Understanding the process of fascial unwinding
AbstractFascial or myofascial unwinding is a manual therapy in which a therapist encourages a client’s body to move into areas of ease. It typically involves the client undergoing an induction procedure and this is usually followed by a spontaneous reaction. This paper proposes a model that builds upon the neurobiological, ideomotor action, and consciousness theories to explain the process and mechanism of fascial unwinding. During fascial unwinding, the therapist stimulates mechanoreceptors in the fascia by applying gentle touch and stretching. Touch and stretching induce relaxation and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. It also activates the central nervous system, which is involved in the modulation of muscle tone as well as movement. As a result, the central nervous system is aroused and thereby responds by encouraging muscles to find an easier, or more relaxed position, and by introducing the ideomotor action. Although the ideomotor action is generated via normal voluntary motor control systems, it is altered and experienced as an involuntary response. Consequently, fascial unwinding can be thought of as a neurobiological process employing the self-regulation dynamic system theory.
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