by Thomas Attlee.
- a hidden maintaining factor.
Fascia tissue surrounds and envelops every structure in the body. Every
muscle, organ, bone, nerve and blood vessel is covered by a thin film of
fascia. Fascial ‘pulls’ within the body can often also
identify the underlying source of a patient’s conditions, sometimes
revealing some as yet unrecognised pathology.
Cranio-Sacral Therapist Thomas Attlee explains
Fascial unwinding is a therapeutic process through which physical and
emotional blocks, whatever their cause, can be released. Whether
they are the result of physical injury, infection, disease or emotional
traumas and tensions leave their mark on the body and are held into the
body tissues in the form of restriction or constriction of some kind.
Fascial unwinding provides a means of discovering and releasing the effects
of all such traumas and tensions, be they recent or long-standing, thereby
releasing restrictions which may be the deep rooted cause of pain, discomfort
or all manner of dysfunctions, or which may be the crucial maintaining
factor which is blocking recovery from some long-standing condition.
The causes of fascial restriction may stem from many different factors – from
everyday sprains, strains, twists and bruises of joints, limbs, trunk
or spine to operation scars and adhesions, major road traffic accidents,
falls, sports injuries or internal inflammation.
The results of fascial restrictions are consequently just as wide-ranging,
depending on the part of the body affected – from headaches, neck
pain and acute torticollis to frozen shoulder, writer’s cramp and
chronically weak sprained ankle or internal dysfunction affecting the
digestive organs or causing menstrual or gynaecological disorders.
Fascial unwinding can also be very valuable in contacting emotional levels
and releasing emotional tensions, particularly where the emotional trauma
is associated with severe physical trauma.
Diagnosis of the fascial pulls within the body can also often identify
the underlying source of a patient’s condition, sometimes revealing
some as yet unrecognised pathology.
Fascial unwinding is a very gentle and non-invasive treatment process
(being a branch of Cranio-Sacral Therapy) which involves responding sensitively
to the body’s demands, never forcing or imposing on the body tissues
in any way. It is therefore generally painless (even in acutely
painful conditions) and brings about a much appreciated sense of ease,
and relaxation, as well as the more profound therapeutic release of chronic
Fascia envelops every structure.
Fascia is a connective tissue, which surrounds and envelops every structure
in the body. Every muscle, every organ, every bone, every nerve,
every blood vessel is covered in a thin film of fascia (a delicate sheet
of tissue not unlike cling film); yet all of these fascial pockets are
interconnected – to form a continuous, integrated sheath of fascia
covering the whole body, from the top of the head to the tips of the
Fascia forms the periosteum round every bone, the pericardium around
the heart, the pleura around the lungs, the fascial sheaths surrounding
digestive organ, the synovial sheaths around every tendon, and is thickened
to form the various protective bursae and retinaculi throughout the body.
But not only does fascia surround every structure in the body; it also
penetrates deeply into many of these structures. Not only does every
muscle have its own fascial envelope but every bundle of muscle fibres
and every individual muscle cell has its own individual fascial sheath. So
the fascia is penetrating deeply into these minute structures of the
body yet at the same time all these fascial tissues are connected, forming
continuous, interconnected fascial network which unites and integrates
the whole body and which is of crucial importance in transmitting pulls,
strains and restrictions from one part of the body to other distant parts
of the body.
Anatomically, fascia can be classified into two divisions:
Superficial Fascia – which forms a thin layer of tissue beneath the
skin, attaching the dermis to the underlying tissues, and
Deep Fascia – with which we are primarily concerned here, forming
the many interconnected pockets already described.
Conventional anatomy textbooks describe Fascia as a relatively inactive
tissue whose functions are to allow free gliding movement between adjacent
tissues (muscles over bones, muscle bundles in relation to each other,
tendons over bones etc.) and to provide a course for interstitial fluid
More recent understanding of the fascia, particularly within the field
of Cranio-Sacral Therapy, reveals that fascia has a more active role
to platy; firstly, reflecting the Cranio Sacral Rhythm – expanding and
contracting at a rate of 4 – 14 cycles per minute and expressing
this rhythm in all parts of the body – and secondly absorbing and
maintaining tensions and traumas, holding these restrictions into the
local tissues with consequent impairment of function.
