Fitness + Health + Wisdom + Wealth

Fascia & Pain: Julia Blackwell


Guest: Julia Blackwell

Release Date: 11/9/2023

Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.

Steve Washuta: Does Fascia play more roles in the body than we once thought? Are your pain relief stretches simply short term solutions? What techniques and principles surrounding fascia Have you been using improperly all this time? We discuss all this and much more in the upcoming podcast.

Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I’m your host, Steve Washuta, co founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s episode, I interviewed Julia Blackwell, the lion’s share of our conversation today is going to be around fascia.

Steve Washuta : How can we improve your fascial health? How do you understand the principles surrounding what your fascia does in your body? A lot of people think they know what it does. But there’s more complexities and layers pun intended here to what fascia does, than you could imagine.

Steve Washuta : So Julia has provided a free three video, unlock your hip series for my listeners. So listen to the end for that. With no further ado, here is Julie and I talking all things fascia. Thank you so much for joining the Trulyfit podcast when you give my listeners and audience a little background on who you are, and what it is that you do day to day in the health and fitness industry.

Julia Blackwell :  Hey, Steve, thanks so much for having me on. I am a fast release practitioner educator and have thus created my own confession release method. Over the years, I’ve been in practice in Golden Colorado for the last 1112 years starting to lose count a little bit. But yeah, it’s literally it’s been a lifelong journey for me to find my own physical freedom, I was almost a 10 pound baby. And I got stuck in the process of being born.

Julia Blackwell :  So in the effort to pull me out, the doctors ended up stretching and tearing all of the nerves in my right shoulder. So I grew up going through what I call the standard western medicine system run around, which is essentially like feeling like a broken product on a conveyor belt going from doctor to doctor practitioner practitioner continually rubber stamped as defective.

Julia Blackwell :  So really, no one could help the first 23 years of my life with this incessant tightness that I was still experiencing in my arm, this limited mobility and just this general feeling of being super uncomfortable in my body. So in the summer of 2011, I moved out to Boulder, Colorado.

Julia Blackwell :And just by this wonderful chance met this lady who did a very unique type of fascial release work and never heard of the word fascia, which is pretty crazy, considering I have a degree in exercise physiology, and they surely mentioned connective tissue, but it was very general. So you really was very confused and intrigued by what this thing specifically was.

Julia lBlackwel : But really had no expectations for it since everything I had tried, which is just about anything you could possibly think of nothing had worked. But this truly blew my mind and changed my life. This type of fashio release work helps me with the feel and function of my arm more in two to three months than 16 years of what I would consider standard treatments.

Julia Blackwell So obviously I got obsessed with fascia, I went down the rabbit hole of learning everything I could about it. I opened my practice, I got certified in multiple different modalities and have sense just for my own amalgamation of things. And I’ve been helping hundreds of people for the last like I said, I think it’s 11 or 12 years at this point.

Steve Washuta :  Well, that’ll be the centerpiece of our conversation. But I do want to go back to your shoulder injury Now was it were they just continually Miss diagnosing it? Were they doing imaging and saying we can’t see anything? Like what was the overall thought process of most of the like, quote unquote, normal Western experts, your your, your Sports, medicine doctors, your physical therapists, what were they saying was wrong? Sure.

Julia Blackwell :  So I actually had a big nerve re graph when I was about four months old. So my arm went from not functioning whatsoever, I believe, to coming back online, if you will, quote unquote, online, and they just labeled it as Erbs Palsy and really sent me on my way. I think I didn’t do anything at all post surgery for about two years.

Julia Blackwell And then I got sent to occupational therapy, which I want to say I went to for a good like 13 or 14 years. I had a couple doctors recommend different surgeries. None of them sounded truly that helpful. It seemed like if they were going to work on something and it was going to lose something else. And so yeah, most commonly I just heard like, hey, there’s nothing we can do about this. If anything, it’s gonna get worse.

Julia Blackwell : As you get older, one doctor went so far as to tell me that I would never play any sports which I got a full ride to play volleyball at a division two school, so the joke’s on him. But yeah, there was a lot of things that mostly it was just a lot of hopelessness and dismissal, which, you know, as a practitioner these last few years, doing something a little bit obscure.

