The Latest Understanding About Transforming Your Lumpy Legs into Luscious Legs
Your Bumpy Butt into a Beautiful Butt
and why men should pay attention too
(even though they don’t have
lumpy legs or bumpy butts,
or in other words,
ll’s and bb’s are not a female FAT problem;
it’s a male/female FASCIA problem
(and indicates an underlying pathology)
This Musings is based on integrating the understandings and experiences of three notable experts in the field of health: Joseph Mercola, Art Jaffe, and Ashley Black. There are profound misunderstandings about the nature, cause, and effective treatments of cellulite. Oddly, traditional medicine has under-estimated the seriousness of the affliction. It is NOT a problem that just women have. Men, too, suffer from the underlying cause, though it doesn’t manifest itself in the same unattractive way of dimpled skin. And it’s not a mere beauty issue. To the contrary, for women, cellulite is only the messenger of bad news; for men, there is no ugly dimpled skin messenger of the bad news, but the news is still bad. Where there is cellulite, there is tangled fascia. Where there is tangled fascia, there is pain, impingment of nerve tissue, and inadequate circulation.
Thankfully, fascia is beginning to be understood, and researched as a serious medical issue. Art Jaffe just returned from Ulm, Germany, where he attended the CONNECT 2017 Conference, co-sponsored by the Department of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine, University Hospital, Ulm, and the Fascia Reasearch Group at Ulm University. CONNECT 2017 describes itself as aiming “to advance our understanding of how musculoskeletal connective tissues participate in muscular force transmission and respond to different types of mechanical load. The effects of gender, genetic factors and hormonal differences on musculoskeletal tissue adaptation and regeneration” are also explored.
Art Jaffe, fascia expert
There, Jaffe met Kurt Mosetter, M.D., founder of the Myoreflex Therapy, Co-Founder and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Therapies with its main headquarters in Konstanz, Germany. Dr. Mosetter is, as well, the author of The Sugar Detox Plan. Yes, the Germans actually have a whole research department at a presitigious university devoted to the study of fascia; there are hundreds of affiliates performing the Myoreflex Therapy throughout Europe; whereas, in this country, most healing practitioners barely give fascia a nod in terms of thinking about it as contributing to medical issues.
Look at what the prestigious Mayo Clinic has to say about cellulite (aka fascia):
- “Cellulite looks like dimpled or bumpy skin. It’s sometimes described as having a cottage cheese or orange peel texture.”
- “It involves fibrous connective cords that tether the skin to the underlying muscle, with the fat lying between. As fat cells accumulate, they push up against the skin, while the long, tough cords pull down.”
These statements are accurate descriptions of cellulite. Yeaaa for Mayo. They got the description of cellulite right.
Unfortunately, many of the rest of the statements on their website are inaccurate:
- “Cellulite isn’t a serious medical condition, and treatment isn’t necessary. In fact, many doctors consider cellulite a normal occurrence…”
- “Little is known about what causes cellulite.”
- “An inactive lifestyle also can increase your chances of having cellulite…”
Because cellulite has been traditionally thought of as a non-dangerous condition, it has not garnered much respect or interest within the medical community. Instead, the beauty industry has coopted the concern. Although the manifestation of cellulite is, indeed, an unsightly look of the skin—lumpy, dimply, dented skin, usually in the legs and buttocks, and occasionally in the arms—the process of the development of cellulite and the over-all health implications of it have not been adequately investigated.
Contrary to medical thought on cellulite, Mercola, Jaffe and Black understand cellulite to be, by no means, an innocuous cosmetic condition with no ramifications for over-all health. To the contrary, they see it as reflecting an underlying bodily disturbance that demands serious attention, because without correction, it leads to many other health disturbances, and much pain, for both men and women.
Women are, traditionally, the ones who care most about cellulite, because 90% of us look down at our legs and see it. We spend vast amounts of money on trying to get rid of it. We try creams, laser treatments, fillers (Restylane), liposuction, massage, compression leggings, Cryolipolysis, Ultrasound, and Mesotherapy. Most treatments don’t work, or work so minimally that we women despair as summer approaches each year.