The degree to which these fascial restrictions will affect other parts
of the body will depend on many other factors, such as the severity of
the restriction, the underlying tension in the fascia generally and the
presence of other fascial restrictions or weaknesses imposed on the body
by previous injuries or disease.
A gentle, non-invasive process.
The gentleness of fascial unwinding can probably only be appreciated
through the experience of being treated. It involves firstly identifying
the source of the fascial restriction. This is best carried out
by gently resting the hands on various regions of the body (the listening
posts) and identifying the various subtle pulls and tensions manifested
by the body fascia. In this way, an impression can be gained of
lines of force all drawing towards a specific focal point (the source
of the restriction)
just as iron filings are drawn towards a magnet.
This can readily be tried out by any sensitive practitioner with a ‘patient’ lying
supine. Rest the hands very lightly and symmetrically at various ‘listening
posts’ – the feet, the shins, the thighs, the iliac crests,
the lower thorax, the upper thorax – spending a minute or so at each
point, and tune in to the subtle pulls and twists manifested by the tissues. As
you evaluate your findings from these various different perspectives,
you should be able to build up a picture with focal points of restriction
lines of tension drawing towards these focal points from areas of greater
mobility and freedom.
Treatment then involves taking up contact with both hands on the appropriate
part of the body, tuning in once more to the fascial pulls, then allowing
your hands to follow the tissue demands expressed by the body, twisting,
turning and pulling wherever they wish to go – but on a very subtle
level, almost imperceptible to the outsider (or to the patient.)
The practitioner will follow these tissue demands until a point of resistance
is encountered and then hold the tissues against this resistance or barrier
(again very gently and subtly) until eventually the resistance softens,
melts and releases, the barrier dissolves and the tissues settle down to
a more balanced and freely mobile state, no longer pulled out of alignment
by the former tensions and pulls.
This process can be carried out on any part of the body, on an arm, on
a leg, on the abdomen, or on the trunk, on a sprained ankle, a tennis elbow,
a frozen shoulder, a twisted knee, an old operation scar, a spastic colon,
an inflamed pleura or a tense pericardium.
When working on the trunk, the patient’s body will generally remain
completely still as the practitioner follows pulls and twists within
When unwinding arms, legs, or the neck, the whole limb or neck may be
allowed to unravel itself as it performs a slow gentle dance through
the air, tracing
the patterns through which it has become twisted and rediscovering the
positions in which it was traumatised. It is at these positions
of trauma that the practitioner will encounter the barriers against which
resistance must be maintained, in order to achieve the release of the
And it is at these vital points of stillness, often termed the ‘Eye
of the Hurricane’ (the point of stillness within the broader swirling
sweeping movements of the limb) where the crucial, essential moment of
fascial release occurs.
The process is always gentle, always following the body’s own demands
and is usually experienced as a very relaxing, releasing, easeful and pleasant
process. Even in an acutely painful neck or frozen shoulder the
gentle process of fascial unwinding can be carried out, virtually painlessly,
to restore full mobility and pain-free movement to the area.
An impression of the inherent mobility of the fascia and of the process
of release may be gained by the sensitive practitioner in the following
With a patient, friend or suitable model lying supine, gently support
the patient’s arm, so that it is free from the couch or any other
obstruction but in a comfortable relaxed position.
Then, starting from a point of stillness and sensitivity, tune in to
the tissue demands, allowing the arm gradually to start unwinding and
itself, giving the arm complete freedom to twist and turn through the
practitioner should initially simply allow the limb to go where it wants,
never imposing any movements or forces upon it, following until it returns
eventually to a settled, comfortable, restful position at which the process
can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
Causes of fascial restriction.
Fascial restrictions can arise from a variety of causes - from
everyday twists and bruises, through falls, injuries and road traffic
to operation scars and internal inflammation, postural and occupational
tensions or emotional tensions and traumas.