Julia Blackwell : I tend to be the person people come to as a last resort, you know, they’ve tried everything else, and they’re still struggling. And I’ve heard a lot of those similar stories, lots of dismissal, lots of phrases like, Oh, you’ll never do this again. See you later. And so it’s certainly a part of how I work with people is, you know, overcoming some of these likely false things that the Western medicine system has, has put onto them.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, well, seems like that’s going to aid in your journey. And I see that through a lot of the stories of health and fitness practitioners is that something happened to them. And they’re able to take a step back and say, Well, how can I help other people who are going through something similar, because I know that I can’t be the only one.

Steve Washuta  : That gives you the drive to wake up day to day and make sure you can help everybody else. But let’s, let’s give me a definition of fascia. I’ve heard people use it, the terms of like, it’s the body’s glue, or it is a 3d web encasing of the body. I know what it is from a scientific perspective. But let’s talk about it maybe from a high level perspective for people who have no idea. And then you can get into the science for people who have a little bit of an idea. Totally.

Julia Blackwell : So yeah, it’s my favorite analogy is it’s like plastic wrap that wraps around every single thing in your body. So I’ve often heard there’s this misconception that it’s like a sausage casing that just wraps around the outside of things. But it’s actually layer upon layer upon layer, like a three dimensional plastic wrap suit that you have on the inside.

Julia Blackwell : So it wraps around every single muscle fiber, every muscle group, every bone, organ, nerve, blood vessel, it’s, it’s what creates your shape, your structure and your texture. So I think that’s the easiest way to envision it. And your body, you know, it connects things together, it holds your structure in place, like yes, even more than the skeletal system. But it’s one uninterrupted, interconnected system that functions as a unit.

Julia Blackwell : And this, you know, scientifically speaking, has only been studied the last 50 years or so. And so everything before that, when they would go in and study the body, they’d be like, Oh, what’s all this little, you know, clean wrap stuff around the muscle, I want to see the muscle, I want to see the nerve, so they would just clear it out and literally throw it away.

Julia Blackwell : So now that we started studying it, we’re realizing a lot of the things that we thought were true of the body, it’s not quite so mechanical, it’s actually lots of forces being distributed through the fascial system. It’s our shock absorber, it’s how nutrients get carried to all of our cells. It helps us with hydrating all of our tissues, it’s essentially like a water irrigation system. It has so many roles that are imperative for our body’s health and movement. So it’s more than just a casing that goes around the outside that holds us together. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : I mean, as a personal trainer, we’re not taught that much. It’s typically like, Oh, hey, you know, your muscles run in striations. Think of like a tennis racket, you have lines going in both directions. And if there’s fascia that is, like adhere to the muscle or for something wrong with the fascia, then we don’t have proper movement patterns because of that, right?

Steve Washuta : We have to make sure that there’s, you know, the, like a knot, so to speak, would be the generalized term, right, we have to make sure there’s no knots so there’s not things not sticking. But as far as it being interconnected with, I know you even talked about you get into this, like, maybe pain and personality, or like, you know, depression or like all these other things, and, and feeding and hydration. I mean, we’re not taught any of that. And I think that’s, it’s interesting that it goes that deep and that and that you help your clients on that level as well.

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, you know, fashion actually goes through a cellular level. That’s how it’s able to bring nutrients and hydrate each individual cells. So there’s really no way to separate it from the body again, here’s what I here’s what I will say that’s an extra thing that our fascia does. So it’s a full blown communication system. It can actually communicate outside of the nervous system.

Julia Blackwell : The nervous system fires signals at about 150 miles an hour and fascia can fire signals up to like 750 miles an hour. So there’s a lot of communication going on. They obviously work together, the fascial system and the nervous system.

Julia Blackwell : But because fascia is able to communicate all of this information through mostly propria scepters our fascia will start to make decisions or change texture based on kind of what you were saying with personality. So if you have a lot of anxiety if you have a PTSD, especially I’ve worked with quite a few people there, your fascia may start to thicken and may start to shrink and tighten just based upon emotions you’re feeling.

Julia Blackwell : The body can’t tell the difference between what is an actual real threat and what’s a perceived threat. And so a lot of us if we’re feeling internally anxious or stressed, or fascist still going to change based on simply those internal feelings.

Steve Washuta : Let’s go into foam rolling. And I know that’s that’s what people typically in the health and fitness industry immediately associate fascia with, say, Oh, I have a fascia issue. I’m going to foam roll, I’ve watched some of your videos, you can go you can go any direction you want here, but I know, in a lot of your videos, you almost use the roller more as like a fulcrum, I would call it than a than a rolling tool. Why did you do that? And what are people doing maybe wrong? As far as like mechanistically speaking?

