On this episode of Mind Body Peak Performance, Nick Urban, sits down with Julia Blackwell, Founder of Movement by Julia. Tune in as they explore the fascinating world of fascia and its impact on our health and performance.
Discover the key factors affecting fascial health, the role of hydration and movement, and how fascia is key to your physical and emotional health. Get ready for a deep dive into the mind-body connection and unleash your full potential.
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About Julia Blackwell
Born with severe nerve damage, Julia Blackwell struggled with ineffective traditional treatments until discovering fascia-release bodywork in 2010, which drastically improved her condition in three months. She devoted 12 years to studying and practicing various modalities, eventually developing her own method, The Fascia Remedy. This approach has not only helped her overcome personal pain but has also assisted many in achieving pain relief, restored movement, and optimal performance. Known as “The Pain Relief Wizard,” Julia has built a large community, sharing her expertise in fascia release, postural alignment, and mindset. Based in Denver, she enjoys outdoor adventures, spending time with her dogs, and recently completed climbing all of Colorado’s tallest peaks.
Top Things You’ll Learn From Julia Blackwell
- Fascia and its many roles in human health
- Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, organs, and bones, and it is stronger than steel cable
- Fascia is the extracellular matrix that provides structural support outside of cells
- Fascia forms a continuous interconnected network throughout the body and communicates signals between different parts
- Fascia is the organ of posture and emotion, and it plays a critical role in the mind-body connection
- Fascia has more proprioceptors and nerve endings than muscles or bones
- How to improve the health of your fascia and connective tissue
- Exposure to natural sunlight, hydration with water and produce, movement, compression, active movement, and crossfibering
- Crossfibering activates fasciocytes and promotes the production of hyaluronic acid for joint and muscle health
- Passive and static treatments are less effective than active participation
- Fascia, hydration, and water
- EZ Water is an important concept based on the work of Dr. Gerald Pollack
- Exposure to infrared light can increase the percentage of EZ Water in the body
- Fascia organizes the water in the body and “prevents it from leaking out”
- Structured water found in produce is more better than filtered bottled water
- Impact of diet and movement on fascial health
- Poor diet and lack of movement worsen fascia
- Working with a fascia specialist can lead to pain relief, changes in mobility, and improvements in posture
- Optimizing fascial health can make movements more efficient and productive
- Emotional and mental health benefits of fascial work
- Fascial work can benefit emotional and mental health
- Ayurveda suggests that trauma can be stored in different areas of the body, and for Julia (and Nick), it was the hips
- Emotional releases sometimes occur when working on specific areas of the body, near scars or trauma
- Misconceptions and myths about fascial health
- Not fully understanding the concepts of EZ Water and fascia,
- Not considering the impact of diet and movement on fascial health
- The exact implications of fascial communication are still being researched
- Importance of fascial release and hydration
- Fascia holds not only physical restrictions but also emotional experiences and trauma
- Fascia can become dehydrated over time, leading to restricted mobility and pain
- Simply drinking more water may not be enough for proper hydration; moving the body and working on the fascia are also important
- The power of fascial work and personal experience
- Fascia takes longer to stretch and grow with muscles, explaining the increased risk of injury when starting a new workout routine
- Practical fascia tips and recommendations
- Foam rolling can help release fascia, but should be done with control and without excessive intensity
- Breathing deep, moving slowly, and avoiding jerky movements during foam rolling is important
- 2 to 3 sessions a week is the minimum effective dose recommended for maintenance
- Less is more when it comes to fascial work, avoid long sessions
Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
Hello, and welcome to MINDBODY Peak Performance with your host, Nick Urban. Today, we’re discussing a special type of connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, organs, and bones. It’s incredibly strong and resilient, and it has the tensile strength of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch, making it even stronger than steel cable of the same thickness. This topic is called fascia. Now you might have heard of foam rolling and stretching as ways to loosen your tissue and to support optimal health and well-being, And that’s just scratching the surface. Our guest this week has a simple 3 step routine that all but guarantees you much better results and lasting changes. Fascia has also been described as the organ of posture and the organ of emotion. And it plays a critical role in our ability to express and hold emotions.
Nick Urban [00:01:11]:
Fascia is also a great example of the body’s ability for self healing and regeneration. As you’ll soon learn, fascia forms a continuous interconnected network throughout the body. It envelops and connects every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ, creating a unified system. It also has its very own communication network, and it transmits signals and information between different parts of the body. If you’ve heard of the mind body connection, which we are huge fans of on this show, Fascia helps link physical sensation, emotions, and thought. Sharing this with us this week is Julia Blackwell. You’ll hear more about her story in the episode itself, but Julia was born with severe nerve damage to her right shoulder. And for 23 years, the Western medical system told her that her condition was not treatable, and she was just stuck with this for life.
Nick Urban [00:02:14]:
Then she came across fascia release bodywork in 2010. And after just 3 months of fascia specific work, She started to see improvement in the way she felt and the function of her arm more so than she had in 16 years of traditional treatments. Now whether you have a condition or you’re healthy and just looking for that extra edge, this episode will help you and give you the tools to Prove your fascia and keep it that way. If you want to check out the show notes for everything we discuss, you can find those at mindbodypeak.com slash the number 132. She’s also arranged a special discount for mindbody peak performance listeners. So if you use the code urban, that should save you 20% on any of her courses or offerings. You can also find Julia on the socials at Movement by Julia. And if you’re watching this sometime before 2024, you can find an article I wrote that’s a roundup of all the best deals of biohacking gear, technologies, supplements, machines, systems, information products, you name it.
Nick Urban [00:03:25]:
That will all be at mindbodypeak.com/deals. Right now, there’s about 70 plus things in the list, so there is So you can find a gift for yourself or for others because this is the time of the year when they tend to be the most heavily discounted. And if you find this episode interesting, go ahead to Spotify or Apple Podcasts, whatever you use, scroll to the bottom, and leave a rating and review. That’s what helps this show get found and how I continue bringing you thought provoking guests like Julia. Alright. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this conversation with Julia Blackwell. Julia, welcome to Mindbody Peak Performance.
Julia Blackwell [00:04:06]:
Hey, Nick. Thanks so much for having me on.
Nick Urban [00:04:08]:
This is gonna be an interesting one because you specialize in many things, and among those is a topic that I haven’t covered much on the show, And that is the role of something called fascia and how it relates to human health and performance and longevity. So can you start off by saying something that’ll help us understand the importance of this miraculous, mysterious substance?
Julia Blackwell [00:04:34]:
Oh, man. Well, I think it’s helpful to start with understanding what fascia is in general. So one of my favorite analogies is that fascia is like plastic wrap that goes around every single thing in your body. So it wraps around every muscle fibril, and multiple fibrils make up just 1 fiber, and fascia wraps around that. It wraps around your muscles and then your muscle groups, your bones, your blood vessels, your nerves, your organs, literally every single thing in your body. It’s like Plastic bags within plastic bags until we have this three-dimensional plastic wrap soup suit that we wear on the inside. So if everything were to magically disappear out of your body, except for your fascial system, You would still largely look like you. That’s how imperative it is for our shape, our structure, and our texture.
Julia Blackwell [00:05:31]:
On the flip side, if only fascia were to magically disappear out of our body, we go tumbling to the ground in a pile of bones and goo. So Understanding, you know, fascia has many roles besides just supporting our structure, but this Tissue, just understanding a little bit more about what it is right there, can give us insight on all these things that we think are structural problems, Joint problems or even muscle problems are largely fascia problems.
Nick Urban [00:06:01]:
Yeah. And that’s an interesting one. I mean, there’s a Adage, a well known adage in biology that structure dictates function and also the the converse that is true that function dictates structure. So you can see why this would be important because it’s so pivotal to our structure and thus function. And I’m curious if you were to remove all of the water Out of the human body, how much of what’s left would be fascia?
