What is Fascia? Anatomy & Physiology

Fascia explained by Guimberteux and Armstrong 2015

Fascia is the tensional, continuous fibrillar network within the body, extending from the surface of the skin to the nucleus of the cell. This global network is mobile, adaptable, fractal, and irregular. It constitutes the basic structural architecture of the human body.

The old way to explain Fascia

  • Thin layer around a muscle, the white we see on a piece of meat.
  • Goes in line with the old idea of a divided body, where fascia is what separates different parts and layers from each other.

The updated explanation of Fascia

Schleip 2013, Stecco 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, Langevin 2002, 2006

  • Fascia is ONE system, without beginning and end that maintains interconnection, communication and interaction between different parts of the body.
  • Our body, everything in our body, consists of cells and the substance outside or cells, the extracellular matrix (ECM).
  • A tissue is a group of cells with similar tasks (muscle tissue, bone tissue) and they are all encapsulated by the ECM.

The Extracellular Matrix (ECM)

  • ECM consists of fibers (for example collagen) who provides stability
  • … and the fluid, gel like, ground substance (incl. hyaluronan acid and water) responsible for cell migration, shock absorption and sliding/gliding functions.
  • This structure enables the interconnection and communication between all parts of the body.
  • Fascia, is the ECM and the cells creating and managing the ECM (like fibroblasts & fasciacytes)

Dig deeper into Fascia Anatomy & Physiology


Hyaluronan has a number of important physiological functions in our body and is critical for the slide and glide effects between muscle fibers and fascial sublayers. Therefore, it greatly affects our ability to move in balance and it helps maintain tissue homeostasis.

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Embryology of fascia

During the embryonic development, three primary layers of cells forms, which give rise to all tissues and organs. One of them is the origin of fascia, skeletal, cartilage and muscle, all components which are associated with locomotion.

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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, about 30% of our body protein. Next to water, collagen is the most common component of connective tissue.

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The components in fascia

The body consists of cells and the matrix outside, between the cells, the extracellular matrix (ECM). Fascia is the ECM and the cells maintaining the ECM. In this article the components of the Fascia are listed and explained.

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