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, you know, what I what I’ll start with is what I found in my own experience, as well as you know, during my practice these last few years is there’s there’s a certain way that we can, let’s call it speak fascist language. So fascia loves compression. And that could be something simple like holding a trigger point.

Julia Blackwell : But there’s a couple other parts of the combination that I found to be really effective. So if you can press an area and then move actively, which means you’re doing a movement yourself, we’re crossfire brain a lot of different areas of our fascia, because again, we’re not just talking about one striation going kind of with the muscle fiber, it’s this criss cross, three dimensional spiderweb matrix.

Julia Blackwell : We’re cross vibrating all kinds of different areas of the fascia when we move. And there’s a specific cell within our fascia recently discovered called a fascist site that is only activated through cross vibrating. And when it’s activated, it helps us produce hyaluronic acid, which is essentially like full body grease for your muscles and your joints.

Julia Blackwell : So if you can compress an area that feels tight or tender, and simply hold that compression on one spot, and then move, we’re making this really amazing combination of this crossfire brain bringing in the brain to you know, let us know that it’s safe to access certain ranges of motion again, plus that compression, and I found the results not only happen quicker, but they tend to last a lot longer. I think we’ve all been, you know, to a massage, and we feel so great for like a day or two.

Julia Blackwell : And then it feels like we’re right back where we started. And we’re like, what happened? And it’s because we’re actually not doing any active movement. I mean, it depends on the therapists that you’re seeing. But that inability to get the nervous system and the fascial system on board with that communication is really important. So with a foam roller, what we’re doing is yeah, just using it as a tool for compression, or, you know, other massage balls or tools as well, we’re simply using it as a way to compress something, and then I help guide people through some sort of active range of motion. And that seems to get us a much better result.

Steve Washuta : Would you say that the way the average person uses it is not effective is not useful, or it’s just not as effective?

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, you know, it depends on what your goal is. So if your goal is to simply create a little heat in the muscle, and maybe work through a couple superficial, you know, textural things going on in your fascia, you could still roll up and down, I think it’s a great way to activate some proprioceptive, which can help you fire the muscles, you want to fire more effectively while you’re working out.

Julia Blackwell : And of course, we want to heat our muscles up a little bit before we just start cranking out squats. So that type of rolling is fine. And if you’re really looking for help with your mobility, if you have poor mobility or you have pain, rolling really is not going to cut it just that back and forth movement will get much more of a change to happen through that combination of compression and active movement.

Steve Washuta : Explain the pain gate theory and why you believe that theragun falls into it. But something like the foam roller may not fall into it.

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, so pain or gate control theory is I want to say it’s like if a non painful stimulus is introduced to the body at a certain pace, it floods our receptor gates in our spinal cord with all of that sensory input and then temporarily closes those gates and that blocks pain signals from getting to the brain. So a theragun.

Julia Blackwell : Again, if you’re looking for just recovery and a way to just help relax your muscles after a workout, it can be great, but if you’re using your theragun to help with a pain, what we’re really doing is just managing the pain which is temporarily not feeling it because of what’s happening in your brain and then it’s going to come right back. So, again, I would qualify theragun has a passive treatment, you know, you do have to move your arm around to different areas of the body.

Julia Blackwell : But we’re really just putting a stimulus into the muscle without activating the nervous system without adding probably a strong enough compression to really change fascia. Because it’s more than those superficial layers, right? Those layers are going all the way down to the bone. And it tends to be with specially really chronic pain, the issue in your fascia is deeper, we actually have to get quite a solid compression to get something to change. But because of the active movement, again, it’s not really qualified as a gate control theory, once you’re actively moving yourself

Steve Washuta : staying on that topic, more or less, in short term relief aspects. I’m going to read this statement, this is a this comes directly from you. Your sciatic is not a glute issue, it’s a pelvic rotation issue. So you can stop at the figure for stretches all day, every day, there’s a reason you’re not feeling significant or lasting relief from it. Explain that.

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, so I think we’ve covered the first of two main things that I do with people or how I help them. So one is learning how to release fashion and the most effective way we can. But the second one is where you release fascia matters, because unfortunately, where you feel pain is almost never the problem. And so sciatic is a perfect example where that pain is in your glute, it’s radiating down the back of your leg.

