You need to be willing to lose the simple. You need to tangle with some underbrush for any chance of getting somewhere different. Your private “A-Ha!” must yield to the collective “Huh?” as your initial questions get bludgeoned into relevance. Examples:
• I studied anatomy because I wanted to know exactly what was beneath my hands. But that exactitude has partially eluded me, because what you call it depends on how you slice it. Mentally or dissectively, you cannot behold any structure in anatomy without ignoring something else. So what is it exactly? It is, irreducibly, some combination of what’s there and what it is you’re looking for.
• I began to research Neurofascia because I thought I’d had a novel insight. (“Nerves and fascia! Their function is inseparable! You can treat them in tandem!”) But in the process I found others who had somehow stolen my unique ideas, and then traveled back in time 20 years and published on them extensively. Lesson: Don’t do research, kids. Knowledge comes at the cost of epiphany.
• I became a teacher because I had a knack for explaining things simply, without losing fidelity to their deeper truth. My only weakness was that I didn’t know much. OK, no problem: just learn stuff, and then teach it. This strategy works until you get to the real ambiguities, the scientific debates, the conflicting paradigms. Then it becomes difficult to tell a single story that is also true.
The good news is that new simplicities emerge. Moments of clarity punctuate the blooming morass. Sometimes, without warning, you find it possible to weave your story tightly enough that it survives the act of telling.
This week someone asked for a summary of my teaching on Neurofascia, and my response was briefer and more complete than any in my memory. So here it is, in just five short paragraphs… the simplest true story I can currently tell:
“Nerves and fascial divisions have a close relationship throughout the body, as evidenced by the toughness of nerve dissection. Nerves are often embedded in thick layers of fascia, or perforating into fascial compartments.
Their closeness is also functional: We are discovering that fascia — once thought a passive “organ of form” — is actually a network of mechanoreceptive, semi-contractile bubbles.
Meanwhile, the living nervous system turns out to be a highly branched water balloon, held aloft by internal fluid pressure and outward tension. Nerves are healthiest when mechanical tension and fluid pressure are evenly distributed.
When nerves experience abnormal tension or compression, they generate pain, muscle guarding, and inflammation. In the long term these can lead to fascial contracture and sometimes neuropathy. I have found that fascial work directed skillfully at the nerve-fascia interface can be transformative of pain and movement restriction.”
True? Yes, I think so. Simple?