Julia Blackwell [00:06:26]:
Well, it’s kind of a thicker substance. Like, if, You know, if you’ve ever dissected a cadaver, I don’t expect the average person has done that, but fascia looks very thick and almost Yellowish, stringy and wispy, like little cottons spider webs everywhere. So you would still see it, but living fascia is mostly water. And so it’s this really cool liquid Scaffolding that we have when it’s actually hydrated, but it’s also made up of elastin and collagen fibers. The collagen helps The strength of that scaffolding, right, is what helps keep ligaments attached to bones and such.
Nick Urban [00:07:06]:
Tell me, like, an interesting fact or stat about Sasha, why this is such an important thing for us to focus
Julia Blackwell [00:07:13]:
on? Well, again, in my experience with all of the time I’ve been working with fascia, both with myself and in my practice for the last 12 years with hundreds and hundreds of clients, this tissue, again, tends to be the biggest Problem with, recovery, like slow recovery times with not being able to perform at the same level that someone used to with Chronic pain or just everyday aches and pains, all of these things, fatigue, you know, like the list goes on and on of what we think is Something else that we think is just 1 problem, and it’s actually a more holistic problem within our fascial system.
Nick Urban [00:07:51]:
Do you know, is that Correlation or causation? Like, does this happen? Does the fascia get disturbed and then it causes those symptoms, or do those symptoms Cause the fascia to become less healthy?
Julia Blackwell [00:08:05]:
So it depends. If you’ve had some type of a traumatic accident, so let’s say a car accident or, You know, a really intense injury, then fascia’s gonna react to that injury. But most times, fascia tends to Get stuck, more dehydrated, kind of if we’re sticking with the plastic wrap analogy, kind of like come into these little crinkled up balls of plastic wrap everywhere. That happens slowly over time. And so another thing, one of the things I hear probably the most in my practice is like, oh, well, I’m just getting old. And I’m like, well, are you getting older? Are you just drying out? Because your fascia has been slowly becoming a little bit more dehydrated over time, And that’s actually what’s causing a lot of this restricted mobility. It’s what’s causing this pain, etcetera.
Nick Urban [00:08:51]:
And I think that the link between hydration, Like, overall, full body systemic hydration and fascia is an important link between the 2.
Julia Blackwell [00:09:00]:
Absolutely. Most people think that, oh, You know, I’m really poor with my hydration. I simply need to drink more water. And the reality is, well, if all you’re doing is Sitting in front of a desk and you’re drinking an extra Nalgene or 2 a day, you’re really just giving yourself a recipe on going to the bathroom every 30 minutes. That water has nowhere to To go. And so such an important part of really being fully hydrated is 1, moving your body And 2, working on our fascia. Because, again, if we’ve got that crinkled up ball of plastic wrap and you were just to pour a bottle of water over it, it’s gonna be really difficult to get water inside all of that crinkled up plastic wrap. Right? So by releasing those areas, restoring space, improving the texture of fascia.
Julia Blackwell [00:09:47]:
We’re now not only restoring the natural structured water of the fascia that we have, But we’re able to actually get water into those places that we really need it.
Nick Urban [00:09:57]:
Julia, why isn’t fascia very well known? Because I know from reading about it previously, When they dissected cadavers, like you were saying, they just discarded the fashion. Like, oh, this is, like, the useless part that has no function. And we know in science, Very few things in the human body have no function. I mean, junk DNA turns out to be incredibly important, and it was once thought of as exactly that, as junk. And it sounds like fascia experienced a similar fate. Can you explain why it’s not well known and, What the emerging body of knowledge around it is now becoming?
Julia Blackwell [00:10:30]:
Well, yeah, largely, it’s exactly what you just said, which is For the longest time, they were like, hey, what’s all this crap around the muscle or the nerve that I wanna look at? Let’s literally throw it in the trash. And when you know, As we were talking about before, what fascia looks like on a nonliving person versus inside a living body is so different. And so It’s easy to be like, this must just be some kind of general wrapping. We’re just gonna get it out of here. So fascia has only really started to be studied in the last 50 years or so, at least seriously. And one of the things that makes it so magical in my in my mind is that The more we learn about it, it’s like the more mysterious it gets where we keep finding all of these, you know, discoveries about how well it’s Communicating within itself. You know, it can communicate separate from the nervous system, or, you know, we’re finding all these ways. It’s like a Quantum communication system.
Julia Blackwell [00:11:26]:
And the more we know, the more mysterious it gets. So I think largely it’s just that we’re still studying it. You know, there’s, there’s like a fascia research conference that happens every year now, but that’s only something that’s happened in the last 10 or so years, and it just hasn’t quite hit the mainstream. And I’m I love talking about it because it’s made such a huge impact on on my life and So many of the people I’ve worked with over the years that I’m like, ah, people gotta know about this thing.
Nick Urban [00:11:56]:
Okay. We usually start out with a warm up question, but we dove in Just straight into it today. So let’s rewind, so far today, what unusual or nonnegotiable things have you done for your health, your performance, and your bioharmony. And I hope that one of them includes something to do with fascia.
Julia Blackwell [00:12:13]:
Today, you mean? What have I even been doing today? Well, I do start my days by going outside. So I, you know, aim to Get that early morning sunlight directly into my eyes. I try to wear just a thin t shirt and leggings so that I can get a little bit of cold this time of year, which is a great way to just energize mitochondria. I’m doing some grounding depending on just how cold, you know, it is. And, you know, we’re getting a lot of those electrons from the earth, which is how we continue to charge that, you know, structured water or easy water within our fascia. You know, I I don’t necessarily release fascia every day. Today, I didn’t do any, but absolutely a few times a week. I love, You know, laying on a soft squishy ball and doing some deep breathing.
Julia Blackwell [00:13:05]:
I do a lot of fascia release for whatever might be feeling stiff or depending on the workouts, but it’s absolutely a Part of my routine at least a few times a week.
Nick Urban [00:13:15]:
Yeah. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And would you say that one of the benefits of doing mobility work, which is not done nearly as often as it should be. It’s like the afterthought after people get their aerobics in, their strength, their resistance training, and then, like, Perhaps they’ll do some mobility or stretching or yoga or something, but, like, would you say that that’s one of the big benefits of doing these types of practices, like mobility or yoga or those types of movements?
Julia Blackwell [00:13:41]:
Yeah. You know, the more consistently you work on something, the easier it’s gonna get and the less intense or strenuous it’s gonna be. So, you know, making it a part of your practice is really important. So I think we were talking about that fascia tends to tighten slowly over time. So, by consistently working on it, we’re we’re doing a lot of prevention, which isn’t something most people are super excited about, the idea of prevention, but, keeping fascia in a healthier state absolutely is gonna prevent you from having aches and pains, feeling dehydrated, and, you know, with dehydration comes Brain fog, fatigue, feeling sluggish. There’s a lot of, you know, actual feelings of just not feeling well In your body. So, yeah, having that consistency over time, prevents you from having to Start all over again in some ways and have it feel a little bit more intense or a little bit more strenuous.
Nick Urban [00:14:40]:
I’d imagine that having looser fascia, I’m not sure if that’s the correct Term loose, but having more supple maybe supple fascia. If you have more supple fascia, you’re gonna be more likely to prevent injury Or even if you do get injured, to recover from that faster and more effectively with less scar tissue. Is that right?
Julia Blackwell [00:14:58]:
Yes. So one of the roles of Your fascia is to act as a shock absorber and to protect you from impact. So I was reading something about, you know, How high you can jump, how far you can run, or how far you can throw, all of these things don’t just depend on your muscle’s ability to fire, but about The recoil of your fascial system. So we need to have that springiness, that suppleness in our fascia to be able to Continue to do all of the things that we love doing with ease.