Since the fascia envelops every nerve, blood vessel, muscle and organ in
the body, fascial restriction is likely to cause constriction of blood
vessels, impingement on nerves, contracture of muscles and constriction
of organs, with consequent reduced blood supply, impeded nerve supply,
tight musculature or visceral dysfunction.
Symptoms will of course vary, according to the location of the restriction. Fascial
restriction in the shoulder girdle region, perhaps as a result of a shoulder
injury or local neck injury, could lead to constriction of the brachial
plexus and the arterial supply to the arm, resulting in pins and needles,
numbness, or weakness in the hands, fingers and arm.
Fascial restrictions in the cervical area as a result of a neck injury,
a whiplash injury or chronic tension may affect the arterial supply to
the brain through the Carotid and Vertebral arteries, venous drainage
from the brain through the Jugular Vein and important nerve connections
head and trunk such as the Vagus nerve supplying most of the thoracic
and abdominal viscera or the Sympathetic nerve supply up to the head
and eyes. Symptoms
could include vagueness, dizziness, poor concentration, loss of memory,
weak and photosensitive eyes, or a variety of generalised visceral dysfunctions. Restrictions
in the lower back as a result of back strain, muscular strains or pelvic
twists can similarly lead to sciatica and back pain.
Restrictions within the abdomen or pelvis, perhaps as a result of operations,
adhesions or internal inflammation, could lead to disturbed nerve and
blood supply to the viscera, with resultant digestive, menstrual or gynaecological
Fascial restriction may be local – for instance in the wrist, as
a result of RSI, or a fall on the hand or a sprained wrist; or may be generalised – as
a result of a road traffic accident or generalised emotional tension. Any
fascial restriction, however, may potentially have repercussions throughout
the body as a result of the interconnected nature of the body fascia.
Such restrictions are, of course, likely to occur at various times of
life in many parts of the body as a result of different injuries, accidents
and diseases, leading to an accumulation of fascial restrictions and
all influencing and affecting each other, to weaken the body’s
resources and cause a variety of apparently disparate symptoms.
Consequences of operation scars.
When an operation, such as appendectomy, cholecystectomy or hysterectomy
is performed (particularly before the days of micro-surgery) the surgery
inevitably involved cutting through many layers of fascia. The resultant
scarring leads to a fibrosing and sclerosing of the fascial tissue (just
like scar tissue on the skin) with consequent bunching and reduced mobility
of the fascia. This reduced mobility may cause local pain and discomfort
but may also radiate out to restrict the free movement of other regions
of the interconnected fascial network, with a resultant pulling of all
the body fascia towards the restricted area.
An impression of this can be gained by taking hold of a sheet or blanket
and bunching up one corner. Lines of tension will be seen radiating
out in all directions, all pulling towards the contracted focus. Just
as in the body, the extent to which these lines of tension affect the
rest of the sheet will depend on the degree of contraction and the underlying
tension in the sheet as a whole.
In this way, fascial restriction around an appendix scar could exert pulls
up through the fascia to cause constriction of, for example, the Carotid
Sheath in the neck.
The Carotid Sheath is an important tube of fascia passing up each side
of the neck, containing the Carotid Artery, the Jugular Vein and the
Constriction of this narrow tube – which may arise due to pulls from
any fascial restriction anywhere else in the body – could then
have far reaching consequences, with reduced blood supply to the brain,
venous drainage from the brain and compression of the vagus nerve with
adverse consequences on the thoracic and abdominal viscera, including
the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and spleen.
Everyday sprains and strains.
Common sources of fascial restriction are the many sprains and strains
that most of us encounter in everyday life. Many people find after
spraining an ankle – although the ankle may essentially have recovered
fairly quickly and is regarded by conventional opinion as fully recovered – that
a certain degree of weakness of discomfort remains, with a continuing
tendency to collapse.
It may be regarded as a relatively minor impairment which just has to
be lived with, but in many people it is sufficiently discomforting to
them from playing sport or even going for long walks – which can
be quite a frustrating restriction to one’s life.
