Eastern Thoughts on Fascia: A Dynamic Living Tissue

Fascia, a connective tissue that encases and connects all the muscles, bones, organs, and nerves in our body, has long been a topic of interest in both eastern and western medicine. While western medicine has traditionally viewed fascia as a passive structure, recent research has revealed that it is a highly dynamic tissue with an active role in our body’s function and movement.

The Fascia: A Key Component in Eastern Medicine and Western Science

In eastern schools of thought, the fascia has been viewed as a critical component in the flow of energy throughout the body. Daniel Keown, in his book “The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine,” notes that the fascia is believed to control and organize everything in our body while also serving as a conduit for Qi, the vital energy that flows through our body. Keown argues that there are remarkable similarities between the acupuncture channels in eastern medicine and the fascial planes in western medicine, and that the two are closely linked.

What is Qi

In traditional Chinese medicine, Qi (pronounced “chee”) is a vital energy or life force that flows throughout the body’s meridian channels, nourishing and animating all living things. It is believed that a balanced and free-flowing Qi is essential for good health, while blockages or imbalances can lead to various physical and emotional symptoms or illnesses. Qi is also a central concept in various Eastern practices, such as martial arts, meditation, and acupuncture, where it is manipulated or stimulated to restore balance and promote healing.

Fascial Planes and Acupuncture Meridians: Similar Pathways and Properties

"Meridians are essentially fascial planes that have been highly sensitized and are responsive to acupuncture needles"

“Western anatomy trains and eastern meridians have a remarkable similarity.” Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that the fascial planes and meridians share similar pathways and have similar properties. For example, a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that the fascial planes correspond to acupuncture meridians, and that stimulating these planes can improve range of motion and reduce pain.

The Fascia: A Dynamic Living Tissue Linked to Energy Flow and Body Function

Another study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that acupuncture can influence the extracellular matrix, which is the substance that makes up fascia, and that this can lead to improvements in tissue structure and function.

These findings support the idea that the fascia plays a crucial role in our body’s function and movement, and that it is closely linked to our body’s energy flow. “The fascia is not just an inert packing material,” says Keown. “It’s a dynamic living tissue that plays a key role in our health and well-being.”

Integrating Eastern and Western Approaches to Fascia and Energy Flow in Healthcare Practice

As healthcare professionals, it is important to recognize the potential benefits of integrating eastern and western approaches to fascia and energy flow in our treatment plans. By considering both the physical and energetic aspects of the fascia, we can provide more comprehensive and effective care for our patients.


In conclusion, the increasing evidence from western science supports the connections between eastern philosophies and the fascial planes in western medicine. The fascia plays a critical role in our body’s function and movement, and is closely linked to our body’s energy flow. By integrating both eastern and western approaches, healthcare professionals can provide more comprehensive and effective care for their patients.