Fascinating fascia in acupuncture and craniosacral therapy


When working with the patient’s body, it never ceases to amaze me and my patient how perfect the body is, how the body reacts, how the patient feels burping on the abdomen when working with the legs, how acupuncture can radiate to a distant part of the patient’s body. the body, how people react with different feelings, reactions, emotions..


Almost every acupuncturist has had their patients ask, “Why are you needling my leg when I have a headache?”


The local and distal effects of acupuncture can be understood using the example of fascia.

Fascia is a massive system, the interface between the musculoskeletal, nervous and immune systems. Fascia is a band or layer of connective tissue, primarily collagen, under the skin that connects, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs—intertwining our entire body.


Modern research on fascia has been completed by Dr Jean Claude Guimberteau, known for his groundbreaking research in 2005 on the microanatomy of living tissue in the human body, using an endoscope with a high definition video camera.


According to Dr. For Guimberteau there is only connective tissue and continuous matter, and the body is one continuum where there are no boundaries between tissues, no separation between skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia, nerves, aponeurosis, muscles and bones.


It has many functions: it holds organs in place, offers a path for nerves and blood vessels, stores energy and connects muscles to bones, even conducts electricity thanks to collagen. Layers of water are attached to the collagen fibers, which form a uniquely conductive pathway. These substances, together with elastin and elastic fibers, create a more fluid or stiff composition depending on your movements.

Here are more facts about fascia:


  1. Fascia is a new concept in medicine

  2. Fascia does not show up on MRI, CT, or X-rays

  3. Fascia itself has no form, but is ubiquitous in the body, mostly invisible, surrounding every tissue in the body

  4. It’s one huge sensory organ, we have more fascia than anything else in the body

  5. Acupuncture treatments can be considered patterns of fascial stimulation.

  6. Part of craniosacral therapy is fascial release.

  7. Fascia has 6 to 10 times more sensory nerves than muscles

  8. Fascia covers the nerve endings and has a special connection with the nervous system

  9. Fascia can be a source of pain

  10.    It consists of a gel-like substance together with protein fibers such as collagen and elastin.

  11.    The superficial fascia is composed of many elastic fibers. Deep fascia is similarly composed of collagen and elastin, but the composition differs.

  12.    It looks like a web, it gives us shape and texture, Fascia is incredibly adaptable, it can change its material properties, be like a gel form if the tissue needs to solidify, or it can liquefy if the tissue needs to be slippery.

  13.    The fascia is extremely strong, flexible and breathable

  14.    Fascia is a semiconductor, it generates an electric charge thanks to collagen fibers.

  15.    The Fascia Release Cam makes the back of the fascia elastic, fluid, supple and flexible

  16.    Healthy fascia does not tend to hurt when pressed

  17.    Fascia could play a big role in regulating our feelings and emotions because it is directly connected to the brain through a huge number of nerve connections.

  18. There is so much information we don’t yet know about fascia, even scientists are interested in knowing how fascia works due to its biomechanical functions, which can go from rigid to fluid like.


Fascia, the connective tissue under the skin, is often identified with acupuncture theory.


In acupuncture, the connective tissue is the link between the needle and the sensory nerve endings—a signal that is transmitted to the brain and, according to Chinese medicine theory, to other meridians and Zang Fu organs. Insertion of needles through the skin has unique properties in the anatomy and function of the fascia and a mechanical stimulus that stimulates a chemical reaction through the tissue.


Acupuncture can then be understood as the stimulation of an extraordinary sensory organ, the fascia. What is emerging through fascial research is that the channels consistently follow a unique aspect of fascial macrostructure and acupuncture, affecting the fascia in the same way they affect the channels and organs.

Due to the nature of connective tissue, any stimulation, be it acupuncture, massage or fascial manipulation, will have some effect. Many different approaches to stimulating the fascia effectively provide release and facilitate the return of motion and function


Recent findings describing the functions of fascia may best explain how acupuncture can treat so many different conditions. If we examine the various functions of fascia, we will find an explanation for the various and varied conditions that can be treated with acupuncture.

Fascia plays a role in immunity, metabolism, nutrition, hemodynamic processes, sensory function, muscle function, structural integrity, environmental stress, and protection. Examining the role of fascia in disease and dysfunction shows how different types of fascial damage can lead to a wide range of health conditions.

Fascia damage or tension can be seen as an imbalance where the narrowing of one area can lead to excess fluid, blood, nerve activity, muscle stress, organ hyperactivity, etc. This would likely cause a deficiency in another area or system. Therefore, we could say that the treatment of fascia is the treatment of imbalance and the correction of damage to the fascia treats a wide range of diseases and dysfunctions.

In Chinese medicine, we use meridians for diagnosis and treatment. Signs and symptoms of disease commonly occur in channel pathways that correspond to different organs, the condition of the organs is reflected in the channels. Channels and bodies also interact.

Acupuncture points are places where the needle has access to more connective tissue. Many doctors such as physiotherapists or osteopaths use needles with trigger points. When the fascia is tight and doesn’t move smoothly, it changes the way the fascia moves all around it and can trigger pain receptors.

In craniosacral therapy, we focus on expressing the craniosacral rhythm, where we can identify patterns of imbalance that affect the fascia throughout the body.



Fascia is characterized by its ability to change in response to sustained pressure – this is one way craniosacral therapy works with fascia or a myofascial therapist works with fascia. Areas of fascia that are stiffer and tighter create pain through targeted and non-harmful gentle pressure in craniosacral therapy, the fascia can soften and become more mobile. Other techniques, such as myofascial techniques, on the other hand, use a large amount of pressure.


When working with fascia in craniosacral therapy, patients can experience a number of sensations such as relaxation of nerve reflexes, lengthening of tissue fibers, increased energy flow through tissues, heat radiation, etc.

Tight fascia in our torso limits our ability to take deep breaths and further affects our ability to adapt to the stresses of life. This could, for example, be the explanation for panic attacks and chest contractions.

All my patients with panic attacks have suggested craniosacral bone treatment and there has been 100% success.


You may have noticed emotions or memories coming up during treatment. This is another aspect of our fascia that we don’t fully understand. We don’t know how, but fascia seems to hold our emotions and memories as easily as our physical tension, which can lead to emotional release, which happens not only with craniosacral treatments, but also with acupuncture, yoga, massage or osteopathy.

I wish our science to soon find new and interesting information about fascia that will bring us closer to understanding the human body and the entities that try to understand and treat it.






FASCIA: THE MEDIATING SYSTEM OF ACUPUNCTURE CLINICAL AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS Workshop Presented at the Second International Research Congress Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam October 31, 2009 By Steven Finando Ph.D., L.Ac. and Donna Finando, M.S., L.Ac., L.M.T.




CranioSacral Therapy I Study Guide


John E. Upledger, DO, OMM Illustrations by Frank Lowen, LMT, NCTMB