Only 10% of men have cellulite. The reason for the discrepancy in gender stats has to do with the difference in how men and women’s connective tissue and fat cells are arranged. Fat cells in women are typically arranged vertically under the skin. When the tops of fat cells protrude through the connective tissue (fascia), the recognizable skin dimpling is caused. Fat cells in men, however, are usually arranged horizontally and lay flat against each other, without any bulging.
Because fat cells seem to be involved in the appearance of cellulite, it has been commonly thought that excess or larger than usual fat cells are the problem. In other words, according to this theory, being overweight seems to be a relevant factor. Yet, any woman who has had even just a passing interest in cellulite has noticed, on any given beach, that thin women are just as likely to have cellulite as overweight women.
Mercola, Jaffe, and Black have all proposed, however, that the fat theory of cellulite is incorrect. They propose that the problem is not fat, but fascia. And because men are more concerned with muscle strength and building, fascia may be an even more common problem with men. One of the men I interviewed for this article had been a Navy Seal demolition expert. He told me about one of his buddies, also a Seal, who was interested in building muscle as quickly as possible. The man succeeded, and his legs, especially his thighs, became like “steel posts” (as described by my interviewee). But the man also developed debilitating, non-stop pain in his legs. The official medical opinion (kudos to the doc who even knew about fascia at the time) was that his fascia had not grown as quickly as his muscles, and they were not stretched out sufficiently to adequately contain the musculature. The man’s body was not able to make the accommodation to the needs of his fascia, and he, ultimately, had to quit the Seals. As that unfortunate man found out, the health and care of fascia contributes greatly to our over-all wellbeing and ability to live a pain-free life. And unluckily, he didn’t have neuromuscular therapist Art Jaffe to treat him, and hadn’t read Ashley Black’s book, The Cellulite Myth, and didn’t know about her FasciaBlaster®.
I have been hearing about fascia on an almost non-stop basis for many years from Art, who is my personal body-worker. I have been having weekly treatments from him for several years. I live absolutely pain-free, and at my age of 70, I would say that this is a fairly uncommon and remarkable feat. I attribute my flexibility and ease of movement to his work, as well as to my daily yoga practice. Art is the most fascia-expert who I personally know. When he describes his work, Spiral Techniques, as a neuromuscular therapist, he never ceases to bring in the word fascia—a concept that I knew nothing about until I met him—about 20 times in any given sentence. And he talks, too, eloquently and continuously, about all the problems with fascia. So I have learned from him the key words related to fascia problems: “adhesions,” “scar tissue,” “restrictions,” distortions,” “limited range of motion,” etc.
Fascia is connective tissue, and is the most prevalent tissue in the body. Its function is to connect all things to all other things in the body (organs, bones, veins, arteries, muscles). It’s everywhere and it interfaces with all other systems of the body (muscular, circulatory, cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, immune).
Fascia forms a latticework structure within the body, from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet. One of fascia’s main jobs is to protect everything it encapsulates. It stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs (so, for instance, if you happen to be jumping up and down, your stomach is able to stay close to the rest of your intestinal tract, not move up on its own pleasure where your lungs or heart are). Fascia provides a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. In doing all this, fascia is what gives shape to your body. Without fascia, we would look like the gelatinous blob that movies tell us occasionally invades from outer space.
Basically, wherever there is blank space anywhere within the body, fascia will find its way there. It’s like a creeping vine wandering its way through a forest, landing on the sides of trees, in between the boughs of all trees and bushes, on top of the leaves—anywhere at all.
To stress the importance of fascia, consider this factoid: we are born into, and develop from our fascia. Fascia is literally, factually, biologically the very first cells that are formed in our journey from zygote to human. All of who we will become, and all of who we are presently, began in the womb with our first fascia.
Unlike the brain, which has no pain receptors, fascia makes up for the difference by being the most pain sensitive tissue in the body. This is important, because when you are in pain, it affects your entire Body/Brain. It makes you stupider. And, when you are in pain, a likely source of that pain involves your fascia.