Nick Urban [00:15:28]:
Yeah. And if we’re relying if we have a better fascial system, then we’re putting less Rain on our knees and other joints that would otherwise be taking up some of the pressure.
Julia Blackwell [00:15:38]:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. If you think about, you know, every time your foot strikes the ground, that impact should be absorbed and distributed through your entire entire fascial system. And so when we start to get these really tight areas and Honestly, it happens to most people because none of us, myself included, are really moving the way that we’re designed to move. And so We have tight hip flexors from sitting, or we have, you know, tight calf muscles from sitting as well. And so, Again, maybe another good example would be like a vacuum sealed bag. If you sucked all the air out of a vacuum sealed bag, and if that’s your fascia, that’s not exactly correct, Right.
Julia Blackwell [00:16:14]:
Because it’s multiple layers, but it’s gonna shrink down everything inside it, the muscles, the nerves, the blood vessels, all of those things. And so when we strike the ground with really tight calf muscles and hip flexor muscles, we’re now not distributing that shock or that impact very well. And so now we might get plantar fasciitis, or we might start having knee pain, these things that are just due from a lack of space and hydration In the fascial tissue.
Nick Urban [00:16:39]:
Okay. And so you’ve mentioned, you actually alluded to a couple different factors that might tighten the fascia, such as dehydration or Being excessively sedentary and not moving around, changing positions too often, what are the main factors to be aware of that can contribute to either Fascial health or lack thereof?
Julia Blackwell [00:16:57]:
Yeah. Movement is such a huge one. Again, most of us are just Not moving. Not moving. Even if you’re going to the gym every day, if the rest of your time is spent at a desk for work or and you’re Then sitting on your couch watching Netflix for 3 hours in the evening, you know, for the vast majority of your week, you’re actually pretty sedentary. So, That movement component, I would say, is is one of the biggest factors for health. So underuse, I would say, tightens tightens it quite substantially. Overuse will do it as well.
Julia Blackwell [00:17:30]:
So say, I’ve seen this a lot in in CrossFit athletes or UFC athletes, something that you’re just you’re doing a Repetitive motion over and over and over again, such as a squat or you’re swinging a baseball, those things can also start to change and tighten your fascia to support The sport that you’re doing, but it really starts to wreak havoc on your posture and muscle compensations and things like that. Also, stress is a big one. Stress very heavily impacts our fascia. And so if you’re someone with a lot of anxiety, if you’re suffering from PTSD or just You’re stressed day to day that can absolutely impact our fascia. Because again, one of the roles of fascia is to protect us from impact, And that might be physical. Right? So if we accidentally bang our elbow against the wall, that shock is gonna be absorbed by our fascia. Our fascia is gonna protect us from damage, which is Great news. Right? Otherwise, we’d be dislocating our elbows all the time, and there’d be all of these crazy injuries if our fascia weren’t supporting that.
Julia Blackwell [00:18:30]:
But the reality is your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s a physical threat and what’s a perceived threat. So when you’re really stressed and anxious On an internal level, your brain is detecting a threat. And so your fascia will start to tighten and contract and essentially Brace for an impact that may never come. And so fascia can absolutely be affected by things like trauma and stress As well. And, of course, we touched on it, injuries, you know, whether it’s an accidental injury or maybe something that Happened a long time ago. Those things tend to be stored in the body, and, unless we address them, they start to compile on each other and that can play a role as well.
Nick Urban [00:19:13]:
Wow. Okay. So I doc I interviewed doctor Suzanne Turner on the podcast a while back, and she mentioned that if you get an injury, you’re Infinitesimally more likely to injure the same area again than you are to sustain a new injury in a brand new area. And I wonder if part of the reason behind that is because of the disturbance to the fascia.
Julia Blackwell [00:19:32]:
Oh, that’s interesting. That absolutely could be true, Especially because as is our tendency is something hurts, we wanna go get that thing fixed, quote unquote, whatever that means. And or sometimes we even just wait it out until that thing doesn’t hurt anymore. Right? And then we’re like, okay, great. If this there’s no more pain, I must be good. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fascia has completely on unstuck from itself. It doesn’t mean that compensations aren’t happening that You’re possibly unaware of. And so that certainly makes sense that that could be contributing.
Nick Urban [00:20:09]:
Yeah. Okay. And then for the CrossFitters out there or people who are putting themselves under a certain repetitive motion or movement that their body Keeps experiencing the body is using fascia as a protective mechanism as you just mentioned. So would they want to work on loosening that fascia, or if If they do that, are they gonna be overriding the body and potentially putting themselves in a dangerous situation?
Julia Blackwell [00:20:35]:
No. No is the short answer. So, Yeah. I’m not sure I would say fascia. I I use the term fascia release because it it lands for people when I say release your fascia. Everyone’s like, oh, great. I know what you’re talking about. But It’s not like we’re loosening loosening it so far that suddenly you’re hyper hypermobile and maybe you’re even Having an increased chance of injury, that that’s not really how fascia works.
Julia Blackwell [00:21:01]:
We’re really just mostly restoring texture and hydration, And a little bit of space that should be there. It won’t go too far. So fast release is not only important for mobility and performance as you’re going through just your average cross CrossFit workout, but especially at the beginning, Because it takes a little bit longer for fascia to stretch and grow with muscles. And so a common thing I see with someone who starts Working out suddenly with heavy weights 5, 6 days a week, they get injured within those 1st 6 weeks of starting because their fascia actually hasn’t Had a chance to grow with their muscles and it’s overstrained and you see things like tendonitis, shoulder injuries, back injuries, things like that.
Nick Urban [00:21:48]:
Yeah. The the science of training is very interesting. Like, at very low rep ranges when you’re really pushing hard, like doing strength and power, You’re actually causing more neurological adaptations than you are physical. And if you’re not recovering neurologically adequate enough, then you’re gonna be, like, putting yourself Closer and closer to overtraining or burnout or injury.
Julia Blackwell [00:22:07]:
Nick Urban [00:22:09]:
Oh, when people use anabolic steroids, Their muscle tissue grows faster and strengthens faster than the connective tissue, and I’m imagining probably the fascia also, and that’s why They have to be extra careful of injury.
Julia Blackwell [00:22:23]:
Yeah. Fascia and connective tissue are mostly synonymous. Connective tissue is kind of the big umbrella, And fascia is is within that, but, technically, blood is considered a connective tissue. So that’s where it gets a little bit more complicated. But, Yes. That’s exactly it. It’s it’s your fascia. Your connective tissue is not, following what the muscle is doing because it’s happening very quickly.
Nick Urban [00:22:45]:
Okay. Julia, how did you get interested in fascia? Because that is a fairly niche topic. Even though it’s growing tremendously fast now, it hasn’t always been that way, and you’ve been doing this for a little while.
Julia Blackwell [00:22:56]:
Yeah. You know, it’s been it’s been a literal lifelong journey for me. So I was almost a 10 pound baby and in the process of being born, I got stuck. So in an effort to pull me out, the doctor ended up stretching and tearing all of the nerves in my right shoulder. So I grew up going through what I now call The standard Western medicine system runaround. So I went to occupational therapy for about 15 years. I was often going to doctor’s appointments or, you know, any appointment with other practitioners to see if Anything could be done to help this incessant tightness I was still feeling in my arm, the limited mobility, just this overall feeling of being very uncomfortable In my body? Sadly, it’s really like going it’s really like being a broken product on a conveyor belt. So I was going from Person to person to person continually rubber stamped us defective.
Julia Blackwell [00:23:58]:
You know, everyone I talked to was essentially like, hey, there’s there’s nothing more that can be done for this. If anything, it’s only gonna be getting worse with age. 1 doctor went so far as to say, I would never play sports. You know, just nice, lighthearted things that you wanna tell a child.
