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The Fourth International Fascia Research Congress: The Body Connected
The Fourth International Fascia Research Congress (FRC), held September 18-20, 2015 near Washington, DC, USA continued the tradition of presenting the latest and best scientific research on fasciae in all its forms and functions. Researchers from six continents presented. Nearly 800 people, including a variety of health professions from more than 35 countries, attended and gave scientists and clinicians the opportunity to further understanding of the unique role of fascia in health.
In the opening plenary session, Carla Stecco, MD presented findings from the Fascial Nomenclature Committee. They reached consensus to use a dual definition of fascia. For anatomical findings, the fasciae will be named by dissectible aggregations of connective tissue such as sheaths and sheets that comply with Terminologie Anatomica. A second system of naming fascia will be used for functional findings that apply to fascia’s interconnectedness, especially in movement. The consensus reached was timely, as the Fascia Research Society recently received a request for anatomical nomenclature from the International Federation of Association of Anatomists.
The FRC included 19 plenary presentations, a few dozen break-out sessions, and more than 100 posters. The Fascia Research Society presented a pre-conference workshop so attendees were better able to understand and utilize research results and be more prepared to pursue research in the future. Nineteen post-conference workshops gave clinicians and scientists additional time to share findings. The awards dinner acknowledged Steven Levin, Thomas Findley, and three young scientists for the best abstracts presented at the Congress.
The final portion of the Fourth International Fascia Research Congress—the Joint Conference on Fascia, Acupuncture and Oncology—will be held on November 14, 2015 at Harvard Medical School conference center. This joint conference is a collaboration between the Fascia Research Society, the Society for Integrative Oncology, and the Society for Acupuncture Research. For more information, visit: http://www.fasciacongress.org/2015/conference/joint-conference-fascia-cancer/.
The fifth Fascia Research Congress will also be hosted by the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation and is being planned for spring 2018 in Europe.
Highlights from this year’s conference include:
· The discussion mentioned above about anatomical nomenclature. This discussion highlights that the need to know more about fascia is being recognized by the international anatomical organization. There is also a growing recognition that fascia plays an important role in traditional anatomy, but that its function as a connector defies traditional reductionist labels.
· The multi-faceted, continuous role of fascia, beyond its biomechanical nature, and how it connects with the nervous and biochemical systems. This is particularly relevant to yoga teachers in that they see the body, the person, as connected, but it can get very confusing to consider all the possibilities. Fascia is a map we can use to understand the body better in a more integrated way.
· Jap van der Wal’s presentation on the philosophy of fascia. Dr. van der Wal was an anatomy professor who became interested in fascia, and then became a fascia specialist. Fascia’s unique characteristics led to his interest in embryology , in which he sees the body not as a thing, but as a process that is unfolding. This process acts more quickly when we are embryos, but it continues after we are born, albeit at a slower rate. Fascia holds the form of this ability to transform and change.
· Likewise, Dr. Guimberteau, a hand surgeon, had also looked at the body in a mechanical way, but his experience led him to investigate fascia and discover something that went beyond his original ideas. He spoke on how the body is not composed of different parts, because nothing is truly separate when it is connected by fascia.
Some come to the FRC looking for validation for their work, and they find reinforcement for what they are doing. But many are more interested in the bigger-picture view that fascia represents: the wholeness of the body connected.
Alignment is Anita’s profession, both in her practice as a Hellerwork Structural Integrator and as a yoga teacher. She believes that alignment is more than good posture; she has found it to be a path to greater awareness, self-discovery, healing, and profound living. Enthusiasm and a desire to help others with these powerful tools prompted a change of profession from insurance to alternative health. Anita graduated from the Institute of Structural Medicine in 2001 (head instructor, Donna Bajelis, PT, CHP, SMS) and The Yoga Barn teacher training program (head instructor, Robin Rothenberg) in 2009.
Anita is also the author of Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation, a health blog (www.undulationexercise.blogspot.com) and numerous articles.