Chris Toal – Keeping Out of Hot Water


Our major focus at Wellness at Work is to speed the treatment and shorten the recovery process to reduce time off and overall rehab expenses. It’s even better if we can help you avoid injuries before they happen.

We work on a “no change to your condition no charge for our work basis” and that means we have to continuously find, use, and develop techniques that are effective. One of the most useful techniques we use is a modality called Fascial Kinetics.

Its similar to Bowen Technique and in Aus you can get this treatment on private health insurance the Victorian and South Australian governments pay for it as do many US states. Unfortunately for Kiwis it’s not a recognized treatment here…………yet. Fascial Kinetics is a treatment that focuses on working with fascia or to use the full name, Myofascia.

Today Myofascial pain is recognised as one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain encountered in medical practice. By understanding more about fascia and how it works, you’ll understand why certain injuries happen, and keep happening, so it will be easier for you to avoid the same old mistakes, get the best out of your body, and stop injuring yourself.

Fascia is important stuff. If you’ve ever wondered what stops a weightlifters muscles from bursting when they lift those hundreds of kilo’s or why your muscles form the shapes they do? It’s fascia. Fascia is a gel so it can be liquid like jelly on the stove or hard like jelly forgotten for three weeks in the back of the fridge that you can’t get a knife into it.

It’s very useful stuff so your body uses it for lots of jobs. It’s the tough outer skin of the muscle, (the muscle sheath) it’s also the glue that glues muscle tendon and ligament to bone, plus it’s the slimy stuff that lets muscles slide past each other when you’re using them.

By using Collagen reinforcing strands that have a tensile strength 10 times higher than steel fascia forms a fabric web throughout your body that is twice as strong as steel. It’s used to surround and protect all your organs because it can withstand up to 2000psi, (car tyres hold around 30psi of air) also it’s easily strong enough to crush bone (bones are less than half the strength of steel). If you’ve ever had “shin splints” that’s because you started running without loosening up the fascia first and it ripped chunks of bone out of your legs where the muscles attach with fascial hook like attachments called sharpies fibers. That’s why shin splints take so long to heal it’s bone damage not just muscle damage. As a skydiver I had a chute not work once I got it sorted but if I’d ‘bounced’ and survived it would have been because of my Fascia not my skeleton or muscles, plus maybe a fairly big bit of luck.

Because it does so many jobs by learning to work with fascia instead of against it you can rehab faster, raise your efficiency dramatically, work longer for less effort or have more energy for fun things plus be less tired and avoid new injuries.

Stop Showering Yourself to a Standstill.

As we said earlier fascia is a gel and gels have two interesting properties. The first is called, “thixotropy” which means that gels become more liquid when agitated or shaken, and then set when allowed to stand.

Just the same as ordinary jelly if you make it, let it set, and then shake it, it will go liquid again. With Fascia the same thing happens. When you “warm up” before you exercise, you shake the gel and through an “isothermal” (same temperature) process, the heat is dispersed and liquefies the fascia so all your muscles slide and move easily. It’s why it can be hard to stand back up after lunch, you “set while you sat”. 

Property two, when you heat a gel it goes liquid, so you can heat up your gel artificially by using something like a heat pack or a hot shower or spa, many treatment plans that have no knowledge of fascia and how it works recommend this, we believe that’s a mistake!

A BIG Mistake!

When you heat a gel in this way it must eventually cool down the more you heat or agitate gels, the harder they set. Often after a really hard day’s work you can be super stiff at the start of the next day, a lot of that is for the same reason.

Making Friends With Myofascia.

When a smoker has a cigarette several things occur to make them feel temporarily good when the addictive drugs enter their system, however around half an hour later they start to get withdrawal symptoms, and the only thing sure way to get rid of this feeling is to have another cigarette.

The same thing applies to you if you use hot water on fascia to get relief from pain or tension. You will need hotter and hotter showers or heat packs for longer and longer to get any relief and hours later when it sets you blame it on what you’re doing at the time like um, work. Wrong, let me be really clear if you are having hot showers and feeling terrible a few hours later, YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF. If you hadn’t had that hot shower this morning or last night you wouldn’t feel so stiff and sore now.

Think about the jelly we mentioned earlier and keep heating and setting it for a few weeks, months, years.  How hot does it have to get before it will go liquid, if you’re already doing the hot shower thing you already know, really bloody hot.  Small problem, every time you sit still for about half an hour (fascia set’s in under 20 minutes at normal body temperature) it’s a mission to get that hard set fascia moving again, hmmm load strain 2000psi and a breaking strain higher than steel, are you feeling tired and sore yet?

There is a way out of this cycle. Stop having hot showers. Simple eh? If you turn up injured at our clinic we insist you agree to follow this advice or we don’t even start treatment. Now lets go through the why not list. Got to have it hot to get clean after work, well no actually. Heat just opens the pores wider and lets the dirt further in and when the skin cools it’s trapped underneath, cold or warm is best for washing skin. Need it to warm up in the winter, get over it, you’re a creature and you’re body was never designed to be put in hot water, for showering, warm is ok, even pleasant warm, just not hot.

All I ask is for you to try this out for 3 weeks, thousands of case histories tell me you will find this is one of the best things you’ve ever done for your overall health.


PS. After 6 weeks ‘try’ to have a hot shower and notice what happens, it’s quite interesting how your body reacts, oh and you save heaps on power bills, that’s gotta be good for ya.

Read more from Chris Toal.