Nick Urban [00:24:16]:
Julia Blackwell [00:24:17]:
But despite Despite that, you know, I did embark on my own journey of looking for other solutions. I had invested in all kinds of products. You know, I had a TENS unit. I had this crazy spring loaded brace thing that was supposed to stretch my elbow. Sometimes I got casted for my arm. They would just put my arm in a cast for a couple weeks to see if it would stretch something. It’s wild. I have lots of stories.
Julia Blackwell [00:24:44]:
But, you know, all of, of all the things I tried, you know, from aggressive chiropractic to Reiki, it just didn’t seem like anything was making A lasting impact on my body or giving me any kind of results at all. So Finally, in 2011, I moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Boulder, Colorado, and happened across this lady who did A very specialized and unique form of fascia release work. And I’d never heard of fascia, which It’s so hilarious because, one, I have a degree in exercise physiology, and I know they mentioned connective tissue, but insofar as like, Oh, you know, connective tissue is what’s attaching your ligaments and your tendons to your bone, and that was about it. And, you know, secondly, I grew up in Such a clinical setting. I could speak in medical lingo by the time I was 10. You know, I’d be like, I struggle with abduction, pronation from a brachial plexus injury, you know? So it was just so interesting to be like, I haven’t heard of this thing. I feel like I have tried everything, and This is something I’m unfamiliar with. So I was excited to try it, but also had 0 expectations because nothing had helped me in the past.
Julia Blackwell [00:26:02]:
But, of course, it just blew my mind and absolutely changed my life. So I saw a more of a difference in The feel and function of my arm in 2 to 3 months than I had in 15 years of going through standard Treatments. And it was such a, such a powerful experience for me. I, I realized, you know, deep down, I’d really believed Those doctors that nothing could be done, you know, it wasn’t just an improvement in the physical side of my arm, but I had a lot of emotional releases. I was processing all of this anger and grief and trauma of just growing up in a way that I felt very trapped in my body. So It really opened my eyes to see not just how much physical restriction was being held in the fascia, but how much of the emotional side was being stored in my fascia. And it, it really did just change everything for me. So I catapulted myself into learning everything I could about Fascia, you know, I’m still researching it now.
Julia Blackwell [00:27:05]:
There’s, you know, new things coming out all the time. But, yeah, I got certified in a different modalities, including the one that, you know, had helped me so, so much to begin with. It opened my practice and, Yeah. I’ve I’ve since made my own methodology from all of the things I’ve learned over the years to continue helping both myself and, Yeah. Hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 12 years.
Nick Urban [00:27:29]:
Julia Blackwell [00:27:30]:
Nick Urban [00:27:31]:
I can’t stand hearing like, that’s so common that medical professionals Give someone a label, and because they have authority, they have the education, we just assume to be true. And worst of all, this our unconscious takes that information in, And sometimes you’ll hear back at, it was just a misdiagnosis. They do a retest and that whatever it was that they got diagnosed with Wasn’t actually there to begin with, and it’s just like there’s should be a lot more responsibility on the wording that’s used with Patients and clients because it carries so much more weight than is currently recognized, and I’m sure in 10 years or so, it’s gonna become common common knowledge. But today, it’s still, like, one of those big Barriers in medicine that’s, like, really hindering health outcomes.
Julia Blackwell [00:28:14]:
Oh my gosh. Absolutely. I mean, think about the concept of of medical miracles. Right? Just like what constitutes a medical miracle is that some doctor was like, hey, Nick, you’re never gonna blank Again, you’re never gonna run again. You’re never gonna walk again. Like, whatever this really extreme thing is. And all it takes is for that person to be like, actually, no. I’m gonna work at it and see what I can find.
Julia Blackwell [00:28:39]:
So I always wonder, like, how many more quote unquote miracles would we have if We actually started out by saying like, hey, this is gonna be difficult. You’re, you’re gonna have to put in some work, but this thing could be possible. Even just that wording of like, this Could be possible is so different than telling someone this ultimate door closing statement of like, hey, you’re done. You’re never gonna do this thing again. So, yeah, I’ve heard it more times than I can possibly count. And turns out Most honestly, most of them are untrue, those statements.
Nick Urban [00:29:15]:
Yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately, It’s such a simple language change from the you are this or you have this to, hey. This showed this. We should Reconsider, this is what you might wanna, like, look into, give the patient, the client some some resources and Not to give them that fear because fear is, like, the ultimate degenerator, and it it really eliminates potential outcomes, Beneficial positive outcomes that is. There’s a book called Cured, I believe, that I read a couple years ago, and it was showing it was going around the world documenting The all these miracle cases of people who overcame and did the impossible and, like, one of the big commonalities between all of them is that they changed their story. They changed what they believed, what they felt, what they were going through. They ascribed a positive meaning or message onto the unfortunate circumstances they were in.
Nick Urban [00:30:09]:
And as a result, that was one of the big factors that led to them, At least they believe led to them reminiscing and improving their life rather than perishing.
Julia Blackwell [00:30:19]:
Absolutely. The the body follows the brain. So whatever you believe is gonna start to translate into real physical reality.
Nick Urban [00:30:29]:
Alright. You mentioned a 2nd ago that Fascia stores emotions in some capacity. Can you elaborate on that?
Julia Blackwell [00:30:36]:
Yeah. So another One of the roles that fascia plays in our body is proprioception and communication. So we’ve got Ten times as many proprioceptors in our fascia than we do in our muscles. And we have all these free nerve endings that end in our fascia. So, it is A constant 20 fourseven feedback loop that’s happening within our fascia about both our internal environment and also our internal environment. So because fascia is mostly water and water conducts electricity, This feedback and these signals are communicating very quickly throughout the fascial system, and it’s constantly adapting and, You know, helping figure out how to make sense of the world around you and who you are within that space. There’s there’s just This constant, yeah, feedback loop. And so if you think about these proprioceptors Taking in all this information, essentially, every thought, feeling, experience, emotion that you’ve ever had has Pass through and been logged by your fascial system.
Julia Blackwell [00:31:45]:
And so, again, we we talked earlier about fascia being able to respond to threats, whether that’s, You know, real or perceived. And so, yeah, depending on your life experience, fascia’s gonna respond accordingly. One of my mentors used to say fascia is Like the paper that your life story is written on. And I I love that quote because it really does encapsulate, yeah, just how much it remembers, how much it has processed and understood. And so oftentimes, things get stuck in an area and stay unprocessed for a time. And In my experience, I never know where they are or when they’re gonna happen. You know? I’ve heard a lot like, oh, trauma’s stored in the hips or
Nick Urban [00:32:29]:
Julia Blackwell [00:32:29]:
Something like that. And it’s like, well, I’ve seen emotional releases happen just about anywhere. It can be in the ribs, it can be in the neck, it could be in the calves, you know?
Nick Urban [00:32:37]:
Julia Blackwell [00:32:38]:
I I wish the body were that compartmentalized that it could be like, oh, this is drama. I’m gonna send it down to this exact spot. But unfortunately it does not work like that, but, yeah, I I’ve seen it.
Nick Urban [00:32:51]:
There’s a book called The Body Keeps the Score, and I I don’t know if he actually mentioned The like, where the body is the traumas and the painful experiences are stored, where where they’re lodged into, It sounds to me like it’s most likely the fascia, though.
Julia Blackwell [00:33:07]:
As far as what’s, You know, able to log that information, yes, fascia has much more proprioceptors, those nerve endings, that ability to conduct signals very quickly, much more than than muscles or bones. So so, yes, I would imagine that it’s mostly inner fascia.
