One of the tools I have learned in my doula practice at the Center for Doula Pathways, with Marcello Windolph and Camalo Gaskin, is a kind of touch that works on the fascia. It has an incredible power on the body and mind. It can also be very beneficial in pregnancy and labour.
What is fascia?
- Fascia is a global sensory organ, a unified whole, the environment in which all of our body systems function, our body’s matrix
- It is a dynamic communication system, interlinked with the neuronal and hormonal systems of communication
- Fascia creates tonus, envelops, separates and connects structures of the body into one globality; it is the connective and constitutive tissue
- It penetrates into each single fiber of muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin of bones, and responds to physical and emotional state (tension, fear, emotions)
- It is through the fascia that we have a perception of ourselves, making the body one and whole; we exist in fascia, not only in our brain
- Through the fascia, the internal movement of self- regulation and healing travels into all body structures
- The slowness of vitality moves through fascia and is amplified by touch
Marta, yes, I remember the experience of you caring so delicately for someone in labor over a longer period of time and listening in for when this kind of therapeutic touch was being called for. I’ve been in awe witnessing you develop these senses and knowing just the right time to touch.
Why fascia in pregnancy?
- Fascia constitutes the basis of Spinning Babies® approach: birth is easier if there is balance in the mother’s body, rather than tension or torsion
- Elasticity “wakes up” soft tissues, including womb, releasing tensions, bringing balance and deep relaxation
- Labour can be encouraged to start by the hormonal reaction to deep relaxation brought by fascia release: feeling and trusting the body with optimism and confidence
- Fascia release also promotes the rebalancing of cross-restricting diaphragms in the mother’s body, allowing the baby to engage and bring more pressure into pelvis, which also supports the start of labour
- The position of the baby in the womb is determined by the soft tissues of the mother’s body, and influences the length of labour and birth
- Fascia in the mother’s body and the experience of birth have an impact on the alignment of the baby’s body after birth, which is central in issues ranging from breastfeeding (baby’s chin) to sleep (baby’s intestines and gas)