Fascia-nating

As someone who has had three abdominal surgeries, the last being extremely invasive I’ve wondered for a while if these could be related to why I ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The following article and my own practice realy drums home to me that , yes – its 100% possible!

I happened across this extremely fascinating blog this morning during a very rainy Saturday lie in with a cuppa and my kindle and it totally blew my mind

Link… http://www.doctorschierling.com/blog/fascia-as-a-proprioceptive-organ-and-its-relationship-to-chronic-pain

Previously a yoga teacher and now an exercise and fitness instructor I’m constantly looking for how to improve what I teach, how I teach, and what I can bring to class that will help my clients.

I’d been following a lady on Facebook for a couple of years called Lydia Campbell. Lydia has created a course called Trigger Point Pilates. Using soft Prickle balls (I know stay with me) which you lie on and practice movements, which in turn release the deep Fascial layers within the body. Thus hydrating the Fascia allowing for better gliding of joint movements, reduced pain, more energy… the list goes on. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it. Well it is this simple. Ok, there’s a bit more anatomy and science stuff to it, but yes indeedy it works, not only on a physical level, but on a deeper cellular lever too. This practice has been my savoir.

I was two years to eventually meeting Lydia, and booking on her teacher training course. After just one class I could totally feel that this was a direction I needed to go in. I felt such a release, both physically and mentally it was destiny… I took a class each day for a week, the second class triggering a much needed emotional release too. Oh, I forgot mention I was in Ibiza while at a YogaFit retreat – well it was sunny and warm so why not add in a course too, haha.

I’ve now been teaching regular Trigger Point Pilates classes for seven months. It’s not like a class you’ve experienced before, this class is some special.

I have participants who are super fit, train for events and want to recover quicker, release old injury tensions, reduce the chance of new injury and stay active. Some come because they just love the way this class makes them feel. And then there are those who haven’t moved much in years, or who have been inactive due to illness, chronic conditions etc. I can totally say I’ve been flabbergasted by some of the results my clients and participants have had from this class.

Alongside teaching regular classes I’ve been actively working with Trigger Point release myself. During my own practice, or studying for my own body I can total relate my CFS to a Chronic Fascial disfunction due to previous surgeries.
Why? Because after only a few months practice working on the Fascia I have had such huge success personally. To the point I have no more pain. The muscle cramps and joint pains are gone, and if I do have a small relapse it’s not nearly as often, loads less pain than I used to feel, I can remove it within less than five minutes of Fascia releasing. I also have so much more energy since working on myself Fascialy.

I have a few clients with Fibromyalgia or other Chronic conditions who have reported great relief from coming to class or working one-to-one with me.

~ Sit on my bright coloured balls! ~

The results speak for themselves đź’“

There is so much more I want and need to learn about our Fascia, the whole subject is truly Fascia-nating.

Excerpt from the link above…

“It is critical to understand that fascia is what gives our soft tissues structural support. We now know that there exists a state of structural and functional continuity between all of the body’s hard and soft tissues, with fascia being the ubiquitous elastic–plastic, gluey, component that invests, supports and separates, connects and divides, wraps and gives cohesion, to the rest of the body – the fascial, connective tissue network. Without fascia, our muscles would be like a jelly substance without much form at all. The fascia contains sensitive nerves that convey proprioception (joint position sense) as well as pain nerve fibers. Fascia, when healthy, forms a gliding interface with underlying muscle allowing free excursion of the muscle under the relatively immobile skin. When fascia gets mechanically loaded, injury can occur resulting in fibrosis and adhesion formation. This adhesion formation disrupts the normal ‘sliding and gliding’ of the tissues. As the fascia thickens, it can disrupt balance and proprioception. This can result in binding up tissues that should slide and or stretch and thus disrupting motor patterns. This can lead to chronic tissue loading, further injury, and global soft tissue holding patterns”. Matt Fontaine of Potomac Physical Medicine discussing a video by Dr. C (Leon Chaitow Talks About the Explosion of Fascia Research), much of it being transcribed word for word Dr. Leon Chaitow is a British osteopath, naturopath, author, researcher, and university professor.