Nick Urban [00:33:28]:
Yeah. Okay. So that’s an interesting area. It looks like there will be more and more exploration. Back when I first came across Ayurveda, They have a concept of what you’re just mentioning of trauma being stored in different areas and emotions being stored in different areas. And for my body type, specifically, I’m a Pitta, And the hips were an area that I was I was suggested to focus on and to improve my mobility and do more stretching there, Do more yoga targeting that area specifically, and I noticed that I I, like, broke down and cried one time from doing a stretch, Like, a bunch of stretches on my hips, and I’m like, I don’t usually cry. This is, like, very strange and obscure. I didn’t think there’s anything to it, and then I experienced it firsthand.
Nick Urban [00:34:12]:
And it’s According to their system, which is it’s a a 5,000 year old system, there’s different parts of the body that are different types of people should focus on. So it’s It’s interesting that that is, like, becoming more of, like, a mainstream awareness concept that you’ve also heard and regularly come across the idea of Certain types of trauma being stored in the hips.
Julia Blackwell [00:34:33]:
I I don’t know much about Ayurvedic stuff, but, But, yeah, the 1st time I had an emotional release, someone was working very gently on, the front part of my neck on the SCM, And they had just they were really lightly, you know, compressing it. And I was gently moving my head and suddenly all of these tears were just streaming down my face. And I remember being like, I’m sorry that you know, like, I’m fine. This doesn’t hurt. You know, I was trying to Figure out a way to explain it, and they’re like, nope. This is just what happens when you’re releasing things. And so it made sense for me. I I had a big nerve regraph when I was 4 months old is a way to help with, you know, the nerve damage.
Julia Blackwell [00:35:18]:
And so I have a big old scar that runs down my neck, all the way down to my armpit. And so, it was near the scar. So I certainly imagine there’s some trauma being stored, You know, near scars that could be near the hips. It could be it could be anywhere. I don’t know enough about it. I can’t seem to find a pattern. However, though, because I’ve seen people have emotional releases just about everywhere in the body.
Nick Urban [00:35:45]:
Okay. People who have made it this far in, they’ve now are starting to understand the importance of fascia. The $1,000,000 question is how do you know about go about determining if you have healthy or unhealthy fascia to begin with.
Julia Blackwell [00:35:59]:
Sure. So I think the simplest way is, You know, if you hop on a foam roller and, you know, we can dive in a little bit deeper to this later, but if you Compress an area of your fascia and you start moving your body around a little bit on the roller, and it’s really tender, or it feels very intense for you, that’s a big red flag that, You know, fascias become a little compressed, dehydrated, stuck together. So any kind of, you know, intense sensation, I usually tell clients like, hey, healthy fascia doesn’t hurt when it’s compressed, because it’s got that supple spring like resiliency. And so it doesn’t really Hurt that much if you put some good compression to it. So that’s the easiest one. If you have any kind of Aches and pains or stiffness when you wake up in the morning, you absolutely have some tension and some restriction in your fascia. Again, if we’re talking that feeling of being heavy, of being sluggish, if it feels like it’s taking forever to recover from your workouts, or you’re just Really tired having brain fog. That’s that’s another way that you might be having a fascial issue.
Julia Blackwell [00:37:09]:
There’s probably less water, less of that Structured water of the fascia, and you’re essentially suffering from some dehydration. So any of those I would say are my main points to know that, this is something that You wanna work on.
Nick Urban [00:37:23]:
Are there people that go on a foam roller and they don’t feel like a intense soreness or tightness anywhere in the body?
Julia Blackwell [00:37:33]:
No is the short answer, but it’s cool when you start moving around to different areas, you’ll be like, oh my gosh, it was So intense in, say, the calf, but, oh, the rest of the legs felt pretty good. So it’s it’s good to understand that it you know, for some people, it’s in a lot of the areas, but Some people, it’s just really specific areas. I’m pretty hard pressed to find someone that just feels super healthy everywhere. But, yeah, sometimes it’s just sections or smaller areas and not necessarily, you know, the system as a whole.
Nick Urban [00:38:06]:
What’s the sensation like? Because I know that after a workout, I certainly feel like more tightness Even if I’ve stretched, like, the next day, if I’ve had, like, an intense workout, I’ll be sore, and when I go on a foam roller, it’s a little more tender than it would otherwise be.
Julia Blackwell [00:38:21]:
Well, sure. Yeah. Having some soreness from a workout is gonna make it a little bit more intense. It might be difficult to get That type of information at that stage of the game, however, releasing your fascia after a workout when you’re sore is gonna help More of that fluid move around and and make you less sore the next day. So, ultimately, it depends on your goal. If you just wanna be a little less sore and keep yourself a little bit more Loosen mobile, you can totally still roll. If you’re really trying to hunt down what might be the root cause of a certain pain or Where specifically you’re holding tension in your body, it would be good to do it on a day that you’re not muscle sore from anything. Another component too is while fascia release can and is often intense, We have to keep in mind that no change can happen to our body without the nervous system saying that it’s okay.
Julia Blackwell [00:39:15]:
And so This is not a beat your body into submission mentality. We need to make sure that once we’re on the foam roller, We should be able to breathe deep through our diaphragm in and out. We should be able to move slowly and intentionally. So anything that’s Jerky movements, if you’re hyperventilating, any of these things are signs like, hey, you actually need to bring down the intensity because, You know, we’re not necessarily harming anything, but we’re certainly not getting the full benefit and advantage that we could be doing If we were doing it with a bit more control and with a little less intensity as well.
Nick Urban [00:39:52]:
That’s a super important point that it’s not just to Punish your body and really force hard power foam rolling, but it’s just to, like, do it and let your nervous system accept it. And I guess just, like, making sure the intensity isn’t too high, that’s gonna be a trap that I would fall into, I have fallen into. It’s just like Harder, more foam rolling is better, but perhaps if I just back down a little bit and take it slowly, synchronize my breathing, Make it more of a parasympathetic, like rest and relax activity that’s gonna be much more useful and create longer term changes.
Julia Blackwell [00:40:28]:
Oh, yeah. And and it goes for the other end of the spectrum. I know a lot of people that you know, I teach people to foam roll or use Massage balls are tools in a very specific way to release their fascia, and they often come back and they’re like, oh, Julia, that was so intense. I couldn’t even do it. And I’m like, Well, you could wrap your foam roller in a yoga mat. Like, you know, you could put a pillow between you and the roller. There like, there’s so many ways to Decrease the intensity because, yeah, there no one wants to do something that’s a 10 out of 10 on the intensity scale, or very few people Wanna do something that intense. So it’s a good reminder of like, hey, it absolutely does not need to be that intense.
Julia Blackwell [00:41:08]:
In fact, it’s better if it’s not. I usually say It can be as intense as a 7 out of 10 on, on whatever your subjective scale is, but above that, The nervous system and your fascia for that matter, because they’re both vehicles of communication, it’s gonna start to resist the change that you’re looking to make, Which is why, you know, I have my own opinions about, you know, say like a deep tissue massage that afterwards you’re sore and you’re super bruised. Sometimes those are successful, but what I’ve largely heard is it feels great for like 2 days, maybe even a week, And then the same issue comes back and that’s that idea of fascia’s being pushed and pressed into a position. And it’s honestly, it wants to resist that intense of a change. And so slowly, it’s gonna just go back to where it was before. So, there is certainly a way to kind of speak fascia’s language, and one of them is, yeah, keeping the intensity at a 7 or lower.
Nick Urban [00:42:10]:
Yeah. I wanna talk more about the communication between the fascia and the nervous system in the body in a second, but I have a couple questions about The lymphatic system, the system that helps the body remove metabolic waste and toxins and all kinds of stuff that we want to be removing regularly, I would assume that foam rolling and this fascia fascial release is going to help improve Lymphatic drainage. Is that correct?
