Joe climbed my stairs as if he were climbing the last 100 feet of Mt. Everest. His steps and breath were deliberate and labored. He greeted me with the hello of a man much older than his body presented. Years of hard work and hard play had created a body that was old before its time. Hearing about my success in restoring youth in his friends’ bodies, Joe thought he would give me a try. After all, as he said he had nothing to lose.
Joe was so tight and bent, it was as if the connective tissue (CT) encasing Joe’s muscles, bones, and organs had shrunk, leaving a shorter, tighter body than his natural one. From having his body do things it wasn’t primarily designed to do, the subtle strain caused contraction and adhesions in his CT. His fascia (which surrounds all elements of the body), tendons and ligaments became tough gristle, and the cartilage in his joints was deteriorating.
Not only are we not taught about this important tissue, we aren’t taught how we can preserve or regain our health. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies; it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It’s believed that the body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. We can thank this process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains due to deteriorating cartilage. Deficient animal protein, sugar consumption, and smoking also hinder production of strong CT.
Connective tissue, fascia and collagen were once considered unnecessary tissue. Bones and muscles are where things happen. Well, science and medicine are catching up to reality. The tissue that turns into scar tissue and gristle is what holds everything together. Stress, injuries and poor nutrition will cause the most abundant protein of the body to lose its elasticity and hydration.
Simple. Remove what is creating the strain, release the old adhesions, and give the body what it needs to produce healthy collagen. Then when the stress is removed and the body has what it needs to rebuild—good nutrition and sleep–it’s possible to reverse the effects of what we are told is aging.
Being a rancher and an avid outdoorsman caused Joe’s soft tissue to become tight hard tissue. He didn’t have any major accidents, he just pushed his body. One day he woke up and realized it wasn’t working like it used to. He wasn’t old, but he felt and moved like an old man.
When the body repeatedly does even simple movements that it’s not designed to do, it’s a strain. Strain builds up into tightness. As long as the strain is in the soft tissue, it can be released. Particular forms of bodywork will release the chronic strain of decades. Teaching the body to move in a more balanced way will prevent the strain from returning. Teaching the body’s physiology how to handle stress can be huge. Joe realized when he learned to breathe a relaxed breath, he no longer had shoulder and neck problems.
I had plastic surgeons as clients in Arizona who would not operate on smokers. I have to turn smokers away because their CT is depleted of the necessary nutrients from smoking. Much like old vegetarians, there wasn’t the needed nutrients in the CT to sustain the change we were creating.
Collagen supplements and bone broth are popular superfoods for the body’s CT. People report hair and nails transforming to wrinkles reducing from taking these foods. Other report less post-exercise discomfort and more energy. What can you do to strengthen your connective tissue?
Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author, www.align.org, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.
Photo: skeeze / Pixabay