Julia Blackwell : And so as is totally natural, and understandable, we’re like, oh, this has got to be a problem with my glute. And so you stretch your glute, you stretch your hamstring. And yeah, doing those figure four stretches all day. But there’s a reason that you have to keep doing those, and you’re not seeing a whole lot of improvement.

Julia Blackwell : What I tend to find is somewhere else in the fascia is, let’s call it like a crumpled up all plastic wrap, right, something that’s kind of shrink wrap into this crumpled a ball of plastic wrap. And that may be in a totally different area than where you’re feeling it. So a sciatic I tend to find the pelvis tends to be rotated forward on the side of pain, and then the hip is also down on the opposite side.

Julia Blackwell : So something I’ll often recommend is, hey, try releasing the quad on the same side as your pain to see if that releasing of the quad can help shift the hip back a little bit. And releasing the opposite side IT band can help put the hips in a more neutral place. And it’s honestly it can be pretty incredible at first where the pain just goes away.

Julia Blackwell : And the key is, and I think this is something we’re talking a little bit about off camera is if you want it to stay in that place, there definitely needs to be some strengthening that happens as well to keep everything in the right position. But mostly, again, really important. Understand, however frustrating it may be where you feel the pain is almost never the problem.

Julia Blackwell : So if you’ve been dealing with back pain, and you’re getting a massage on your back with no relief, it’s because it’s not your back. There’s something else happening in the fascia,

Steve Washuta : yeah, to share. And I think too, it does cause short term relief, and that sometimes that’s all what people are looking for. Right, you can get down on the ground, and do that figure four stretch I’ve had I’ve had clients too, who are pregnant, right? So the baby where the baby was sitting and how things were adjusted, right, we know what happens with hormones during during pregnancy.

Steve Washuta : So things loosen up, sitting in that figure four type position, just even sitting in a chair and crossing your leg over, took some of the pain away. But that doesn’t mean you’re really diagnosing the problem correctly. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna fix it long term. That’s just a that’s just a short term relief. And I think maybe it’s above people’s pay grades to go that extra step. But it’s good that people like you are there to make sure that this is this problem is taking care of long term.

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, you know, the body is so interconnected with fascia that if you have a problem that you’re managing, but it keeps coming back, if you’re not solving that root problem, you’re likely going to see more and more things start to happen down the line. So maybe it starts with sciatic.

Julia Blackwell : And then suddenly one of your knees is not feeling so great. Maybe you end up with plantar fasciitis on one of your feet. And we tend to think these are separate issues, but it’s actually just compensation, building on compensation, building on compensation.

Julia Blackwell : So while it certainly is maybe a bit more time consuming to find the root cause if you want to stay active and feel great as the older we get, finding those areas of fascia that need help, and finding the real cause of why we’re feeling pain or having a mobility problem is really imperative for vitality and longevity.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, and it’s not an easy thing to do, I will say so being I call them an anatomical Sleuth. People who can look at the body and know exactly where the pain is coming from. It takes a long time because it’s really difficult. Let’s say you have a knee problem.

Steve Washuta : Well is it maybe you have an ankle problem too? Is the ankle causing the knee? Is it the hip causing the knee? Is it the knee causing To hit right, like everything is interconnected. So if you have multiple points of multiple points where there’s an issue, it’s hard to diagnose all the time where that issue is stemming from, and is it the knee causing the hip or the hip causing the knee and the ankle? So I think sometimes it’s just what let’s try to fix them all.

Steve Washuta : But at the same time, it does take time. And sometimes it’s also you can you can add to this, but looking at somebody’s health history, and seeing what happens sometimes allows you to diagnose things better to not just looking at the body, right, taking a step back and going. Okay, we found that the Juliet was born with a shoulder problem. Okay, well, we have to take that into account because the shoulder could be causing the neck issue as opposed to the neck causing the shoulder issue.

Julia Blackwell : Oh, absolutely. Yeah. What kind of stress is in this person’s life on a day to day basis? How many things are they responsible for? How much sleep are they getting? But But sure, even accidents, you know, say 2030 years ago can absolutely be impacting what you’re feeling now. So unless you’ve had a really traumatic injury, something like a car accident, let’s say, fascia normally tightens pretty slowly, over time.