When fascia is healthy, its texture is like the bottom sheet of your bed. If you went to camp (as I did), or were in the military (as I was not), you learned (as I did) to make up your bed with hospital corners. The bottom sheet is tucked in tightly at all corners. This helps when you wake up the next morning, and have to rush to either your tennis lesson (camp), or your jumping hurdles (military), and you are in a rush. With hospital corners, the bottom sheet stayed tight all night, and all you have to do is pull the top sheet and blanket tight. You don’t even have to tuck them in to make the bed look neat. The neat look is dependent on the bottom sheet—the foundation of the bed-making. If the bottom sheet has gotten crinkly during the night, it doesn’t matter how many times you try smoothing out the top bedding. You’ll just never get it flat. In addition, if you don’t do hospital corners, then, while you are sleeping your bottom sheet will become a mess of lumpy, balled up sheet fabric. It won’t be comfortable to sleep on, besides making you late for your first morning activity because of not being able to wake up from your restless not-good-enough-sleep.
So, the texture of fascia is like the bottom sheet: smooth and even. Although this is good description of the consistency of fascia, it doesn’t portray other aspects of our connective tissue. The composition of fascia isn’t a flat surface like a sheet at all. In its quality of ubiquitous-ness, it’s more like air. It’s on, under and around all other bodily substances (like the forest vine); it penetrates into and surrounds tissues, organs, glands, bones. Kind of like this boy’s yucky stuff working its way through the hard matter of his bones and flesh. If he had more yucky stuff, it would completely surround his hands, like fascia surrounds everything in the body, poking through spaces in between harder matter of flesh, bones, organs, and all else.
Fascia Funk and Why Sitting Is the New Smoking
Here is the bottom line: if you are in pain, it is likely that your fascia is in an unhealthy state, and is involved in the creation of the discomfort. One of the main reasons why we get into what I call a FASCIA FUNK has to do with a much-maligned little muscle called the psoas, also referred to as hip flexors. We misuse our psoas most of all when we are sitting. And we all sit far too much for our own good. It’s why holistic health practitioners today are saying that sitting is the new smoking—or, even more dangerous.
The psoas is located deep in the front of the hip, and it connects the legs, pelvic area, and abdomen. Without hip flexors, we would not be able to bend over, climb stairs, kick a ball, or walk. Obviously, hip flexors are essential for most activities that comprise a physically active life. The strength and flexibility of your hip flexors/psoas is unrelated to how active you are as an athlete. They are entirely related to how much you stretch, but also to how much you sit. In the sitting position, hip flexors shorten. Shortening leads to tightening. And, then, finally, weakening.
There is a lot of fascia around the groin and hip areas, and it surrounds and inter-penetrates the hip flexors, the psoas.
Sitting is just about the worse position you can put yourself in because of the hip flexors and the surrounding fascia. Sitting throws your body into the survival fight/flight mode: the sympathetic-on position that I have talked about in past Musings. Because the hip flexors enable us to run away from an encroaching lion (or speeding encroaching car, or threatening mugger), they tighten when we sense we are in danger. Adrenalin is then released to give us a surge of energy to either run for our lives, or fight ‘til death do us part.
Even though you may feel relaxed when you are sitting, or even drowsy, some parts of your Body/Brain system are wide awake, and in an intense state of fear specifically because of the position of your too-tight hip flexors. Sitting for long stretches of time every day, as many of us do during the course of our workday, communicates to the Body/Brain that we are in constant danger. Instinctively, in such a situation, we would either go into protection mode (fetal position), or we would run. Both actions tighten the psoas, and, in response, the fascia. In the work office, we can’t engage in either FIGHT or FLIGHT: we can’t curl up into a ball, because we would be carted off; we can’t run because we have a report due on our boss’ desk in three hours. So, we go into our next survival mode. We (meaning the “we” that is our “body,” or more precisely, the autonomic nervous system part of our body) get scared, not only about the immediate danger, but the long-term danger: that there won’t be enough food around. When we sit, our body goes into fat storage mode. There are even special cells in the body for fat storage. They are called adipocyte cells, and while they are distributed throughout the body, they really love, most of all, being in the abdominal area. That’s why people who have too much fat (aka, overweight) are always too fat in the mid-section, their abdomens. Then, if food disappears, there will be, at least, enough fat available within the body to be able to burn off some of that stored fat, and get some needed energy to continue living and moving.