Julia Blackwell [00:42:34]:
Absolutely. Yeah. Your lymphatic system lives in your more superficial fascia, so that just means, you know, fascia closer to the skin. So again, if you think about that vacuum sealed bag, if everything is super tight and restricted in any area of the body, that’s gonna squeeze everything in it. That could be Pinching nerves. It could be reducing blood flow. You know, people with the tingly hands, you know, they wake up with tingly hands. Any of those things can, you know, be a reason that you’ve got to release everything.
Nick Urban [00:43:06]:
And then also with chronic pain, say someone wakes up with lower back pain or joint pain or something, could there be disturbance of the fascia somewhere around that. And if they work on their fascia, will they notice may they notice changes?
Julia Blackwell [00:43:20]:
100%. I I think the key is, you know, number 1 is how you’re releasing fascia matters, but secondly, where you release fascia matters just as much. And so a big issue I find, and it’s totally understandable, is, You know, we think, hey, I wake up and my back hurts. This must be a problem with my back. But in reality, you know, our fascial system is A pulley system. And so when one area starts to compress and get all crinkled up, it throws everything else off in the body, and you actually tend to feel pain somewhere else that’s not related to where that crumpled up ball of plastic wrap is. You know, that’s what I’d call like symptom versus root cause. And I understand that that can be really frustrating because, you know, what else can we do if we if we don’t know where our back pain’s coming from? We’re just gonna work on our back, but That’s kind of the beauty of learning more about the fascial system is there’s very distinct patterns.
Julia Blackwell [00:44:20]:
And with back pain, especially, it tends to be coming from Quads and even the adductors, places that, you know, people don’t think about necessarily to release, but then, You know, most of the people in my office, they’re like think I’m some kind of a wizard, when it comes to pain relief. And it’s like, oh, it’s just because we’re going to the right places. Is my goal is always to find the root cause of this thing to restore balance back to the body. And so, Yeah. I understand that it’s frustrating and super helpful. So for all of you that are experiencing some type of chronic pain and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope because you’re like, man, All I’ve done is stretch my back and stretch my hamstring, and I’ve gotten chiropractic on my back and massages on my back and nothing’s working. The hope is that like, hey, you’re just in the wrong spot. You absolutely have the possibility of living life without back pain.
Julia Blackwell [00:45:11]:
You just gotta find the spot in the fascia that’s that’s truly causing that pain.
Nick Urban [00:45:15]:
Yeah. You’re right. It is Quite confusing to notice the length, tension, imbalances throughout the body and how something in one part of the body can lead to an issue that’s, I mean, it can be far away. And, like, how if you just work on that actual source, then the issue that’s farther away Improves by itself, and there’s so many different trigger points and areas in the body to they’re like an expert. Someone who really knows what they’re doing can correlate. But if you don’t understand, like, the biophysics Of the body, you probably will just treat the spot of the pain or injury and won’t necessarily get the best results, longest term longest lasting results.
Julia Blackwell [00:45:51]:
Yeah, I know. I feel for you guys. I did the same thing for a long time. You know, growing up, even with my arm, Everyone just stretched my shoulder and put heat packs on my shoulder, and it’s actually like, oh, well, there’s a lot to do with the cervical spine. There’s a lot going on with the neck. My hips were imbalanced. There’s just A whole series of things that happens when there’s an injury or damage to one spot. And so, yeah, having someone that can, Who can do some of that heavy lifting for you is is helpful because I’ve you know, even besides my arm, I’ve had bouts of neck pain, knee pain, back pain myself, because, You know, I’m a mountaineer.
Julia Blackwell [00:46:26]:
I’m a rock climber. I’m active. I do a bunch of things, and pain is just a part of life when you’re active. And so I’ve done that work of just going to troubleshoot different areas, and I’m like, oh, I see. You know? Like, this knee pain is actually coming from a shift in my hips, and I’m sitting lower on one side. The other side is lifted up. And, you know, a doctor’s just gonna tell me it’s IT band syndrome or that, You know, I just need to stop running, you know, going back to like, oh, hey, this one activity hurts. Just stop doing that activity.
Julia Blackwell [00:46:56]:
But, yeah, there’s there’s plenty of Of ways we can figure out where that source is actually coming from.
Nick Urban [00:47:02]:
Okay. Let’s go on to the communication now. We’ve alluded to it multiple times already about how the fascial system has its own form of communication that’s independent from the nervous system. And there’s probably some crossover Also, I mean, the nurses must accept the changes to the fascia. So how does that work? How does the communication work? There’s the hydration. There’s the Piezo Elektraxi, I think it’s pronounced, and there’s also, like, the signals that are sent to the nervous system. What’s the the bigger picture here?
Julia Blackwell [00:47:28]:
I mean, that’s a great question, and, truly, I don’t even know all the answers because it’s something that’s still being researched right now. We’re almost like, how is it possible that We didn’t even know there’s another electrically signaling communication system in our body. So, I mean, of course, fascia and the nervous system work together. You know, fascia wraps around nerves, and so There’s gonna absolutely be some integration and some crossover there, but, ultimately, again, we’ve got that specialized water in our fascia. So It’s we call it water or, you know, maybe you’ve heard like EZ water or structured water. It’s actually more of a gel Then a liquid. So it’s kind of halfway between that solid and liquid stage. And so that Thicker consistency is a great conductor of electricity.
Julia Blackwell [00:48:21]:
And so I think the nervous system can fire signals at about a 150 miles an hour, but fascia’s communicating within this water of the fascial system at, like, 750 miles an hour. It is just, like, exponentially Quicker because of all of this water that’s in our system. So, yeah, we’ve already, you know, talked about water being a conductor of electricity, but That’s the that’s the biggest reason that so much communication is happening, but there’s still a lot of mystery around, like, what exactly Is it communicating and, you know, what’s the full big picture implications of what that means? So, tragically, At least currently, I don’t know the answer fully to that, but it is it is really fascinating to go down that rabbit hole.
Nick Urban [00:49:10]:
So is the fascia forming the extracellular matrix, the, like, structural support outside of cells? Because I could see it having like a really invaluable role here In like the signaling, but from the cell to cell signaling, and we are starting to understand microRNA and all these different things that explain, like there’s So much information is happening outside the cell that directly influences the expression of our genetics and a whole lot more.
Julia Blackwell [00:49:37]:
Oh, yeah. There’s so many things. You know, I I think we’ve got a slightly different charge between like the intercellular fluid and extracellular fluid. So It helps that water essentially be like a battery, that gives us a lot of energy. It also helps, you know, light helps Even charge that battery up even more. It’s crazy that being out in the light can go so deep into our fashion and still is responding at a cellular level to all of these things. But yeah, the all of that fluid is like a I’ve heard it be called like a water irrigation system. Like, if you’ve seen a video of live fascia, it looks like all of these little hollow crisscrossing tubes, and you just see beads of water Being transported everywhere.
Julia Blackwell [00:50:23]:
So it’s transporting all of these nutrients. It’s hydrating everything that, you know, we Could possibly need within our tissue. There’s a, there’s a lot of different things that are within that fluid that Are super vital to just our overall health and energy levels.
Nick Urban [00:50:41]:
Okay. So what are the things that we can do to improve Art fascia, you’ve mentioned certain forms of bodywork, foam rolling, I guess, would fall under bodywork, like self, like, release, FASCUAL release, and then there’s also I’m gonna assume some things that have nothing to do with this, such as, like, hydrating in Different ways. You mentioned light a 2nd ago, so I’m guessing exposure to natural sunlight is gonna help fascia. What’s, like, the the a 100 or 360 degree view of fascial health improvement strategies.
