Click here to listen to The Onion: Another Analogy to Understand Fascia


Hi, everyone. It’s Dr. Trish, and today I am coming on to live YouTube as well as recording a podcast. The title of this podcast is “The Onion: Another Analogy to Understand Fascia.” You see, the onion…I’m going to share my screen and show you an image of an onion to try and help you understand what I’m talking about here.

As you see, fascia is the holistic system of the body, the fascial system, that surrounds everything in your body. We’ve talked about this numerous times on the different podcasts we’ve done more recently. There are so many analogies to try and help you understand the fascial system. We’ve talked about the analogy of an orange and the idea that when you peel an orange, the white material below the skin and the white material that separates the sections of the orange is fascia! That’s a real, true example of it in real life that you can experience and interact with. I’ve also talked, and I talk a lot about fascia and us. We are like puppets. The bones are the sticks of the puppet and the fascia is the strings, the fabric that will help move the bones. All of your bones are surrounded by fascia. All of your muscles are surrounded by fascia. Fascia interdigitates around every fiber of every muscle, and so on and so on. It is an amazing holistic system.

If you experience pain or you have postural imbalances and you go to a provider like myself, a physician or a bodyworker that uses myofascial release, they are trying to work with this fascial system and they are working with the fabric of life in order to unwind it and untie knots and improve balance and hydrate it.

The point I want to bring home today with this concept of the onion, another analogy to help you understand fascia, is the idea that if in this image of the onion you can see when you peel an onion there are many, many layers to an onion. There are the superficial outer layers and then there is another layer and another layer and another layer. You just keep going through the layers until you get to the center of the onion. You see that in this image of an onion cut in half and the opening inside of it facing you and you can see and of course what separates it into those sections or those cylindrical layers – fascia!

Onions have fascia. Oranges have fascia. We have fascia. Folks, fascia is the fabric of all life. Anything that’s living has a connective tissue and has fascia.Click To Tweet

So, fascia is…the fabric is made up of threads. I’ve done talks on the different types like collagen and elastin and fibroblasts and different types of cells and the different types of material that make up the fascia on a microscopic level. But again, fascia when it comes out as fabric, if you will, or as spiderweb like with its tendrils, again is in layers. The point is, folks, what you want to understand is that fascia is supposed to be very lubricated. Fascia is actually 90% water. Another analogy I’ve talked about is that fascia is like a sponge. When you look at fascia microscopically, it looks like a sponge. The layers are supposed to be full of water and they’re supposed to slide on each other a lot. Again, you’ll notice in this image of the onion there are layers and these layers should be sliding on each other and mobile. What happens is that there are these superficial layers and then you can have as a body worker or as a doctor or osteopath that people come to see me with their pain. I start working on their structure. I am feeling the connective tissue. I’m feeling the fascia, and I can feel into the superficial layers and I can feel also into the deeper layers.

What happens many times when I work on someone the first time – let’s say someone comes to me and has had low back pain for ten years, chronic low back pain for ten years. Let’s say they did have an injury ten years ago, but over the years they’ve just had this chronic, even debilitating at times, low back pain. Sometimes you’ll even get radiating pain down the legs, right? Sciatica. Many people have heard of that. Well, let’s say this person works in construction or works a job where they move around and use their body a lot. Or, let’s say this person is more of a computer-based, sitting all the time at a computer person. In either of these examples, whether you’re moving all the time in work and only work, or whether you’re sitting all the time, the deep tissues that first need to stay hydrated and need to be sliding, become more dried up and they become more stuck and sticky on each other. They become like a mortar, like a putty, or like a cement even if enough time goes by and they become dried out enough.

So, when someone comes to me and I start working on them, I can have an effect right off the bat on the superficial outer layers of the connective tissue. But, it’s very difficult to get deep into the tissues and hydrate and put any dent or mobility or slide back into the deep layers of the onion here, for example, or the deep tissues of your body. What happens is that if someone comes to me, let’s say, once a month and I work on them, I can only have an effect over time on the superficial layers and then maybe some of the medium-deep layers. I’m never going to be able to get into the deep, deep layers and hydrate them and break up the mortar and get it mushy and squishy like a sponge again unless the client, the patient, you are doing something on a daily basis to get into these deeper tissues slowly but surely.

You do not want to force deep fascia to move when it doesn’t want to.Click To Tweet Remember, a sponge that’s dried up is going to tear or rip or break rather than bend or become more squishy if you force it when it’s too dry. We need to work slowly and emphatically and systematically over time doing homework to try and get into the deeper tissues of the onion, the deeper tissues and the hydrating and unstick them and get them to move. Hydrate them, loosen them, and break up the mortar.

How do you do that? What’s the homework? Well, that’s where movement comes in. basic stretching techniques are one way. Another way is to do yoga. Another way is to do self-myofascial release. All of these types of techniques are the ways in order to try and get into the deeper and deeper layers of the fascia like the onion and try and get that deep so that even way in deep near your spinal cord…or I should say your spinal column because you’re not going to get to the spinal cord. There are muscles around your spinal column, the vertebrae, and they all attach to the vertebrae and stuff. We need to loosen them up and get the fascia and the muscles – and the muscles are all surrounded and are interdigitated with fascia – to again loosen, break up the mortar, and get everything moving again.

I hope this has helped. The big concept here today is to get you to understand that the mortar forms deeper and deeper in the deep layers of the onion or the fascial layers. In order to mobilize that, if you’re someone like our example of chronic pain in the back, you need to start stretching on a daily basis. You’re going to want to look into a gentle and easy yoga class. You can also start looking into classes on self-myofascial release. Now, we offer these classes through Discover Health Movement Membership. If you go to my website (my company is called Discover Health Functional Medicine Center), right on the home page and scroll down you’re going to find Discover Health Movement Membership. You also can do and that will take you right to the exact spot in my website so that you can learn more about Discover Health Movement Membership.

Now, this is a monthly membership where for an extremely low cost of under $25 a month, you’re going to get three classes a week. One is a Discover Yoga class. Two is a Self-Myofascial Release class. The third class is Movement for Longevity. All three of these classes’ purpose is to help you optimize your fascial tissues, hydrate them, unstick them, make the mortar turn back into the sliding onion layers that we’re talking about today. This would be an answer. We have people doing our program on a regular basis improving their pain and improving their ability to keep doing the things they want to do.

If you are forty-something or above and you are feeling your age, then you need to understand your fascial system and watch more of the programs we have on this YouTube channel that we have. Understand these different analogies of the onion that I’ve talked about today, the puppet concept that I’ve talked about in other videos, the orange concept and the fact of understanding what fascia is, and all the different videos I’ve done with our different Discover Health Movement Membership instructors on posture, improving your balance, your pelvic floor (many people have problems with the pelvic floor so we’ve done a whole webinar on that), as well as a whole webinar on the anatomy of fascia.

I hope this has helped, and we’ll see on the next episode of Discover Health Podcast!


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