It’s really worth setting aside the time to read what Dr Russell Schierling has to say about your Fascia…

http://www.doctorschierling.com/blog/fascia-as-a-proprioceptive-organ-and-its-relationship-to-chronic-pain

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Let it go

Firstly, I apologise for not writing anything here recently. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been delving into books and research on my new obsession… The ‘Myofacia’ and ‘Myofacial Releasing’. It’s facinating.

I added a new certification last October, Trigger Point Pilates (TPP) with founder Lydia Campbell. I hadn’t taken any TPP classes previous to this, however, the idea of a deep facial releasing and helping the body to unwind and let go was some which really resonated with me. The course just happened to be in Ibiza ‘Yoga Fit Retreat’ and since I had taken the plunge and booked the weeks retreat I thought why not make the most of an opportunity to train while I’m there. Exciting!

I felt, that whether my local commuty classes were open to this new concept or not, this was something I would still benefit from for myself, and just maybe it would work for them also.
As I’ve noted here previously, every two or so weeks my muscles will hold tension. Yes yes, I know, I am a fitness instructor, and therefore I will have sore muscles or DOMS but it doesn’t always happen because I’ve been exercising, it’s something that just happens! And heck this is pain. Once my muscles go into a tight spasm they dont’t let go. Mostly legs and upper back, but some days it can be soles of feet face and palms of hand. And then there’s the added struggle with vision, headache and concentration. Muscles are muscles where ever they’re located. I’ve tried resting, magnesium salt baths and massage. The latter two which help reduce the condition, but it doesn’t really go away, and so I’m always living with painful muscles of some degree. Add to this constant sore joints due to my body’s response to stress and some favorite foods… CFS and instructing is not walk in the park – No certification could have prepared me for this. And so I really felt TPP could be an answer not only for me but for clients who needed relief from Chronic pain, or athletes looking for a faster recovery option.

I arrived a the retreat, checked out the schedule and amongst some yoga and lovely VeraFlow with founder Naomi Di Fabio (I love this beautiful class. It’s got it all), I did two TPP classes with Lydia. I benefited massively from lying on the soft prickle balls. I felt the benefits after one class. I already understand the onion theory – each of the layers of an onion being pealed away, like the layers of tension added to our bodies over months and years being removed.
It seems that we humans try to protect themselves with tension-like layers of an onion. That sounds ridiculous, but this is a very good analogy.

These deeper compensating painful tension patterns may be due to old injuries, forgotten repetitive movement at work or sports, learned loco-motor and postural patterns from parents and childhood, physiological trauma.

So if you think about it logically, the more you can let go, and the deeper you go the more you can let go.
A surprising reaction to this deep unfolding for some can be tears. Like the layers of the onion, the more you peal back the more you cry.

Tears are good, tears means you have made a breakthrough. Tears are our bodies natural way of letting go. Let your tears come. I had tears after my second TPP session with Lydia, and the feeling of light in my body after this was truly wonderful. I hope all this is making sense?

  • Think of it as keeping our body balanced and to allow for self-healing.

What a setting for a courseTwo Jacqui’s passing TPP course at Yogafit Retreat with Lydia

What have been my own benefits from practicing Trigger Point Pilates. Well lots actually…

  1. Faster recover after exercise. I feel such pain after teaching a certain high impact class and getting off the sofa layer to climb the stairs to bed can be so painful, this is when my muscles would hold onto tension for days. So I get on my prickle Balls and do some simple moves and hey presto! I’m already feeling the benefits before I go to bed. The following morning I feel great.
  2. I have now a class which I can teach which doesn’t burn me out and use up any last reserves of energy. A class which I believe will stand the test of time.
  3. My lovely little fitfam has embraced this class and thier prickle balls. The feedback has been amazing. I’ve lots of new clients through the doors and lots of challenging bodies in front of me. Every new week is a learning week.
  4. I have myself a simple tool that I can do almost anywhere and manage one of the hidden CFS conditions of deep chronic pain.
  5. I actually don’t remember the last time I felt my glands were up and sore, unless of course I was maybe fighting a virus but even then, it’s only been short lived. I’ve also just recently noted that the heavy furry chest feeling is gone. I used to relate to this as “breathing through a door mat” and it was constantly there. My chest feels clear and my breath light for the first time in five years. Five years! I love this. I can breath again without restriction. How Fab is that.
  6. My nervous system seems to be restoring it’s self through natural and gently movement rather than OTC meds. eg. I’d a migraine last weekend, I did some TPP and eventually it went – along with lots of pops and cracks in my upper back and neck, hahaha. I’d normally have had this ache travel my body and last all weekend. Result.

