes more time for my fibroblasts to devour the old and lay down the new fascia.
There are multiple challenges you can use to identify the tissues response in clients for these two archetypes, be very clear this IS NOT a diagnosis but an awareness tool that enables the yoga teacher, therapist or coach to quickly glean what type of conditioning or exercise the client may benefit by most.
There are also a number of other types of observations that can be made but in my experience the four above work quite well. A number of clients may fall into the hybrid category, which means they have a little of both.
With this in mind implementing an exercise or creating a program that blends stiffness (more fascial based) and contractile (more muscular based)
training will be most successful. The majority of exercises designed and implemented for clients in the wellness, fitness and sporting environments are contractile focused due to prior education and an isolated approach; not wrong or right but certainly not complete.
It is crucial that we don’t become a “one-trick pony”, that we don’t follow just one philosophy and bias people with our own beliefs. If our intention is to create the optimal experience and solution for our clients and students then “turning a blind eye” to the role of the fascial system is pure ignorance.
I am not saying the fascial system is the key, I believe it is another important part of this amazing jigsaw puzzle BUT optimizing it will guarantee improved longevity and wellness and help people to move, feel and live better.
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Ian has a unique observation and appreciation of the body in motion. Many years of extensive conditioning and rehabilitation through sport combined with spending time with global groundbreakers in the industry, has authorized Ian to evolve an effective movement philosophy.
This has lead Ian to evolving applications that empower clients and coaches with solutions to everyday issues, enabling them to regain responsibility for their own wellbeing. Creating a freedom to enjoy the experience of life and accomplish whatever goal they may require.
In his journey, Ian has also delivered over 500 workshops worldwide. His ability to facilitate the cutting edge science and research on many topics into practical solutions has empowered wellness professionals to lead their client?s to more efficient and effective results