Julia Blackwell : And so once things start to shrink and become a little dehydrated, things start to take over. And we may not even realize that that’s what’s happening. So you know, a classic example of someone you know, who bent down one time to tie their shoe and they threw their back out, and it was this horrifying pain.

Julia Blackwell : And they’re like, all I did was just reach down to tie my shoe that one time, and it’s like, well, actually, it was likely hundreds of times that you were leaning down in this certain way, or these things had been tightening over time that there was just one day where your body’s like, I can’t do this anymore.

Julia Blackwell : Although something to keep in mind is our body signalling pain? I mean, it’s just that it’s a signal. And so it may or may not necessarily mean that there’s physical damage, it’s just your body saying like, hey, something is off, we don’t feel safe to go through this range of motion or to do this movement, whatever that thing is. And so understanding that it’s really our body’s not trying to hurt us, it’s trying to help us.

Julia Blackwell : So looking at that pain signal as a way of like, Hey, this is my invitation to start to really understand my body a little bit more and give it what it needs. I mean, I think that would be the epitome of health is, instead of trying to silence its messages and cover it up with cortisone shots, pain pills, what have you. Yeah, it’s just a really great opportunity to actually understand what your body needs, even if it takes a little bit of exploration.

Steve Washuta : You had another bit of I would call a a hot take when it concerns the IT band. And I find it interesting. For a long period of time. I heard so many different people in health and fitness industry blame things on the IP ban, things that have nothing to do with the IP ban.

Steve Washuta : It was just like an easy way out it sounded. sounded interesting. It’s like, oh, that must be an IT band issue. Right. And like it was like really overdiagnosed? Like there was some like iliotibial band syndrome or something, right? Everyone was like, Okay, how does one in six people have this syndrome? This is ridiculous.

Steve Washuta : So I think there are different ways to deal with it. And I look at how a physical therapist deals with it, how a personal trainer deals with it, how even a sports medicine doctor deals with it, how you’re going to deal with it. And I find it interesting that we might not have an exact perfect way to do it. Yeah, but I do want to get your take on what you think people overlook in this, how you describe it band issues, and what you think we should stay away from?

Julia Blackwell : Yes, it is. It is a big, big thing people are talking about that IT band syndrome. So So let’s think about the IT band for a minute. So it’s mostly fascia actually, it’s mostly connective tissue. fascia and connective tissue are interchangeable terms here. It’s a thick, dense band of connective tissue that attaches our hip to our knee.

Julia Blackwell : Its main role is to stabilize both our hip and our knee, mostly through well, both lateral motion and a bipedal movement, like running or walking. So are, you know, you can think of the movement as like you’re riding a bike. So when we do that movement, let’s say there it van is like a bungee cord. It’s got a spring like quality to it. And it needs to be able to slide and move as we’re going through this, this cycle type of motion.

Julia Blackwell : So that IT band will slide over the quad a little bit and even over the hamstring a little bit as it’s moving through that motion. And so the issue I’m seeing is the tibia and can’t be lengthened. It’s very much like a leather belt. And so when people start rolling up and down on the roller, in an attempt to lengthen it like they’re rolling out dough or something.

Julia Blackwell : Because The IT Man is not actually going to lengthen sometimes it confuses the brain of like, Oh no, I don’t want this any longer anyways, because then my hip and my knee are not going to be stabilized and so it might feel temporarily loose but it’ll tighten back up. Sometimes I’ve seen it tightens up even more than it was before. From that signal of the brain being like, oh, no, I don’t want any space, let’s say in this area, I need to be stable so that I can support the hips and the knees.

Julia Blackwell : Now, what I typically teach is you can lay on your it bend with the roller, but instead of rolling up and down with the grain of the IT band, we stay in one place. And instead we bend and straighten the knee, or we bend the knee and rock the heel up and down, or we’re now getting that cross vibrating effect.

Julia Blackwell : And what what will actually do is unstick the IT band from the quad and the hamstring, which is likely the reason you have that feeling to begin with is it’s not that your IT band is too short, it’s that while it’s supposed to be gliding over the quad and the hamstring as it moves. factually speaking, it might be adhered to something else.

Julia Blackwell : So number one would be how are you releasing it? Because it may simply be an inefficient way? And then secondarily, my question is always, Well, is it on one side? Because why do you have it on one side and not on the other side? And then you have to back up again and look at the whole body and say, well, is the pelvis rotated or the hips shifted is an ankle pronated.