These incredible benefits are not only my own. Every week another client comes and tells me how this class has helped them.
• I have one lady who after doing her first TPP class with me has had an incredibly positive result with chronic constipation. Right from her first class she had results. That’s a whole lot of letting go.

~ This onion stuff really works ~

So to conclude.
“Homeostasis is the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.”

Any imbalance of the body’s posture and loco-motor system (60% of the Central Nervous System)
Or metabolism (40% of the Central Nervous System) will be present in the body physical.

Any imbalance from past /old injuries of the body posture and loco-motor system or interferences with the development or maturation of homeostatic systems will be present in the body physical.

How chronic these conditions remain are like layers of an onion. They remain a part and apart of an onion. They remain a part and apart of you until they serve their purpose in your life.

Pain is not a lifestyle

~ LET IT GO ~

Dont be afraid of the “What If’s”

Today marked my first run in a nearly year and a half.

I’ve been saying for almost a year I wanted to get back to running.

“So what?” you may say. Well for me, this is a BIG deal

I used to love running, I’d head off on a trail with my faithful four legged friend for miles previous to CFS. We ran for fun. We ran to tire her out. And we ran to train for 10K’s and half marathons.

Running was OUR THING. Then came the recovery process.

I had learn to listen more to my body and those inevitable signs. “Push and Crash”. I tried to get back into running. And so – Push and Crash I did.

This afternoon my daughter asked would I come for a run with her… “Yes” said I. “See you in fifteen minutes!”

I had a moment of panic… Ahh!! What are you thinking Jacqui? You know how this can affect you!

I reminded myself that I have no classes until Thurs/Fri this week, and they’re easier ones on my body. You can try this and see what happens. It’s safe. Go for it girl. Don’t be afraid. You’ve already said yes to it.

I love the classes I teach, I’m fortunate that I can get to teach what I want to, and therefore I only teach what speaks to a me inside. There is no doubt I love one class a little more. PiYo has been the one workout which speaks to me like running did, but with PiYo I can modify on a low energy day, I can adapt my teaching to suit how I’m feeling on the day. Running, I won’t have this luxury unless I give in and walk.

I’ve wanted to return to running for so long. PiYo will always have it’s place in my life as my soulmate workout, however I really really miss the challenge of offroad running. We have so many easy to access forestry trails around us and the views and the challenges they provide are just amazing. I also really miss that feeling of being free with my own thoughts, my body in sinc with my feet and my breath. My happy place.

I know for sure I was putting it off because I was scared of the after crash, pushing my body and heart rate to the max can leave me utterly drained. When I say utterly drained, I’m talking about not being able to climb the stairs to bed, not managing to string a sentence together and stay focused on a conversation. A CFS crash is like no other type of tiredness. There is absolutely no way you can press on and get through. It literally stops me in my tracks. I felt that now my ever excited and faithful running companion Morgan (dog) is not longer with us I wouldn’t have my minder up the hill with me. The thought of heading up the hill on my own was scary after so many years of running with my dog. Yet I also didn’t want to hold anyone back of the suggested coming with me as I don’t always know how my body will react to exercise from one day to the next, until I begin.

Now just so your aware, we have just returned from our fortnight trip on our boat and I have excessively overindulged, and not a squat or downward dog was done in the past three weeks. I have been so lazy. My glutes have spread and so has my belly.

Anyways. I let my panic go – I have no classes for three days, so I went with it.

Crikey! Tough was an under-statement. I’d forgotten just how hard a climb some of those hills are. What used to be my warm-up was now becomimg my nightmare. I could see the end I’m sight, but boy – it was mind over body most the way.