Julia Blackwell [00:51:13]:
Yeah. Like you said, we’ve mentioned some good good light exposure is really important. If you have access to, you know, any type of red light, that’s another great way to to get some light into the fascia. You know, hydrating with water is certainly important, but eating things with, with Structured water content, mostly like produce, can be a great way to add to the volume of the structured water in your fascia. Movement we’ve mentioned is a big one, but then ultimately, as far as releasing fascia, I’ve found that there’s A combination specifically that that works best in changing fascia. So that combination is, compression, which, You know, we all know what that means, you know, using a foam roller or something of that nature to to gently 7 out of 10 or lower, push into that push into that tissue. And then the second 1 is move actively somehow. So, let’s say for example, you’re on a foam roller, on your quad.
Julia Blackwell [00:52:16]:
So you’re kind of in a plank position. You’ve got your thighs on the roller. Most commonly, you’ve just seen people kind of using their arms to roll back and forth on their legs. Now if you just stay in one spot on your quads and you start bending and straightening your knees, That’s gonna be some active movement, right? So that’s bringing in the nervous system in the brain in a really essential way because we’ve got to Remind the body that it’s safe to access certain ranges of motion, and that anything that you can do on your own Is again, creating this element of safety that you don’t get when someone else is forcing you into a certain position. So I find that the changes that you’re gonna make last so much longer than they would if it was either passive or being done by someone else. And then the last part of that combination, which, which largely comes with the active movement is doing some type of crossfibering On the fascial fibers. Now, on a microscopic level, fascia’s this little, you know, crisscrossing spider web. And so really any way you move is cross fiber in some Bit of fiber, but if we zoom out of that microscopic view, a lot of lines of our fascia have a grain like you would see in wood.
Julia Blackwell [00:53:32]:
So So most of the fibers are kind of going in one general direction. And most times over muscles, it’s going the same direction as a muscle attaches. So if we’re gonna stay with the quad example, most of your fascial fibers in your quad are running from your hip down to your knee. So if you’re on the foam roller And now you keep your knees bent at that 90 degree angle, and then you rock your heels side to side. Now we’re absolutely cross fibering That quad tissue, because we’re going perpendicular to the way that those, those fibers run. So there’s a cell within our fascia called a fasciocyte That only gets activated through cross vibrine. And when it’s, and when that cross vibrine occurs, it helps the production of hyaluronic acid, which is essentially like full body grease to our joints, our muscles. It also creates a little bit of cushion as well.
Julia Blackwell [00:54:23]:
It’s just a really important thing, within our fascial system. And so that combination of compression moving actively and getting some type of cross fibrin Seems to be like the ultimate combination for getting very quick and also as important, very lasting results. So Highly recommend that, that’s something you can, you know, explore on your own with a roller.
Nick Urban [00:54:47]:
Yeah. I’ll have to check more about the cross fibring. But Regarding the active movement, I find that the body tends to compartmentalize things and that you can get really good at running on a treadmill. And it’s not Sport specific, so it’s not gonna carry over to running on the the bare ground because it’s a different movement even though it’s only a little bit different. It’s missing one of the, Like, one of the movement patterns of the the run, one of, I think, 3 or 4. And I find that in general, the body, if you Do something in a a static way. It just doesn’t carry over as well. It’s not as effective as if you do it in a real world scenario, such as, Like, actively moving while you’re working on the fascia.
Julia Blackwell [00:55:29]:
Absolutely. Yeah. Just passive on passive and static things, Seem to, yeah, failed to translate very well. And, and sadly, you know, if you think about most Standard treatments that are available if you have pain or you want help with your mobility performance, whatever that is, you’re getting mostly passive things down your way. Like Here’s an ice pack. Here’s a TENS unit. Here’s a Theragun. Here’s, you know, a massage where you just lay there.
Julia Blackwell [00:55:58]:
Now, to be fair, it depends on your massage therapist, but, You know, a lot of standard things, we essentially lay on a table and hope for change to happen without really participating in that healing process. And, you know, that’s what made such a huge difference for the neurological problem that I was having in my arm. You know, it’s something I still work on all of the time, but it’s exponentially better. And That’s the reality. It grew right up. All I had offered to me was passive treatments, and that active component was, I think what made such a huge impact for me.
Nick Urban [00:56:31]:
And then if you want to amplify the results to get them faster or better, Do you recommend using anything? You mentioned red light as a good, like, biohack you can add. What about, like, hyaluronic acid Supplements or MSM or something like that, is there anything that you’ve seen that works well to complement the fascial improvement techniques?
Julia Blackwell [00:56:51]:
You know, nothing that I’ve I’ve tried enough for myself and can say one way or the other, you know, we we produce Hyaluronic acid, naturally, if we can get all those processes to, you know, do it themselves. You know, I I don’t really do a lot of supplementation, but I’d be curious if you find anything that you feel is helpful, then let me know.
Nick Urban [00:57:12]:
Okay. And then also the EZ Water, that’s a really important one, and that’s Based on the work of doctor Gerald Pollack and the easiest way to get that is via produce, and I think you can also structure your water or increase the easy water Easy water con I don’t even know what you call it, percentage in your water by exposing it to infrared light and a couple other things. And it intuitively makes sense to me because, like, if you cut open a fruit and you just let it sit there, most of the time, it doesn’t just gush out water even though there’s a Huge, very high percentage of water in it. And same with the human body. 99 out of a 100 molecules in our bodies are water, and You’d expect if you just, like, cut yourself a little bit, it would just all the water would just drain out. It would just gush out like a like a inflatable pool that gets a cut in it, but Not quite how it works, and the easiest, simplest explanation for me is, like, understanding easy water, Structured water, it has like 10 different names.
Julia Blackwell [00:58:10]:
Yeah, I know. It gets a little confusing, but, yeah, you’re right. It’s, you know, the reason that that water is contained So well, and we don’t just leak out or have, like, balloon legs where all of our water is just sitting down by our feet. That that’s because of fascia. Right? That’s what’s Organizing not just all of the material in our body, but the water in our body as well. But, yeah, part of what makes it In that gel like form is it’s full of electrolytes and more nutrients. So, it’s It’s very, yeah, it’s extra nutrient dense than water. And so that’s the same for, for produce, like vegetables and fruits.
Julia Blackwell [00:58:50]:
They Have more minerals and vitamins and things that are contained within that water. And so, it’s going to, yeah, contribute to more of that water as opposed to drinking like a filtered bottle of water that has no minerals or anything in it whatsoever. Mostly, that’s It’s pretty hard for your body to absorb and likely will go straight through you.
Nick Urban [00:59:12]:
Have you seen a difference in the fascia of people who are completely avoiding all forms of Structured water and just say eating meat as the carnivore diet or anything like that?
Julia Blackwell [00:59:22]:
It depends on how willing people are to be honest about What they’re eating, but I certainly can tell a difference in fascia of people that like are not taking very good care of themselves. I can surely tell that they’re eating a a more poor diet or they’re not moving very well. But something Sometimes I key I can even tell about people’s personality based on how their fascia feels too. So if they’re a very type a high strung person, There’s a lot of ropey, stringy, textured in there. It does not like letting go of whatever metaphor you would like to, You know, understand with that one. So, yeah, I I think how we take care of ourselves and how we are in general Absolutely are reflected in her fascial tissue.
Nick Urban [01:00:12]:
Very interesting. So what are some of like the typical results people see when working with you?
Julia Blackwell [01:00:18]:
Well, lot of pain pain relief and, you know, pain elimination. Right? So I kinda hate the word pain management. It drives me bonkers because I’m like, why are we managing pain? Let’s get rid of it. If you’re managing it, then you haven’t found the root cause yet. So Certainly that, changes in mobility, changes in posture. I actually had This lady, I’ve been working with her for a a year or so now, and her daughter graduated from high school back in May. She’s really excited to wear this dress that, is, like, one of her favorite dresses that she was gonna wear. And she called me afterwards, and she’s like, I can’t fit into this dress that I love because my shoulders are now almost 2 inches wider because I was so she was so Crunch down and rounded forward in her shoulders and tight in the chest that she was like, I both love and hate you right now because I I love this stress, but also like, wow.