Of course, if you’re not really in danger, then the fat storage capacity of the body works against you, and you never get rid of the stored fat. The next thing that happens is that adrenaline (the stress hormone) keeps on surging, and because of being overworked, our adrenals (which produce adrenaline) finally get too tired to continue functioning well. Our immune system responds in kind, too tired to continue the good fight. And it all goes downhill from there. All from sitting at that damned desk all day.
And There Is the Water Problem Too
I’ve given a couple of analogies of what fascia is like. Here is another one. It’s like a sponge. If the sponge is hydrated, it remains supple, juicy and pliable. Moist sponges also have the attribute of getting both smaller, and bigger, depending on the pressure you put on it, how hard you squeeze, or relax your hand. Because a sponge is so responsive to how you are handling it, it feels almost alive, as it once was. In its responsiveness, it’s like fat, able to get bigger or smaller depending on you, and how you handle it.
The fat cells in your body can actually grow in size. And like fat, when fascia becomes dehydrated, it gets hard and stiff. This is when the cellulite bulging happens: the fat cells put pressure on the fascia and bulge through whatever openings it can find to your skin. This pressure stretches out the collagen fibers that comprise the fascia like a pair of old pants that have lost their shape and never quite fit right again. This is why, even when you have lost weight, and have reduced your body fat, the cellulite may still be there. The fascia itself has become damaged. Again, cellulite is not a fat issue. It’s a fascia issue.
Hydrating helps. Drinking more water is usually a good idea because most of us are dehydrated. Moving, too, is good because moving helps to keep fascia hydrated.
In spite of the brilliance of the alliterative term “Fascia Freak-Out,” (I LOVE alliteration) I didn’t invent it. There is apparently another woman in the world who loves alliteration as much as I do. She is Ashley Black, who I mentioned earlier. I liked her book, The Cellulite Myth, a lot. It was a fun and easy read, and her intention is to educate the world about the need for healthy fascia in order to have an over-all healthy body.
Ashley has created a schemata for “Fascia Freak Out” that can help you to avoid fascia hell, and not have to quit being a demolition Navy Seal. She tells you the state of your fascia, and describes in great gory detail how the rest of your body is, simultaneously, responding to bad fascia. She has seven basic categories of devolution (deterioration/ degradation). In a lot of the symptoms, it will not be immediately obvious how fascia is involved. But if you read the book, she explains all. She documents the changes in the blood nerves, muscles and tendons, spine and joints. And, in each of the seven levels, the brain, too, is affected. As a psychoanalyst, I am specifically interested in how all things affect the brain. And, as well, I am finishing up my next project, called Brainercize, which is a series of group exercises that maintain and restore brain integrity.
It’s worth repeating what Ashley Black indicates happens specifically to the brain as the fascia throughout the body becomes more and more unhealthy. It’s scary. And who would have thought? Who would have put together that how the brain is operating is a direct result of that airy-fairy gelatinous stuff that surrounds our organs and muscles and all else in the body? Truly, it was a revelation to me. But, then again, I didn’t know until I read her book that even the brain is covered with and penetrated by fascia. Here are Ashley’s seven stages:
Stage 1: The only stage of wellness
- Endorphins are easily released
- Serotonin levels are balanced
- Memory is good
- Anxiety is minimal
- Sleep is restorative
- A sense of well-being is felt most of the time
- Energy levels are good
Then we get to the six devolution stages.