The reason for the continuing discomfort often lies in the fact that the
injury has been imprinted into the fascia which is maintaining the tendency
to twist back into the old pattern of distortion.
I have seen countless patients with chronic sprained ankles of this nature,
many having put up with it for 10 years or more and given up hope of
any improvement, not even bothering to mention the fact when they come
be about something completely different. In many cases just a few
minutes of fascial unwinding can relieve the problem completely, even
when the injury is many years old.
The same principles apply to any joint and any twist or strain or sprain
in any part of the body – twisted knees from jumping, dancing or
sport, sprained wrists from a fall, wrenched shoulder from contact sports
such as rugby or from every day incidents.
An example is a patient of mine who was taking her dog for a walk when
the dog suddenly saw a cat going in the opposite direction. The lady’s
arm and shoulder ended up severely jolted and twisted; the symptoms,
emerging some time later, were not however in the wrenched shoulder but
in a numb,
weak, painful forearm and fingers due to restricted blood supply and
nerve supply through the shoulder region.
Many sports injuries leave fascial restrictions which impair performance
and may even lead to giving up sport; and many professional sports people
have had their careers shortened or interrupted by problems that almost
certainly could have been relieved by fascial treatment.
The incidents which lead to fascial restrictions can often be relatively
insignificant and certainly do not need to be major traumas or dramatic
injuries. The incident is often completely forgotten, but this
is not important since an experienced practitioner, in evaluating the
of any conditions, should be able to trace and identify the fascial restriction
through subtle palpation of the body, and consequently be able to unwind
the fascial patterns as necessary.
RSI, Writer's and Musician's Cramp.
Fascial restrictions can also develop as a result of more prolonged strains
and tensions, perhaps due to occupational postures, such as typing, computer
keyboards or machine operating, leading to repetitive strain injury (RSI),
writer’s cramp, tennis elbow and similar restrictions.
This is often evident, for instance, in violinists, dentists and other
such occupations where repeated adoption of certain positions may impose
patterns of restriction of the fascia, or in anybody who persistently adopts
a poor posture.
Car and bike accidents.
More traumatic incidents may also cause severe fascial restrictions,
and fascial unwinding is particularly relevant following major car accidents,
motorbike or bicycle accidents, skiing accidents or any severe fall. Such
major traumas almost invariably lead to multiple fascial restrictions
which can be very complex and entangled with far-reaching effects, both
and on personality.
Whiplash injuries are particularly effectively treated precisely because
the multiplicity of traumas and forces imposed upon the body is virtually
impossible to analyse specifically and individually by any external means
of diagnosis. But the inherent wisdom of the body utilised during
fascial unwinding enables the tissues to unravel every little twist and
turn exactly as required by the body and so restore it to its natural
In such cases, where severe trauma has been imposed generally throughout
the body, a particular process called ‘Whole Body Unwinding’ is
especially appropriate. In this process, as the name suggests,
the whole body is allowed to unwind and unravel all at once.
This has a particularly powerful and profound effect, releasing a multiplicity
of traumas simultaneously, contacting both physical and emotional levels
together, and consequently reaching deeper into the core of the person’s
being than might otherwise be achieved. This process is also useful
for treating patients in whom emotional tension is being held into the
body as a whole, as generalised physical tension.
Physical and emotional links.
Emotional associations with the fascia are of particular relevance in
severe physical traumas, such as major car accidents, whiplash injuries
major fall. Very often, the fear associated with such accidents,
or the anger of being mugged or beaten, or the apprehension of an operation
will be locked into the body along with the physical trauma. The
two components - the physical and the emotional - become
inextricably intertwined so that release of one becomes impossible without
For this reason, patients may fail to recover, or be very slow to recover
form major accidents and operations because, despite excellent physical
care, the emotional factors are not being addressed.
Similarly, psycho-emotional problems may persist and be unresponsive to
psychiatric and psycho-therapeutic treatment because the patient is unable
to let go until the physical components are addressed.