Julia Blackwell [01:01:19]:
What a huge difference to my posture. So, really saw a huge structural difference in in releasing her shoulders there. But, yeah, I also see just an ease of activity. You know, I’ve worked on a couple Professional athletes are people just performing at a really high level, and the thing is like, oh, wow. It just feels so much more easy. It feels more fluid. I don’t feel quite as tired and depleted after I’m finished working out. So there’s a lot of results mostly in, in those veins.
Nick Urban [01:01:51]:
Yeah. Because when you have compensation patterns, your body is doing, like, something that’s less efficient and each movement you make, every calorie You expend every molecule of ATP you spend is gonna be used less productively than someone who has their fascial health and Overall biomechanics optimized and fully sorted out.
Julia Blackwell [01:02:13]:
Yeah. You know, I I certainly don’t advertise or promise this, but I I’ve also seen changes And, you know, just emotional states people, you know, it helps keep them a little bit calm. It helps them feel more comfortable in their body. They’re not quite so anxious. They’re processing different emotions where it was a a catalyst for them to learn how to process more emotions. So that that’s one’s a little bit more ambiguous because even I don’t fully know what’s what’s happening or how you reach that point. You know, I had I had someone come in once upon a time who was like, hey. My friend recommended me come here because when she came, she cried for the 1st time in 10 years Releasing fashion.
Julia Blackwell [01:02:54]:
I’m here to cry. And I was like, I I can’t promise that that’s gonna happen unless I punch you in the face and Literally make you cry that way. I I can’t, you know, make a promise, but it’s just funny how, the the range of things that it’s Capable of helping is pretty wide.
Nick Urban [01:03:13]:
Well, Julia, I’m gonna have to look more into fashion now. You’ve inspired me. This is an exciting forefront that I think will only become more popular In the coming years, if people want to connect with you, to work with you, how do they go about that?
Julia Blackwell [01:03:25]:
Yeah. So you can go to movement by julia dot com. My name’s spelled j u l I a. If you go to movementbyjulia.com/podcast, I have a 3 a free 3 day video series called unlock your hips, where you can try out some of the foam rolling techniques that I’ve been alluding to. It’s a little hard to describe when We’re simply talking on a podcast, but you can go there and and try out some of these moves and how I specifically teach them. I’m also on Instagram at movement by Julia.
Nick Urban [01:03:59]:
Well, I have 1 more question for you and then a quick rapid fire round. Okay. Alright. If all knowledge on earth was lost, but you get to save the works of 3 teachers, who would you choose and why?
Julia Blackwell [01:04:12]:
Oh, man. Well, we’ve been talking a lot about Jerry Pollock, which I think that is incredibly insightful work, Knowing about how to understand water in our body and how to use light and space in our fascia, that that stuff is so Critical in understanding our health, and I think we’re gonna see even more of it as time goes on how critical that is. I’m also Just in love with Thomas Myers. He does a lot of fascial work and has done research on anatomy trains, which are Certain lines of our body that are more connected than others. So everything in our fascia is technically connected, but there are Parts that if you you pull on 1 end, it’s like a puppet. This whole series of muscle groups and bones move, and, it’s really helps Exponentially in understanding, you know, pain patterns and where to go for certain types of pain and to understand, you know, movement limitations in the body. So he’s, He’s done an exceptional work in my opinion. And let’s see.
Julia Blackwell [01:05:15]:
I’m gonna go rogue on this last one and say the Harry Potter series. I know JK Rowling could be controversial, but dang it. I love that series, so we’ll see we’ll save those works.
Nick Urban [01:05:26]:
Yeah. Classic. Alright. Wrapping fire around. Are there any myths around fascia or mistakes you see that are common around improving fascial health?
Julia Blackwell [01:05:38]:
Simply that compression is enough. I it can make change in the fascia for sure, but it’s certainly not the most efficient Way to create lasting change. I also have a pet peeve with people even calling it myofascial because it’s, You can’t distinguish you know, fascia is one system. It’s just fascia.
Nick Urban [01:05:59]:
Yeah. I I almost called it myofascial earlier, so I’m glad I didn’t.
Julia Blackwell [01:06:02]:
I mean, I it’s It’s not a big deal. I won’t correct anyone, but I’m just saying it for the sake of, like, ah, sashes. It’s not just a sausage casing around your muscle, guys. It is An entire communicating system all the way down to your bones. So it’s more than just myofascia.
Nick Urban [01:06:18]:
What area of your own health and performance are you currently working on?
Julia Blackwell [01:06:22]:
Well, I’m I’m always on a journey to keep continuing working on my arm and the mobility. It’s, you know, it’s getting better all the time. It’s worth the commitment and the time. I’ve also been very into circadian rhythm things lately and trying to master, master that. And I had a couple Years of insomnia and some sleep struggles, and I it has helped exponentially to to learn more about circadian rhythm and Capitalize on all the tools we have to help with that.
Nick Urban [01:06:52]:
Okay. What’s one thing that your tribe does not know about you?
Julia Blackwell [01:06:55]:
Maybe that I love Owls. Owls are my favorite animal. I’ve only seen a couple of live ones in my life, and I practically burst into tears. I just think they’re, like, the coolest thing in the world, so I love that one so much.
Nick Urban [01:07:10]:
I love it. Okay. Oh, one other question. How long is, like, the minimal effective dose for fascial work? If I wanted to do do the the rolling you’re talking about and the whole 3 step process, what’s, like, the minimal amount of time I can get away with to actually make a noticeable difference? Know you’re not gonna like the minimal effective dose, but
Julia Blackwell [01:07:29]:
well, you know, it really depends. So, you know, some people can see a result in one time, And they’re like, wow, that made a huge impact because of the way, again, the way that we’re doing it or possibly where we’re releasing fascia. People see results very quickly. If you’re not necessarily in pain and have something you’re actively working on, I would say, you know, 2 to 3 times a week would be a great Way to keep everything healthy and hydrated.
Nick Urban [01:07:58]:
And what’s the time for each of those sessions? Like, 5 minutes, 50 minutes, somewhere in between?
Julia Blackwell [01:08:04]:
I usually stick somewhere around like 15 to 20 minutes. And, you know, if all you have time for is 5 minutes, that’s absolutely better than 0 minutes. Right? But I actually think less is more when you’re compressing 1 spot and you’re actively moving, you can actually do a lot more in less time. So, I would actually advise against, you know, just releasing your quads for 30 minutes. That’s way too long, and it’s Absolutely unnecessary. So, less is more.
Nick Urban [01:08:32]:
Beautiful. Any final thoughts or takeaways for listeners?
Julia Blackwell [01:08:37]:
No. I’m just so excited to get an opportunity to share about fascia and how impactful it can be because, yeah, so many people, have yet to Really understand it’s magic.
Nick Urban [01:08:48]:
Yep. I think I’m in that group also, but that is changing. And thanks to your work and the work of others. I hope that this becomes a household topic soon enough.
Julia Blackwell [01:08:59]:
Nick Urban [01:09:01]:
Alright, Julia. It was a pleasure to host you on the podcast today.
Julia Blackwell [01:09:04]:
Alright. Thanks so much, Nick.
Nick Urban [01:09:07]:
I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in 1% committed to reaching their full potential. Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, Meet me on my website at mindbodypeak.com. I appreciate you and
Connect with Julia Blackwell
This Podcast Is Brought to You By
Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, German New Medicine, etc), and modern science.
Music by Luke Hall
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