Force transmission is an aspect of body-wide communication. This is what allows the body to respond holistically to events that happen locally. Information, and force, is transmitted primarily through fascia, aided specifically by its collagen.

There are two directions that force is transmitted within the body. One is ‘in-series’, where force is transmitted from the muscle fibers to the muscle fascia to the tendons, then ligaments, then periosteum (the layer of fascia encasing the bones), then ligaments, tendons, muscle fascia and muscle fibers. Force can also be transmitted ‘in parallel’, meaning that force travels between different myofascial structures that happen to sit next to each other. For example, from muscle fibers to muscle fascia to loose fascia to muscle fascia to muscle.

 

Want to learn more about the anatomy of fascia? Then you might be interested in these articles on fascial glide, elasticity, plasticity and fascia and the mind-body connection.

 

Through this mechanism, changes in one part of the body are communicated to the rest of the body, making it possible for the rest of the body to act in a coordinated fashion. The body’s myofascial meridians (body-wide lines picking up myofascial structures which transmit force and mechanical tension) are an example of this.

If the following conditions are in place, force will be transmitted efficiently throughout the body: enough tensile strength (fascia is not too strong nor too lax), fascia that is well organized, fascia that is permeable (where different parts of the body can feel and talk to each other as opposed to fascial layers that are stuck together, too fibrous or dense, making body-wide communication difficult).

If we load fascia regularly, and skillfully, it will continue to transmit force efficiently, allowing our fascial architecture to model, and remodel, itself accordingly. The benefits of doing so are: having a body that works easily in a coordinated, integrated fashion, the ability to carry out our day-to-day tasks (and athletic tasks efficiently), and the ability to take excess load off individual structures within the body by distributing strain more evenly throughout.

You might also be interested in this article on fascia's multi-dimensionality.