British Fascia Symposium 2018


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British Fascia Symposium 2018

This is the third biennial Symposium dedicated to bringing the latest knowledge about fascia to therapists, movement teachers, sports coaches….. in fact, anyone who works with the body.  This year our team of presenters is led by Keynote Speaker Robert Schleip, renowned fascia expert and Director of the Fascia Research Project at Ulm University, Germany.  A conference designed to inform and educate delegates on many aspects of fascia, from the basic ‘what, where and how important is it to you?’ to more complex investigations; beginner or ‘afascianado’ the British Fascia Symposium has plenty to offer you.  Our aim is to inspire you to further your knowledge of fascia, enhancing your understanding of the body and providing a cadre of knowledge which will inform your work and practice.

Dr Robert Schleip

Robert Schleip gave two lectures over the Symposium weekend.

A) Keynote Lecture:
Fascia as a sensory organ

While classical musculoskeletal medicine regarded fascia mostly as an inert packing organ, new histological investigations revealed that it is one of our richest sensory organs. In fact, it can be seen as our most important organ for experiencing our own body. This includes the high density of most fascial tissues with potential nociceptors, which tend to be involved in many contemporary soft tissue pain syndromes.

In addition, our fascial network serves also as a major source for proprioception. Recent research contributed several surprising discoveries regarding this property. These are helpful to know for both manual as well as movement therapists. An intriguing aspect of more recent investigations is the high density of sympathetic receptors in fasciae. While some of these small receptors are apparently related to vasodilation, a significant portion of them seems to serve hitherto unknown functions. Could they serve as neurotrophic agents, providing a bridge between the autonomic nervous system and the biochemical milieu in the tissue?

Last but not least, there are the recently rediscovered telocytes in fascia. While not being classified as neuronal cells anymore, their super-long prolongations enable them to serve a signalling function. Their dysregulation has been shown to be involved in several fibrotic pathologies.

What do we know about our ability to foster proprioceptive perception? And what about inhibiting fascia-generated nociception? Can fascia-oriented manual mobilization or movement therapy induce a different branching/sprouting of neuronal endings or influence the stimulation threshold of their receptors? If we ask these intriguing questions, it works well to differentiate clear scientific findings from plausible assumptions and from well-informed but brave speculations. Welcome to one of the most exciting fields in connective tissue research!

b) Specialist Lecture:
Fascia and Interoception

Probably the most interesting sensory function of fascia is its role in interoception.  Interoception encompasses not only the afferents of our so-called enteric brain (‘gut brain’), but also many other perceptions that sense our internal milieu and compare these somatic sensations with the physiological and emotional needs as perceived by our brain. In contrast to proprioceptive stimuli, these sensations do net get projected primarily to the somatomotor cortex of the forebrain, but rather to the cortical insula.

Interestingly many common somatic dysfunctions which clinicians encounter in their practices are less associated with diminished proprioception, but rather with an impaired interoception. These include post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and alexithymia (emotional dumbness). Treatment of these disorders may therefore profit from a more interoceptive stimulation compared with the treatment of other musculoskeletal pathologies which are associated with a proprioceptive impairment (such as chronic low back pain, whiplash injury, complex regional pain syndrome or scoliosis).

What do we know about ‘interoceptive mindfulness’, about its trainability and effect on body functions?  Is it different from proprioceptive attention?  How can we orchestrate manual myofascial therapy around interoceptive stimulation? How important are warmth and temperature or the length of listening pauses for this process?  What do we presently know about the influence of specific touch styles, of meditation and of exercise on interoception? How is interoceptive yoga different from a proprioceptive yoga style? And could this apply also for movement therapies, and possibly also to manual therapists?

Guest Speaker:
Carol M.Davies
The Role of Mitochondria, Fascia, and Energy in Pain

The extracellular matrix is the immediate environment of all of our 35-75 trillion cells. For anything to get into a cell or out of a cell, it must pass through the fascia that the cell is embedded within. When fascia is restricted, cellular transmission is interrupted or shut down completely.   Sustained release myofascial release opens up fascial restrictions so that metabolic processes can proceed.

  • 1. Current scientific understandings of fascia (the extracellular matrix) : What is true, and what is not true about fascia.
  • 2. Brief summary of the role of mitochondria in eukaryotic cells for energy production.
  • 3. The relationship between fascia, the extracellular matrix, and mitochondria.
  • 4. Mitochondrial dysfunction, dysbiosis and restrictions in the extracellular matrix.
  • 5. Pharmaceutical treatment of pain (eg. fibromyalgia pain) ignores the dysfunction of the microbiome, “pours poison into the swamp.”
  • 6. Sustained release myofascial release “melts” the ground substance of the fascia and helps restore cellular function.

