The Cadaver Connection

By Shane YoungJune 11, 2013

Eight hours a day with the dead. Wow, did I get way more than I bargained for. I recently did a week long intensive with Gil Hedley in cadaver dissection. I expected to deepen my understanding of anatomy and the working body. Instead, not only did I get an intense anatomy lesson, but a much deeper spiritual dive into the interconnectedness of all things. On the physical level, that connectedness can be represented by the fascia.

The fascia is that band or sheet of fibro-elastic tissue which envelopes the body beneath the skin called superficial fascia. Deep fascia envelopes the muscles and the other organs, separates the muscles into layers, and surrounds nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics.

The layers and intricacies are amazing and truly give you the bigger picture of why the knee bone is connected to hip bone, the hip bone is connected to the, you get the idea. Fascia is continuous upon itself and is a single unit. We like to partition the body, name certain parts. This is the diaphragm, this is the transverse abdominis. No such thing really exists, it is all one continuous fibrous bag. Even the direction of the fibers do not change between these two “locations.”

It makes us feel better to identify and partition a particular location and think we know where our pain is coming from. (more blogging on this later….)

The web is much bigger than we think.

What fascinated me the most is the layer upon layer of intricate webs as “fuzz” and Gil calls it. 

Now I Really know where my elbow is going when I’m working deeply in your erectors! Lucky you!

Fascia plays a much bigger roll in our bodies than previously thought and should be looked at as a communication network. It is capable of sending nerve signals that communicate with the entire network. On a structural level, this is why when your ankle hurts, it might be coming from an imbalance in your hips. If your shoulder hurts, it might be coming from a tight SCM (sternocleidomastoid- neck muscles) and bad forward head posture depressing the sternoclavicular joint and translating out to compression at the shoulder.

And, it’s never one thing. All things work together. It’s my job as a CHEK Practitioner to root out the source of pain and start the unwinding process.

I just spent the weekend with Janet Alexander and Chris Maund, true experts in the field of human movement, putting cadaver dissection into practical use.

Focusing on the pelvis, studying very technical myofascial stretching techniques and ELDOA’s (segmental spinal stabilization techniques) from the teachings of Dr. Guy Voyer, an internationally recognized physiotherapist, osteopath D.O. and one time French national champion in Judo.

So, what is myofascial stretching and how can it help me?

Myofascial stretching it is a system to regain elasticity in a muscle by lengthening it in every possible direction simultaneously from origin to insertion.

Done properly, this is a workout in and of itself! Putting your whole body on tension, giving 100% effort for 30 seconds at a time for multiple reps.

This stretching system helps resolve postural problems and increase recovery from exercise by stretching not the muscle, but the tissues that envelope and shape that muscle, the fascia.

Many pain syndromes and countless injuries can be cured by releasing contractions and tightness in the fascia.

One way to think of fascia as a web of silly putty. When silly putty is cold, it simply breaks when you pull on it, but when warm, it’s stretches incredibly well. Think of your fascia this same way. Warm your fascia up with simple bodyweight exercises when your tissues are quite warm and pliable and then perform your fascial stretches.

According to Chris Maund, the most effective way of treating fascia, is by first treating the tight area with NMT massage, then doing the ELDOA or myofacial stretch, then back to NMT massage and again repeating the stretch. The tight and bound up tissue becomes soft and buttery and an immediate difference is felt.

For more info, visit us as Ascend Body, contact Janet Alexander in the San Diego area, or pick up the book, The Permanent Pain Cure, on Amazon based in part, on Guy Voyer’s work.

These techniques yield amazing results! Happy stretching.





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