WILLETT WORDS OF WISDOM
FASCIA RESEARCH CONGRESS ~ BERLIN 2018
As many of you know, I recently attended the international fascia conference held in Berlin at the Urania Center. In a way, I cannot even begin to capture in words the experiences I had. As Kyria Sabin, Director of International Fletcher Pilates said in a note to me this week, I am thrilled for you and us that you continue…to learn and be involved at such a high level. You are truly following your passion. And indeed, I am…following my passion. Whenever I receive a new educational book in the mail, sign up for another conference, and I share what I am learning with my son Patrick, he asks if I will ever get enough. And the answer is no. We can never stop learning about the body – on some level, we will never truly understand it. And in the midst of our medical system that is broken, it is most important that we stay abreast of all research.
The conference in Berlin was held in a place where Einstein taught; and, every moment I was there, I felt I was in the presence of brilliance. I believe I was experiencing cutting edge medical information. The Fascia Research Congress (FRC) was first held at Harvard Medical School in 2007. The intention was to bring together the world’s top fascial scientists to present their research to those of us in the field – those of us working with the client – whether it be a doctor, a massage therapist or a movement specialist. FRC has been held in international cities every 2-3 years since then and the research and knowledge has expanded significantly. I learned and I also received great affirmation that I am aligned with the work I do.
There were approximately 1000 of us from all over the world. I spoke with individuals from Turkey, South Africa, India, Australia, and many other countries. The 1000 included Medical Doctors, Doctors of Osteopathy, Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, Doctors of Medicine in Dentistry and Dental Surgery, PhDs, manual therapists, movement therapists, as well as scientists and researchers. Notably, there was not a hierarchy – no one smarter or better than the other. We comprised a group of individuals each dedicated to our work however that manifests for each of us – each of us sharing what we have learned in practice and research - each of us dedicated to the highest knowledge and the best practices.
You can get a quick synopsis of fascia and the event HERE
Following is a brief summary of just some of the highlights:
· I attended two pre-conferences – one on the interoceptive aspects of fascia (related to mental health as well as an internal sense of knowing – knowing when to eat, when we are too cold, etc.). And a second conference on fascial pelvic floor training.
· Dr. Carla Stecco (see photo below), an orthopedic surgeon and medical professor from Padua, Italy (same place Galileo was from fyi) who put together the first ever photographic atlas of the human fascial system, spoke on her discovering a new cell in the fascia that plays a role in the gliding surfaces of the fascia. Many have said she should receive the Nobel prize in medicine.
· Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau (see photo below), a French plastic surgeon specializing in hand surgery and who filmed live human fascia, presented his latest films on fascia, cells, and fibers in the human body. He calls for a new way of looking at the body and medicine – not from a linear model though from a view that the body is organized chaos.
· Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a summa cum laude graduate from Harvard and professor at Harvard University spoke on the evolution of human walking, running and the evolution of the IT band and human plantar fascia. He joked about how so many people go to the gym and exercise every single muscle but their feet. Of course, with as much as I love the feet, I loved this talk. Foot work, foot work, foot work – you’ll be hearing more about that.
· Dr. Melody Swartz, a molecular engineering professor at University of Chicago who focuses on lymphatic system and its roll in immunity and pathology especially cancer discussed her latest research. That lymphatic system is integrally woven with the fascia system.
· Dr. Neil Theise, a liver pathologist, stem cell researcher and professor at NYU School of Medicine; and, who is senior author of article “Structure and Distribution of an Unrecognized Interstitium in Human Tissues” that recently published in the journal Scientific Reports spoke with great humility. As I shared with many of you, right after his publication I was on the call with him and Dr. Stecco and others who pointed out that what he discovered was not completely "new" though a different nomenclature of something seen through a different lens. Thiese said that he realizes that not only had he not seen the forest through the trees, he had missed the beautiful meadow that we in the FRC were playing in for years. He said that unless you are a surgeon, most doctors in the states don’t even know what fascia is. I spoke to him one on one and he was truly humbled and said he is excited to bring back all he has learned to NYC.
· I also attended several breakout sessions on latest research – from research on how surgery does not help carpel tunnel syndrome though manual therapy does - to studies about muscle composition and power in older populations - to how fascia transmits tooth pain - to changes of bicep fascia with exercise - to research on the abdominal fascia, the linear alba and diastasis recti……plus much more.
· Even though this was a fascia conference, we talked about the whole body – from muscles to interstitual fluid to lymphatic system to cells. As Robert Schleip said fascia was the lost sister. We now know what an important part she plays in understanding the body.
I continue to be dedicated to my work as a teacher of movement and I look forward to incorporating what I have learned, to sharing what I know, and to learning more and more. As Ron Fletcher said, Much Wants More !
Dr. Carla Stecco and me. She is also brilliant…kind and humble.
Me jumping in a huge fascial web created by everyone there – as if I am floating through the interstitual fluid of healthy fascia. 😊
Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau and me. He is a character.
Brilliant philosopher as well as doctor.
©AnneLloydWillett November 2018