Specialist Lecture – “FASCIA-TEGRITY” 
John Sharkey MSC and Joanne Avison

In this presentation, fascia and biotensegrity combine to provide contiguity of gold standard research. Come and enjoy learning how connective tissue and the biotensegrity model make sense of natural human motion. The facts of fascia diversity are presented as compelling evidence of a new paradigm in the science of body architecture leading to one undeniable truth, our interrelated unity and our self-organising emerging behaviour.

The interplay between form and function can be seen in our mountains, rivers, ant colonies, and complex life forms such as jellyfish and sponges. We witness Nature’s complex patterns manifested through self-organizing emergent behaviour, resulting from individual internal elements. These elements respond to local influences as a result of a fixed set of rules, in soft matter physics. Human bodies abide by these rules relentlessly and the research supports the shift in understanding of living biologic architecture.

The relationships between components in a complex system are generally more important than the components themselves because local rules regarding connectivity generate global order. Invisible forces such as the light from the sun, the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, all call for more than what is currently understood from the biomechanical sum of the anatomical parts. Everything is connected and transformed through this connection and the nature of its connected organisation.

Join Joanne Avison and John Sharkey for a presentation that presents fascia in an entirely new light.

The Fascia of the Abdominal Cavity
Alison Harvey

The fascia of the abdominal cavity has a vital role in organ function. The connections of the fascia are widespread creating communication between the abdominal cavity and the rest of the body. The fascial connections within the abdominal cavity create relationships between organs and thereby influence the function of the organs themselves, their neighbours and the body in its entirety. Often, the abdominal cavity is skirted round but this presentation aims to consider the contents of the cavity and its wider implications.

Aims of the lecture:

  • To discuss the role of peritoneum in the abdominal cavity
  • To look at the connections of the peritoneum
  • Discuss specialized areas of fascia in the abdominal cavity
  • To look at how abdominal organs are supported and how these support systems influence the surrounding tissues and the body as a whole

Consider specific scenarios in relation to abdominal fascial restriction

Tendons don’t exist in the world of fascia; anatomy, pathology and rehabilitation for tendon pain
Daniel Lawrence

Like fascia, tendons do not exist as isolated parts of our anatomy, this lecture will look at the fascial continuity of tendinous tissues with bone and contractile tissues and how this influences the pathology and treatments we choose to provide.  What are the most important evidence-based treatments to focus on and what are their proposed mechanisms of action?  This lecture will provide scientific insight and real clinical tools to help you with your patients.  Earlier versions of this lecture were very popular at Therapy Expo and COPA; don’t miss this lecture, exclusively prepared for the 2018 British Fascia Symposium. A full set of notes will also be available via email after the event.

Integrating Alternative and Complimentary Fascia therapies into Conventional medicine – How to create the bridge
Wilbour Kelsick

Present day health care practitioners are basing their clinical practice concept on the newly resurrected principles of connective tissue anatomy and physiology – fascia science. In today’s world patients will seek out several different practitioners to address their different health issues. Finding a way in which these many health care approaches (conventional & alternative therapies) can benefit patients, led to the concepts of blending the approaches. Hence, the term Integrative Medicine (IM) was born.Recent evidence shows integrative practices are on the rise and it represents a new worldview and paradigm shift in delivering health care.  IM has many benefits but is also plagued with several challenges for both practitioner and patient. Patients depend on clinical experts to give them the best advice about their health care. They want to trust a clinician with experience.To become an excellent health care provider presently requires several crucial attributes, such as being: an information guru; multi-media literate; a communication specialist, and a creative problem finder and not just problem solver.

Cervicogenic and Tension Headaches: Myofascial Techniques
Til Luchau

Our understanding of cervicogenic and tension headaches has been greatly enriched by recent research into manual therapy’s relevant mechanisms and effects. Join popular lecturer and author Til Luchau as he elucidates and demonstrates, fascia-based manual therapy techniques, informed by both fascial research and biopsychosocial perspectives.
Aims and objectives: Increase your repertory and understanding of assessments, approaches, techniques for several kinds of head pain, including common headaches, tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and more.

NB TIl Luchau’s slide presentation will be heavily edited but a Link to his slides available as part of the product you receive.

Advisory Panel
with keynote and specialist presenters


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