Stage 2: In which muscles feel tight and knotty
- Occasional headaches can happen
- Sense of over-all discomfort
- Early sense of what has come to be called “brain fog”
- Neck and upper back may feel tight or achy
Stage 3: In which small spider and varicose veins make their first appearance; muscles get sore easily; inflammation happens without apparent explanation
- Feeling of stress
- Muscles contract in response to stress
- Feeling of pain in the body, as body sends message to brain that it’s not doing too well
- Brain receives message from body, which then further stresses brain
Stage 4: In which sciatica can occur; varicose veins pop out; neck is losing its natural curvature and becoming flat; hips feel jammed; joints are swelling
- Feeling of fatigue on a regular basis
- Pain becomes more frequent
- Feel the need for anti-inflammatory drugs
- Thought processes begin to be affected
Stage 5: In which limbs fall asleep easily; skin looks washed-out; some muscles have atrophied while others, that have attempted to compensate, are in frequent states of spasm; herniation of vertebrae discs
- Pain now present on a regular basis
- Need to discontinue exercise programs because there is too much pain
- Blurred vision possible
- May consider surgery as a “quik fix” though probably doomed to failure
- Occasional ringing of ears
Stage 6: In which blood pressure is high (as full-body circulation has become a major challenge for the blood); moving and exercise are very difficult; pain is more or less continuous and can be lodged anywhere in the body; skin is sensitive to touch; gait changes with perhaps a limp, a drop foot, or an arm that won’t swing; physical activity discontinued altogether
- Migraines may be present
- Sleep is greatly disturbed
- Ringing in ears
- Lack of energy to live a normal life
- Center of gravity severely disturbed, and balance is challenged
- Simple walking can cause Fascia Freak Out that results in having to lie down and stay in bed until temporary recovery kicks in
Stage 7: In which there is only minimal functioning: muscle movement painful and impaired; heart condition not uncommon; nervous system is shot; very little strength and almost no flexibility
- Bed is where the person spends most of the day
- Pain killers are frequently used but to no avail
- Sense of hopelessness becomes psychological state
- NO energy whatsoever
Fascia is one of the main mediums of communication between body and brain. There are two things you need to know about fascia to understand how it is like the communication wire that brings the voice of another over a telephone wire (when we still had only wires for transmission of sound).
- Your nervous system is housed in your spinal cord, and through those “electrical wires” (like the ones that we still use to plug into the electrical outlets in your house), transmission of information is sent to your brain.
- Blood and nerves run alongside one another within the fascia. So, what is happening to your fascia has a direct communication line to your brain.
As a psychoanalyst, and specialist in cancer, I have long been interested in the intersection of mind and body. But until I started studying fascia, I didn’t understand that fascia is one of the main places where mind and body meet.
Cellusage™ to the Rescue
Cellusage™ is a unique, dynamic and revolutionary therapy that we at La Casa have develooped, based on the findings of Mercola, Jaffe and Black, for reducing cellulite, untangling fascia, and many other over-all health benefits (as per Ashley Black’s schemata).
Ashley Black has created a device that she calls the Fascia Blaster®. It’s an odd looking thing, resembling a bar with fingers on it. Ashley has collected data on over 100,000 women who have used it. Her data shows that daily usage of it:
- Restores fascia
- Smooths the skin
- Smooths fat cells
- Increases blood flow
- Improves nerve activity
- Increases access to muscles for therapeutic effect
- Helps to rearrange bone structure
- Improves stretch marks
- Breaks down scar tissue
- Reduces vein appearance
- Improves neurology
- Stimulates detoxification
- Improves organ function
- Improves flexibility
- Improves sports performance
- Inhibits pain
- Improves over-all well-being
La Casa has created a treatment that incorporates Ashley’s device, as well as other therapies, enabling the treatment to deliver yet even more beneficial therapy than Ashley’s sole device can. We add to the treatment magnetic therapy, light therapy, whole body vibration therapy, and infrared sauna heat detoxification therapy.
Click HERE to read about La Casa’s profoundly powerful treatment, Cellusage™, to repair and maintain healthy fascia. Cellusage™ is a powerful 5-pronged attack on the fascia problem.