The snag in the sweater reminded me of myself: bunched up, puckered, uneven.
Arthritis in my low back, neck, and hands had limited what I believed I could do without pain. Massage work was okay as long as I didn’t see too many clients. Running for too long irritated an old injury in my hips and sometimes triggered plantar fasciitis. Dancing felt good as long as I didn’t push myself too hard. And how I looked? I was okay with my appearance as long as I didn’t have to wear shorts or a swimsuit, ever.
My life was organized around my limitations.
Sure, I was unhappy that I couldn't do everything I wanted to do or feel as comfortable in my skin as I wanted to feel. But maybe this is what my life was supposed to be like now that I’m in my 50s.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time looking for solutions to feel better about my body, whether it was to resolve physical problems or ease the mental ones. Most recently, I turned to solutions to change my thinking, like Geneen Roth’s book Women, Food and God and the Brave Girls Club’s Body Restoration online class.
Once I became a life coach, I coached myself on my body image the same way that I coach my clients on their issues: by tugging gently on one thread, one pattern of thinking, to allow a too-tight sweater of thoughts and feelings to ease, allowing room for more positive, truthful, and productive ideas. How I feel about my body is where I've kept getting stuck, an issue I've returned to again and again.
A few months ago, when I tugged on the threads of how I felt about my body, something shifted: I realized that to feel better in my body, I need to be better in my body.
When I looked at solutions from this new perspective, I became fascinated with fascia and a new bodywork tool called the FasciaBlaster by fasciologist Ashley Black. This new body therapy tool allows me to work on myself and my clients to change familiar, but unhealthy, patterns to ease pain and discomfort and create more emotional comfort, as well.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a three-dimensional web of collagen-based fibers that cover the entire body, from head to toe, from deep within the body to just under the surface of the skin. Fascia protects and supports muscles, organs, and nerves; allows muscles to work independently of one another; lubricates collagen and elastin fibers; and absorbs impact, like when you’re running in the park or jumping alongside your toddler in the jumpy house. Experts say that if every part of the body was removed except for your fascia, your body would still hold its same shape.
Whenever a person is injured (from a car accident or a fall, for example), or overuses a muscle (like a hair stylist who overuses her hands), or experiences a physically stressful event (like childbirth), this webbing – the fascia – is injured, too.
For example, when you sprain your ankle, you injure the ligaments and also the fascia in that area. The sprained ligament heals but the micro tears in the fascia from this injury create an inner protective cast of adhesions and restrictions that doesn't always go away. Instead, the fascia can become more and more restricted over time, constricting blood flow, nerve function, and flexibility. Tight fascia can even create the appearance of cellulite as the fat on the body is pushed through the restricted webbing of bound fascia.
When I started looking into fascia, I was intrigued by how fascia-based bodywork reminds me of the life coaching work I do with clients and myself. People get snagged and stuck by thoughts that maintain old – and often unhealthy – patterns of behavior. When a coaching client can loosen her attachment to her thoughts, she can then create lasting change. Tugging a little bit on a thought that a client might believe, like, "I'm not good enough," or "Parenting isn't supposed to be this hard; I must be doing something wrong,” can release a whole lot of pain that the client has been holding on to. Small but significant shifts in thinking are life-changing.
With the body, the damaged threads are tight fascia that can keep a client stuck in old patterns of posture and movement. When I work with body therapy clients, I look for places where there’s a snag, where the threads don’t come together smoothly, and then loosen the restrictions, allowing clients to experience more freedom.
As I’ve been working on my clients (and myself) with the FasciaBlaster, I'm constantly reminded of how I repaired my snagged sweater – by carefully smoothing the damaged threads. With this new body therapy tool, I’m making profound changes in how I move through my thoughts and in my body and I’m helping clients to do the same, like releasing restrictions in a client’s neck to ease migraines; working on the ankles and lower legs of another client to stop recurring plantar fasciitis; and smoothing adhesions in the fascia in a client’s hip flexors, legs, and ankles to change postural patterns that have created lower back pain. Within each session, whether I’m working with a client doing bodywork or providing life coaching, my client and I are working together to re-weave her life's fabric, finding the snags and repairing the threads to bring the beautifully intricate tapestry back to its original beauty.
Would you like to become unbound? I work with clients to help them create lasting changes through life coaching sessions and body therapy work. To schedule a body therapy session, follow this link to my online scheduler (and take advantage of my half-off special offer for first-time FasciaBlasting sessions by using coupon code NEW50 – book your appointment for September or October before the offer expires on September 23rd!) Interested in finding out if life coaching with me is for you? To schedule a complimentary, no obligation phone consultation, please go here.