In fairness I only took around four, or maybe five walk breaks. My daughter wanted to hit the 5K mark. I expected to be walking most of it, falling behind while she ran on and then picked me up on the down side. Yet there I was runnkng. Behind her. I mostly kept up. I found a sudden spurt of energy 2.5miles in, so this is how long it now takes my body to warm up. My tiny steps had improved, my stride felt longer and I’d forgotten my breathing was such an effort as it was now in sinc.

Bonus : 1) No Stitch 2) only took four/five walk breaks 3) we ran the 5K… And they were mostly hills!

Hell-Yeh!!

I have CFS but I am still a runner

I have overcome the fear or starting again. Thank you for asking me Nic x

I don’t know how my body will react to this over the next few days, I may be living through the CFS hangover daze for a few days afterwards.
CFS looks invisible from the outside, but to the host this condition is very very real and if reality hits then I will have to suck it up. Hopefully though, I haven’t given myself too much of a shock.

However for today I feel proud; 38min ‘5K ~ 11.52 pace ~ with hills’

I think my T-shirt says it all…
“The Secret To Getting Ahead Is Getting STARTED”

Watch “Singer Alice-Ella Opens Up About Illness | First Dates” on YouTube

The struggle IS REAL, every second of every day. CFS/ME does not give you the option to press on and push through.

When you see me teaching, and jumping around, full of energy in class it’s because teaching group fitness is 100% what I love to do. I want to be teaching, to be encouraging and giving everything I have to make your class experience the best ever.

Yet, behind the scenes, every single day, I AM THIS GIRL in the video. this is my life. It breaks my heart to hear her words as they are my words too. 

It doesn’t take much, some days a even just phone call before I leave for class, or an unexpected visitor in the afternoon can be enough to leave me struggling to get the right words out. It’s like my brain cannot function. If your a class regular then you’ve all seen me on those days when I’m not quite on form… I’ve learnt to hide it well so I forgive you if you missed the signs. Some days it really can be a huge effort sometimes for me to show up, but I want to be there. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

Before I leave for a class I have to rest, then when I get home from class again I have to rest. Now when I say rest I don’t mean a quick five minutes on the sofa with a cuppa, I wish! No, I need to have an empty house, no noise and a good half hour or hour of nothing-ness. This is how I roll folks 

Most days, even after a great sleep, I struggle to waken, or I see double for hours after I wake. It’s like having a hangover and flu, every morning, especially after a hard, or double class the day before.

Some days would be lovely to join you and skip class, but I turn up, and will modify my teaching if need be, because and I can’t express this enough, I really do love teaching group fitness. I love my job.

I wish CFS would go away and never return. I wonder “why me?”. I have so much I want to do. I have plans. 

I get so frustrated with myself. I want to get certain tasks done, but then I start and can only do so much before my body tells me to stop, go rest, or my mind just wants to be quiet and switch off. If I ignore and press on I can end up crashing for hours, days sometimes. 

Perhaps one morning I’ll waken and it will just be gone. I think I’m allowed this wish.

I love the honesty of this girl in the video, I find it very difficult to be honest about my health and how I feel as most comments are, “yeh, we all get tired sometimes”, or ” it’s an age thing”. As someone living with a chronic fatigue condition for the past four and a half years these types of comments can hurt me right to my core. These people have no idea how much it hurts when they speak these words. I try be kind, smile and ignore it, but God damn it frustrates me. 

At the end of the day I cannot change what others think. I can only change how I react till it no longer hurts… I’m still working on this! 

Stay positive. Stay balanced. And get to class, if I can – you can too 

Thought for today…

I just love teaching my classes.

The energy everyone brings to the room just lifts me up everytime đź–¤

Recovery​ is all about learning to listen to your body and finding balance

After a tough couple of days last weekend, I have rested and reset, and I’m feeling better today than I have in weeks.

My class was cancelled this evening due to low numbers, so after a very quiet weekend recovering from my own deep tissue massage in firday, I decided to do some practice for myself. I did some flexibility warm up movements, a bit core work, and some lovely stretching at the end.

I must admit, my body was just melting into the forward bends today. The pulseroller has definitely done its job!