Often the two components are so intertwined that they will only release
when they are addressed simultaneously. It is here that fascial unwinding
is especially valuable since it unravels the physical injuries whilst at
the same time contacting the emotional levels associated with those injuries,
bringing about a comprehensive process of release - with often
Patients may sometimes experience their accident quite vividly at the
moment of release – but in the comfort and safety of the therapeutic
This process can sometimes be assisted by simultaneous counseling, listening
or psycho-therapeutic help. Often, this is not necessary, although
a proper sympathetic understanding (on the part of the practitioner)
of the nature of the process, is helpful.
Fascial unwinding can therefore be used specifically for the release of
emotional tensions and traumas and also for exploring and discovering the
underlying psycho-emotional causes of physical conditions.
Symptoms may arise long after the original accident.
With time, any fascial restriction tends to sclerose or fibrose gradually
so that the restriction becomes increasingly consolidated. As it
becomes more and more consolidated, the patterns may become increasingly
resistant to treatment. This does not mean that the condition cannot
be treated, but simply that more time may be needed to enable a complete
As a result of this gradual hardening and fibrosis of the fascia, symptoms
may arise many years after the original incident. In such cases,
the patient is unlikely even to remember the incident, let alone associate
the current new symptoms with some perhaps relatively minor incident
many years previously.
It is obviously important for the practitioner to make a thorough and comprehensive
diagnosis of the fascia in order to identify any fascial restrictions anywhere
in the body which may be exerting pulls on the body fascia generally and
to trace any fascial pulls to their source, wherever that may be.
This process of gradual sclerosis explains why many conditions may appear
out of nowhere with no apparent cause, since the cause is long past and
the process has been developing insidiously over many years.
A carpenter whom I treated came to me with extreme tension and restricted
mobility in his shoulder and upper back, to the extent that it was impairing
his ability to work. He was in his mid-forties and the condition
had been there for many years and was solidly established, with many
of deeply ingrained fascial restrictions to unravel. After a few
treatments we reached a point where, following a substantial release,
the patient experienced a vivid memory of his time as an apprentice carpenter
in his teens (almost 30 years previously) when he had been forced to
through agonising pain in order to keep up with his workmates and keep
Ever since that time he had suppressed the pain and injury of the incident
into his body tissues and kept it under the surface with layer upon layer
of protective tension, gradually building a huge bulk of muscular tension
to prevent the pain from rising to the surface. Only through the
delicate and sensitive process of fascial unwinding was it possible to
peel off the many layers of tension and unravel the many twists and tensions
ingrained into the body by subsequent years of carpentry and so reach
back to that initial incident.
With the release of the pain and tension of the original causative injury
his condition readily improved rapidly from then on.
He had, of course, been totally unaware of the cause of his condition and
had completely forgotten about his apprenticeship days until the release
occurred and was very surprised to experience that sudden and unexpected
memory and discover the association between his current condition and that
long forgotten incident.
I have come across patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia which I have traced
to long forgotten injuries to the face with gradual hardening of the facial
fascia until a point has been reached where the sclerosed fascia is impinging
on the trigeminal nerve outlets at the supra-orbital, infra-orbital or
Another reason why symptoms may appear long after the original cause
is that the body is more pliable and resilient when young and so better
to cope with some degree of fascial restriction, whereas as time goes
on the body becomes less pliable and resilient, so the effects of restriction
become more evident. Also as time goes on, the individual is likely
to experience other injuries and fascial tensions, the combination of
which will therefore interact and react more.
Another patient came to me with a severe headache that had been with
him continuously for over 10 years. He was now in his mid-sixties and
had tried every type of therapy and medical option he could find. He
had had brain scans and a vast array of tests and no one could find any
apparent cause for his constant headache, which was of course troubling
He could remember no incident or accident of any relevance either at
the time of onset of his headache or any time previously.
