The Art of Fascial Unwinding

– the power of this most subtle of therapies….

Fascial Unwinding is one of the subtle therapy skills, enabling the therapist to connect with and follow the fascia as it uses their touch, their facilitation, to ‘go home’. Traumatised or damaged tissue sometimes needs a reminder or nudge to return to its normal state of balance within the tensioned matrix of soft tissue; in other words to its ‘normal’ placement within the body.

Many therapists are trained to ‘fix’ the client, but the way of thinking these days is that the therapist is a facilitator, not a fixer.  Is this a lesser role? No, simply an acknowledgment of the body’s own abilities.  It shouldn’t make us feel deflated or less valuable. If anything it requires more skill, having the understanding of when to ‘back off’, leave our ‘Mr Fix-It’ egos behind, learn to follow the tissue and assist the body to replay traumatic patterning, all via the sensitivity of our hands, is advanced work.  Karel Lewit (1916 – 2014) – one of my heroes – worked as a therapist into his old age.  He said:

“…no instrument can replace our hand.  Using my hand, I analyse numerous valuable bits of information simultaneously but also as soon as touching the patient I can feel the patient’s reaction – the feedback that cannot be replaced.”[i]  

So, let us focus on that, rather than think we need to tell the body firmly what to do!

Fascial Unwinding (FU) is the perfect tool when you are working with people who are resistant – they do not mean to be, they need help, but something inside them cannot let go.  Facial Unwinding gets ‘under the radar’ because it is so light, so unintrusive, that there is nothing for the client to subconsciously fight against – as Sarah found out when working with ‘Tom’ at the Invictus Games Trials. 

I use this approach constantly in my work; it can be blended with other modalities to just give you the edge, another way into the problem. There is little research into FU, but do look at Paolo Tozzi[ii]’s work where he suggests how FU may work.

As a teacher, in the Fascial Unwinding and Energy Awareness course I take therapists to a higher level of sensitivity, body reading and sensing.  They also learn a kind method of self-care.  This practical side, along with plenty of practice on each other (so lovely to give and receive and so beneficial!), is backed up by theory learning on the topics of fascia, posture, trauma and how the body responds to it; and the damage that bad habits in our daily life can do to our bodies.  This four-day course gives a good basis that most therapists find very useful.

See what past students have said about the Fascial Unwinding and Energy Awareness course.

Can you help yourself?

Yes!  Turn all the ‘phones off and lie down comfortably on the floor when you know you won’t be interrupted.  Breathe deeply a few times, imagining your breath going down to your feet and into your hands.  Focus on an area that feels tight or painful.  Imagine you are breathing gently into that area; this helps focus your attention.  Do not deep breathe or make yourself dizzy, just keep a natural, flowing breath going.  You may feel a slight movement inside you, your stomach may start gurgling, and/ or you may feel your body wants to move slightly – or a lot.  Allow this to happen, no matter how odd it may feel.  You may experience twitches, repetitive movements, staccato releases or full body movement . . . . just allow the body to do what it needs to do.  You may feel emotions surfacing – just let it all out, it’s all part of the healing.

After an unwinding session, allow yourself time to rest or sleep.

To find out how we might be able to help please do get in touch.

Links to Sources:

[i] Kobesova, A. (2014) Professor Karel Lewit, MD, DSc: an appreciation. International Musculoskeletal Medicine 36(4): 125-127.

[ii]Tozzi, P. (2014) Chapter 10, Fascial Dysfunction, Manual Therapy Approaches. Ed. Chaitow L.  Pub: Handspring Publishing, Edinburgh.


  1. Caroline North on October 7, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    I am a BCP Pilates teacher and have trained with Karin Gurtner (Slings Myofascial training) and Kit Laughlin(Stretch Therapy) among other things. A Pilates friend of mine has recently done your Art of Fascial Unwinding course, and I would love to hear about future courses.
    Thank you

    • Fascia on December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

      Hi Caroline, not sure if I got back to you or not? If you go to the site and scroll down to sign up to our mailing list you will get monthly blog and newsletter with course updates. I hope that helps. Look forward to meeting you on a course one day! Jan

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