News Update: Major Contributors in Fascia Research

Written By: Jeffery Dalhouse, RMT, Myofascial Specialist  

In Nov 2014, four months after I ordered it, the new book by Leon Chaitow Manual Therapy Approaches to Fascial Dysfunctions finally arrived.  I was reading about Leon Chaitow that summer when I came across an outline on his website.

This book was published by Handspring Publishers, in 2014. The book’s outline is given below – with details of a dozen or so contributed chapters by experts who have agreed to provide practical information that should allow therapists/practitioners to explore aspects of the method being described. Among the guest contributors – describing fascial assessment approaches, is Tom Myers – and as you will see alongside chapter titles the leading experts in their fields have agreed to participate.

For more, click here.

Section 1: Fascia and the clinician – Translating the scientific evidence into clinical applications

Ch1 A clinicians guide to fascial function – including brief anatomy and physiology notes that include explanations of force transmission, mechanotransduction, fluid dynamics, neurophysiological features, and the role of fascial cells (fibroblasts) in the healing process. A glossary of terms will be included in this chapter. Leon Chaitow   

Ch2 What happens when fascia becomes dysfunctional due to trauma, inflammation, pathology, ageing etc – leading to fibrosis, ‘densification’, adhesions etc – and the symptoms that may follow. Leon Chaitow   

Ch3 Assessment approaches – including ‘anatomy trains concepts;: Tom Myers

Ch4 Known and hypothesised methods of fascial modification, including the effects of movement, compression, shear forces, stretch etc.  – validated mechanisms and hypothetical models. Leon Chaitow   

Section 2: Modalities that focus on, or that beneficially influence, fascial dysfunction.

This section comprises a selection of 14 therapeutic models or approaches, listed alphabetically, below. 

The chapters will be user-friendly’, scientific but avoiding excessively academic language. 

Each of these will broadly follow the same model – presenting a brief history and the protocols involved, and insofar as evidence exists brief summaries of studies that validate the method, and/or describe the relationship with fascia/connective tissues.  

The tone of these chapters will encourage the reader to explore the method being discussed – but will not be promotional/advertorial in nature. They will explain, and encourage further exploration – but are not designed to ‘sell’ the method.

One or more detailed ‘exercises’ (assessment and/or therapeutic) will be described for the practitioner/reader to use experientially – ideally on him/herself (BUT NOT IN A CLINICAL SETTING WITHOUT TRAINING).

(Note: some of these chapter titles may change)

  • Bowen Technique: Michelle (Marr) Watson, Julian Baker
  • Connective Tissue Massage/Manipulation (CTM): Liz Holey, John Dixon 
  • Exercise related methods and fascia: Robert Schleip
  • Fascial Manipulation®: Carla Stecco, Antonio Stecco, Julie Day
  • Fascial Unwinding/Balanced Ligamentous Tension: Paolo Tozzi
  • Instrument Assisted Methods (e.g. Graston®): Warren Hammer 
  • Fascia and Muscle Energy Techniques: Leon Chaitow       
  • Myofascial Induction/Release: Andrzej Pilat
  • Neuromuscular Techniques: Leon Chaitow  
  • Positional Release Techniques: Leon Chaitow 
  • Rolfing®/Structural integration: Jonathan Martine 
  • Scar management: Willem Fourie 
  • Therapeutic massage and fascia: Sandy Fritz  
  • Trigger point release methods (+dry needling): Cesar Fernandez-de-las-Penas

For more, click here

I was not disappointed by the wait. The book is well organized, concise, full of information that lays a good framework to understand the role of fascia, from its microscopic composition to its neurological connectivity, and an overview of the various hypothesis concerning the various organizational theories of fascia. 

  • full of black and white pictures and graphics
  • all of the contributors are distinguished doctors, researchers and manual practitioners currently involved in significant work to further the field.  Most of them have websites and it is worth it to explore them. 
  • Each chapter has an extensive list of references, what an incredible resource of articles! 
  • Particularly interesting is chapter 2 on Fascial dysfunction and disease, causes, effects and possible manual therapy options, because as a therapist it is interesting to see an assembly of associated conditions.  We come into personal contact with many clients who suffer from these conditions and to have an organized spectrum of dysfunction assembled with fascia as the common factor is appreciated.  When you lay it all out all the organized pieces and analyze them, patterns and common threads emerge.  It is very inspiring for the fascia enthusiast to read this book, as it is an excellent launchpad for further exploration. 


Next week: How Fascia is Organized


**Remember, this is a forum to open up intriguing and positive communications with other professionals. Please feel free to post anything you feel you would like to share in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you!