I identified a very strong fascial pull drawing his head down into his
neck and upper thorax, especially on the right hand side, with an element
of twisting towards the right. I followed this fascial pull which
led me very deeply into this compressive, twisting pattern to a degree
where it was obvious to me that his head and neck had suffered a very severe
trauma. The treatment didn’t take long, but the force of the
trauma and therefore the nature of the treatment was very intense. Soon
after following intensively into this severely compressed pattern, we
reached a point of release at which the whole neck and head freed up,
At that moment the elderly gentleman suddenly announced, ‘Of course – during
the war I was blown up into the air, and came crashing down on my head’.
As so often, the fascial release had stimulated a vivid memory of the
long forgotten incident which had caused the original restriction.
Not only was the incident long forgotten (it had occurred at the age
of 19), but the symptoms had not arisen until nearly 40 years later in
mid-fifties. But there could be no doubt about the clear relationship. The
fascial pattern was clearly identifiable, the release was dramatic and
brought up this vivid long forgotten memory and his chronic headache
soon cleared completely.
Chronic Emotional Patterns.
Fascia, as already mentioned, absorbs emotional tensions. Just as
muscles, including the diaphragm, may contract in response to emotional
tensions, so the fascia which envelops them will reflect that tightening. Day
to day tensions, which come and go in response to the various stresses
and strains of life, will drop away readily during times of relaxation
or during sleep (so long as the sleep is restful).
But when emotional tensions are held into the body over a prolonged period
of time, these patterns and tensions become ingrained within the fascia,
gradually becoming more established and increasingly difficult to release. Even
when the source of the emotional tension is gone, the fascia may maintain
the tension and reinstate the muscular and emotional tensions in a vicious
circle of tension.
Fascial unwinding can release the fascial and muscular components of
the circle, at the same time releasing the emotional level. This
may be the most effective, sometimes the only way to break the cycle
Fascial unwinding may also bring to light underlying emotional tensions
which have not been acknowledged or recognised until then, thereby enabling
the patient to deal with emotional tension more effectively. Physical
and emotional factors can never be altogether separated and with any
injury or illness there is inevitably an emotional component, whether
it be an
emotional reaction to pain, or frustration at the limiting effects of
the illness, or some more dramatic, emotional trauma.
Consequently the release of any fascial pattern in the body may be accompanied
by a corresponding emotional release.
It may occur as an almost unnoticed sense of relief or my come as a more
profound experience of sadness, fear or anger.
Many people, following a bereavement, do not express their grief fully
and may tend to lock up their feelings as physical tension, particularly
in the pericardium and the fascia around the heart and the heart chakra,
perhaps leading to pain, tightness, discomfort and all manner of possible
Release of this fascial restriction may occur without any corresponding
emotional release but will quite often be accompanied by release of the
emotional factors held into that area, at a time more appropriate for
their release, when the patient is better able to cope with the feelings
in a therapeutic environment appropriate for their release.
Such tensions are often not responsive to other physical methods or to
psycho-therapeutic approaches and may some-times only be released through
Fascial Unwinding. Also, many people may not wish to visit a counsellor
or psychotherapist or do not wish to see themselves as having any emotional
or psychological problem (since this is unfortunately still largely regarded
as unacceptable in current society) but will be prepared to visit a Cranio-Sacral
therapist or physical therapist more readily.
Fascial unwinding and other therapies.
Fascial unwinding can be used in conjunction with many other therapies. It
is an integral part of Cranio-Sacral Therapy, extending the gentle but
profound effects of this therapy to all parts of the body and dealing
more specifically with the important fascial components of the Cranio-Sacral
It is also valuable in association with manipulative techniques, such
as osteopathy and chiropractic. Many times I have seen patients
who have had excessive and inappropriate repeated manipulation for a
which never needed manipulation in the first place and simply needed
a little gentle fascial unwinding.
In one case, a patient had her neck manipulated three times a week for
six months by a chiropractor in America with no obvious improvement and
in fact obvious deterioration in her condition.
Such excessive and inappropriate manipulation, whether of the neck, or
the lower back, of anywhere else, can be very damaging to the patient,
causing excessive hypermobility, instability and damage so surrounding
tissues, from which the patient may not easily recover.
