The word “fascia” is quickly becoming a big buzz word of 2016, especially with the release of the book titled Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique by Lauren Roxburgh, a woman who has been praised by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. Paltrow’s famous publication called fascia the secret organ that has plenty of importance in the body — even if the critical role that fascia plays in the body was only recently recognized in 2006 or 2007. Prior to those years, Lauren writes how surgeons or those who performed autopsies viewed fascia as a connective tissue structure that just got in the way of operating and getting to the good stuff, like muscles.
Lauren writes that her 21-day program helps folks engage with their “ballerina muscles,” the muscles that can help people appear leaner, taller, and more youthful, because practicing the fascia self-care allows people to sit up taller and relax. Roxburgh admitted that as a trainer, she experienced the mantra that if people work out harder, eat fewer calories, and endure the “no pain, no gain” edict they’d experience the bodies they wanted. However, Roxburgh reported that as much as she exercised and ate according to the “rules,” she didn’t experience the type of body she wanted until she began foam rolling. At first Lauren performed foam rolling as a form of self message, but then she experienced a whole new set of benefits from foam rolling.
“My revolutionary foam rolling program combines lengthening and toning Pilates-based exercises with self-care movements that dig into the body’s connective tissues, thus reshaping the musculature and the actual structure of the body and releasing those toxins and blockages that wreak so much havoc. Through this program you will discover the most elongated, relaxed, femininely toned, uniformly developed, and joyful version of you.”
Amazingly, Lauren asks those trying her 21-day program to lay off certain forms of cardio exercises in order to not counteract the positive effects of the foam rolling for the fascia.
“You will begin each day focusing on a particular section of the body and using the roller to melt down and hydrate the fascia and connective tissue, thus releasing toxins, inflammation, thickness, stiffness, and density; getting rid of scar tissue; and generally clearing out blockages in your body.”
Lauren’s foam rolling focuses on using a foam roller to improve the fascia, whereas fascia experts like Ashley Black believe in going deeper to smooth out not only the subcutaneous level of fascia, but the fascia found in deeper levels in the body. Black wrote about fascia’s effect upon weight loss and how “trashy fascia” can hinder weight loss.
Black addresses the common conundrum of what’s known as “skinny fat,” the condition wherein even thin folks can experience the lumpy and bumpy look on their bodies that might be mistaken for cellulite. Ashley promotes a “fascia blaster” tool that helps users get to the deeper levels of fascia in order to promote weight loss and a number of other benefits.
“Even if you lose weight with unhealthy fascia you could still retain the fat making you appear to be a skinny-fat. Ideal weight loss is losing as much fat pounds as you can, not just overall weight. Fascia can also limit neurological access to areas of the body, inhibiting them from being contracted properly. Muscles will atrophy (as a result of this loss) and look fatty and deconditioned. To reconnect to muscles, proper biomechanics are key. When treating a full-body trashy fascia system it is most effective to accompany treatment with diet, exercise and LOTS of water.”
As seen in the above rendering of an arm way back from 1893, the fascia is displayed in relation to the rest of the arm’s structure.￼
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)