đź–¤ Stop for a moment and rest if you must, but don’t ever give up đź–¤

You can’t control what goes on the outside, but you can control how you react

 Sometimes things catch up on me when I least expect it – But with a little reset I will rise again.


Somedays still leave me absolutely drained. I can feel so completely washed out that the stairs in my house feel like they’ve become vertical. To hold my head on my shoulders is too much effort and I need to rest.

If I ignore the  I signs I often can’t hold a simple conversation without it seeming like I’m on meds, slurry or forgetting a word. 

Even a fright or shock reaction can bring this on. A constant background noise, or constant creeking door taking my attention away from what I’m focusing on.

It’s usually not the events from today which bring this on, more often than not it’s what has happened a day or two previously, so sometimes I can’t put my finger on the event which caused it. 

I’ve learnt the hard way that when I feel this coming on to listen to it, to remove myself from the situation and “unplug” for a while. 

Pushing through is not an option.

Energy zappers or people who expect me to hang on to​ every word I find very challenging, it really tires my brain. So I step back and let them do thier thing. To be honest, and somewhat amusingly, I’ve noticed that these types of people don’t actually notice when I’ve switched off from the conversation.

Also, changes in weather conditions​. The changing spring weather we are experiencing just now I find very challenging. Warm and dry, then windy, cold and damp. It’s difficult for my body to balance itself when the weather is like this. It can show as joint aches, heavy and tight muscles, headaches or just a general malaise that sleep won’t cure. 

Little reminders that although most the time I can keep up the pace of life happening around me, CFS is still lurking in the background waiting to zap my reserves.

Today’s bleugh has come about through my own actions. I’d been struggling through the muscle tensions and joint aches for a couple of months now and decided to give myself a treatment with my new pulseroller. Now don’t get me wrong, this tool is a massive aid, i can give myself a deep massage and get right to the deep held tensions, however the downside is that the huge release from the tensions I had been holding in my body means I can have a bad reaction​.

So today I have no tightness in my muscles, I feel my muscles have let go tonnes, the back of my body in particular, however the malaise effect kicked in. Id forgot​ten and wasn’t expect it. 

I had to remind myself, this is not a time for me to push through, or press on. Doing so can be detrimental for someone with Chronic Fatigue. We need space, time to reset, to completely switch off my thoughts. To rest and recharge. When I say recharge, I don’t mean a cat nap on the sofa or five minutes with a cuppa. I don’t even need to close my eyes. I just need to be left alone. No talking​, no expectations from the family on my time, no thinking. 

I’ve only recently​ started to not feel guilty about taking time out. I used to feel it was selfish and that I was letting others down. When in reality​, I am only letting myself down by not accepting it for what it is.

So take time for yourself. Teach your close friends and family to recognise the symptoms when it coming on. And if they are oblivious to your condition, wall away. Go to your retreat place. Recharge​ your batteries.

Don’t feel guilty of you didn’t get dinner out in time, or if you needed help with the dishes. Ask to be left alone for an hour if this is what you need, your health and healing take first place. 

This is where The Spoon Theory makes sense to those which chronic conditions. It’s all too easy to give away our spoons, but replacing even one spoon is not so simple. Spoon conservation, you need to make a choice. Do you loose all your spoons, or do you learn walk away, to say no, not today thank you. Often our decision can surprise another, but we have to look after number one!

You only have so many spoons each day you waken. Today is one of those days.

Don’t use up all your spoons too soon, always make sure and have two or three in the back of the dresser, you may just need one to get you back home.


Sometimes things catch up on me when I least expect it – But with a little reset I will rise again 

This too shall pass… 

Counting my blessings

Paying it forward

I felt so very blessed after class this morning
A participant from Hydrotherapy came to me at the end of class today and told me that she hadn’t released until recently that she can now walk properly. That her pis are working better when walking, and her toes are now working much better too. This female has kept the dream, and made little weekly goals to come to class to help improve her health while dealing with a chronic condition.

We often don’t realize just how far we’ve actually come on our own healing journey until another shows us where we used to be. How very lucky am I to have my health that I can give my time to help others to improve and maintain theirs.