Julia Blackwell : You know, I think we’ve gotten so good at at science and research, we’ve been able to go down to such an intricate level with each ligament doing these specific functions, or the this type of cell does these specific functions that we forget to back up and realize, we can’t look at the body piece by piece like that, ultimately, we have to look at the body as a whole system.

Julia Blackwell : Because there’s no way that we can have one part of our body be really unhealthy and have it not be affecting everything else. So typically with it man syndrome, especially if you only have it on one side, I would absolutely be looking to, you know, pelvic rotation or anything else nearby that could be affecting that.

Steve Washuta : What I’ve seen in this kind of leads into my next question of pain here is it’s not really like, you know, connects down to the lateral distal distal part of the femur. It’s not there, it’s up near the hip, where if clients are rolling out, they struggled, they feel something, they given out an owl, right? They feel pain up there.

Steve Washuta : Do you think you can speak to this specifically, but in general, it’s like, okay, if I feel pain in a particular area, where maybe it’s my rhomboids? Who knows where my calf? Does that mean? Okay, this needs some sort of fascial release pain equals fascial issue, is it? Is it that simple? Or I mean, nothing seems to be that simple. But But would you say in most instances, if you feel pain somewhere, it probably does need some fascial work?

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, I think we’re really going to simplify and really going to simplify. Yes, so healthy fascia doesn’t hurt when it’s compressed. So if you’re feeling a lot of sensation, when you get on that spot, I certainly would say, start there. There can be neurological tightening, which is a little bit more complicated, where the fascia may not necessarily be tight.

Julia Blackwell : But the brain is telling that muscle to fire to make sure that you your spine or your hips can stay stable. And that’s where it might get a little bit more complicated with the question of like, well, where’s actually the issue that’s causing the brain to fire this muscle and not let go. But ultimately, I would say yes, if you’re feeling a lot of sensation, when you compress an area, release it and see what happens.

Steve Washuta : We talked about this a little bit already, but you can maybe nail down to some key principles you’re thinking about here. If I were to go to the average person who considers themself also a myofascial release expert, but maybe in a more traditional setting, maybe someone who would have like a CEU course, for a personal trainer or something as opposed to going to you What do you think the principles are, that are different that you are trying to use with your clients? As far as whether it’s pain management or just technique?

Julia Blackwell : Um, I would say my my biggest differences again, there’s two things we talked about with how I’m releasing fascia is is a bit different. It’s more than compression or gliding along with the grain of the muscle. And also, absolutely, I’ve been forming pain patterns over the years on what things pull on what and results and a certain type of pain.

Julia Blackwell : So back in the day, when I was doing those hours for personal training, I took lots of courses that was like, oh, yeah, you know, someone has back pain, you know, stretch their back or stretch their hamstrings, and those are the last few places I would ever go these days with what I know about the, you know, the pulley system essentially we have in our body via the fascia.

Steve Washuta : Interesting. Well, I’d like to hear more about that, but we’re not going to get into that right now. I think that’s maybe a little bit too intricate and complex, maybe in around two but I want to take a step back to the toys use we we’ve mentioned foam roller.

Steve Washuta : We haven’t really mentioned anything else, maybe briefly, you did a ball. What are all the different toys. You don’t have to call them toys, instruments that you use When you’re working with your clients, what are ones that maybe are that you’d recommend that not a lot of people know about, and just explain sort of all the different instruments that one can use outside of a foam roller?

Julia Blackwell : Yeah, they’re pretty simple. So I, I definitely prefer a smooth, high density roller, I’m not particularly a fan of the ones with the big bumps on it. Sometimes it’s a little too intense, especially as we’re going through, you know, we’re going through this active movement. And we really want to grab the biggest chunk of fascia that we can.

Julia Blackwell : So I don’t think we’ve, we’ve touched on this, but in my office, when I’m working on people in my practice, I actually step on them. So I can press fascia with my foot and then talk people through that range of motion. And so instead of my foot doing the compressing a smooth foam roller is similar, we want to get that big surface area so that we can grab all of those layers down as deep as we can go.

Julia Blackwell : And then I’ve got a couple of different sizes of like massage balls, I’ve got one that’s just essentially a lacrosse ball. I’ve got one that’s more of a softball size depending on the area, sometimes the lacrosse balls just a little bit too intense and targeted. And then I have one squishy, more squishy ball. It’s from rad roller, it’s called the center ball. I know the competent.