In any situation where manipulation does not readily ease the problem,
other causes for the condition should be sought out, explored and discovered,
whether in the fascia or from any other source, rather than repeatedly
and ineffectually manipulating the same vertebral joints.
Practitioners using manipulation (and their patients) can obviously benefit
by integrating fascial unwinding into their approach.
By doing so, they could firstly assess the fascia and access accurately
whether the cause of the problem lay in the fascia, the bony structure
Secondly, where manipulation is considered necessary it is helpful to precede
manipulation with fascial release, thereby making the manipulation much
easier, requiring less force and enabling a more complete and effective
Thirdly, it is very helpful to follow every manipulation with fascial
unwinding in order to integrate the surrounding tissues and restore a
state to the area – thus reducing any tendency to recurrence of
In any restriction, bony or otherwise, particularly if it is chronic, the
surrounding tissues will have taken on the pattern imposed upon them by
the restriction and this pattern will often remain in the tissues even
when the bony joint has been released.
Fascial integration following manipulation is therefore always advisable – particularly
in chronic conditions. (In a great many conditions, whether acute
or chronic, Fascial Unwinding alone will probably release the problem,
so that manipulation may be unnecessary).
Unfortunately, these gentle integrative techniques are not yet widespread
among manipulative therapists; and even many cranial practitioners do not
integrate fascial unwinding into their treatment of the Cranio-Sacral system.
Fascial unwinding, if carried through to completion, should bring about
the complete release of any fascial restriction so that it should then
not recur. But many problems, from back pain and neck pain to visual
disturbances and visceral disorders, can arise through persistently holding
the body in appropriate, unbalanced or tense positions and where such
postural or occupational patterns are deeply ingrained, habitual patterns
may lead patients to reintroduce tensions as soon as they have been released.
An effective way of dealing with this problem is through learning to
use the body in a more easeful, unrestricted manner, particularly through
Alexander Technique. But here also an appreciation of the interaction
between Alexander work and Fascial Unwinding can be very valuable:
On the one hand, where patients are negating the effects of fascial unwinding
by repeatedly recreating their fascial tensions through poor use of their
bodies or postural habits, it is generally very helpful for them to apply
the Alexander Technique in order to change those habit patterns and so
prevent the reinstatement of the tensions or fascial restrictions.
On the other hand, Alexander Technique on its own (without Fascial Unwinding)
may not be enough to change these patterns. I have seen many Alexander
pupils (and teachers) who have applied the Alexander Technique for years
in an unsuccessful attempt to counteract or undo chronic physical restrictions
to the free and mobile use of their bodies, only to discover that these
chronic tensions and restrictions can be released very rapidly through
Fascial Unwinding, thereby enabling them to apply their Alexander Technique
far more effectively and successfully.
Teachers of the Alexander Technique, with their sensitivity and awareness
of the body, usually take to Fascial Unwinding readily and find that it
enhances their work with their pupils considerably.
Masseurs will often come across tensions in their patients which need
much more than massage to release them, and the gently integrative work
Unwinding can readily be integrated into their treatment approach.
Psychotherapists may also find Fascial Unwinding very useful for a variety
* Either to release the condition altogether;
* Or to bring to the surface underlying emotional problems in order to
gain access to them and deal with them more effectively on a psycho-therapeutic
* Or to release a physical component which may be maintaining the psycho-emotional
state, such as in depression, a conditions for which there are often clear
physical maintaining factors;
* Or in cases of severe trauma, mugging and road traffic accidents as a
means of simultaneously releasing the physical and emotional trauma, which
may otherwise not respond fully to treatment.
Fascial restrictions are an important but largely neglected element in
a great many health problems. Fascial unwinding is a means of resolving
so many conditions that have not responded to other forms of treatment.
It is perhaps the only way of resolving certain conditions. The
Fascia is often the crucial maintaining factor in preventing recovery
recurrence of a condition; and its vital interplay between physical and
emotional factors enables a uniquely profound process of release.
It is gentle and non-invasive, providing a valuable addition to any Therapist’s
approach and it is a very important part of any Cranio-Sacral Therapist’s