Julia Blackwell : And that when I use for more core work because we don’t want to use anything that’s super hard when we’re working around our organs. So that one’s got a little bit more give to it. But I really love all those there. There’s some you know, they’re pretty simple.

Julia Blackwell : Honestly, sometimes the simplest things give us give us the best results. I’m not sure if I have anything overly fancy. I’m trying to look around my my room. I have so many tools in here. But yeah, they’re mostly just something with a grippy grippy surface so that we can grab that tissue. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : I’ve used the all the RAD roller equipments. I love the balls and the different densities and sizes, they go from as small as like smaller than a golf ball to, you know, as big as a tennis ball. And there’s different densities. I personally don’t love their version of a roller.

Steve Washuta : I like how easy it is to use where there’s a handle on it, but it’s super hard. It’s like really dense. It’s like hard plastic. So when you’re rolling out, let’s say your back, and you’re putting all that pressure on it to me it’s there’s there’s just there’s too much pain. I can’t I can’t take my time to find what’s going on. Because it’s just it’s too hard. Yeah, I

Julia Blackwell : I mean, I agree as much as I love all of the red rounds and the center ball I yeah, I don’t usually use something that hard. You know, friendly reminder that no change can happen in our body without the nervous system saying that it’s okay. So it’s really not about beating your body into submission and like How Hard Can I compress this area, you know, and push down on it and just, you know, make it super intense, you actually may not get as far as you think you will with that kind of intensity.

Julia Blackwell : So being able to back off and stay somewhere around like a seven out of 10 is really where I would suggest people be when they’re rare. They’re really going after a spot. And so yeah, if if a lacrosse ball is too concentrated or something that’s hard plastic is up there at an eight or nine with the intensity, especially as you’re, you know, aiming to actively move back off, find something a little bit softer, wrap your ruler in a yoga mat, there’s a bunch of different things you can do to just bring down the intensity.

Steve Washuta : I try to ask some questions by putting myself in the I guess you call the general populations mindset, right? I’m looking through the lens of someone who knows nothing about this. I just listened to all this. And the question that I would have would be why don’t I just get a massage? Why do I need any of this? What is the difference? Can I just go to massage therapists on a regular basis? Why do I need to do my own sort of release? Are they not doing the same thing?

Julia Blackwell : Um, in my experience, no, it’s it’s not doing the same thing. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of research now showing more and more that, you know, fashion needs some different tactics than we’ve been used to thus far. I also would say, for an average person, and doing day to day activities, there’s very similar things that tend to get tight, right, we all sit too much. And so most of our hip flexor muscles are very short.

Julia Blackwell : We also tend to slouch so most of our chests and the front part of our neck muscles are very short and tight. And I guarantee when you’re going to a massage, you’re laying on your stomach for 75% of the time and they’re working on your posterior chain which I’m sorry my friends, like that’s not the problem.

Julia Blackwell : And so, if you’re still having back pain, you’re still having neck pain. It’s it’s actually coming from the other side of your body and so I would certainly say, you know, you could ask for different things during your massage. But, you know, ultimately, you’ve got to go to the right areas. And if you want it to stay, you’ve got to have some type of active movement involved.

Julia Blackwell : Otherwise, you know, you’ll, you’ll be going weekly for the rest of time. And if you have the funds, and you enjoy it, go for it. But again, it depends on what your goal is, if you’re really trying to find the root cause of your pain and get back to all these activities you love and just feel better as you’re doing life, then yeah, unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to cut it.

Steve Washuta : I think that’s a fantastic answer. And we will probably will end on that note, why don’t you give my listeners some information as to where they can find more about you if they are general population, and they have pain and they want to use you and contact you or if it is, maybe personal trainers for people in the health and fitness industry that want to go ahead and take one of your courses or ask you questions more along the scientific lines.

Julia Blackwell : Sure, I think the best place to go is my website, which is www dot movement by If you go to movement by, which I made for you guys, you listeners here.

Julia Blackwell : I have a free three day video series called unlock your hips, where you can try out some of the techniques that I’ve been alluding to. It’s hard to imagine them think when you’re listening instead of watching so if you want to try it out and feel the difference for yourself, you can head over there and try out some of my routines.

Steve Washuta : My guest today has been Julio Blackwell, thank you for joining the Trulyfit podcast.

Julia Blackwell : Thank you.

Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.

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