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Dynamic Chiropractic – December 3, 2007, Vol. 25, Issue 25

Fascia a Hot Topic at Harvard

By Warren Hammer, MS, DC, DABCO

On Oct. 4-5, 2007, Harvard Medical School hosted the first conference on the subject of fascia.

Conference organizers were pleasantly surprised by the numbers in attendance and overall interest in the event.

Approximately 750 people from 28 countries attended, representing all of the disciplines interested in soft tissue, including chiropractors, osteopaths, medical doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists and structural-integration practitioners (rolfers). Many were actually turned away due to the lack of space.

Main sessions were shown via delayed video transmission at dozens of international viewing sites on five different continents. The top scientists in the world who have contributed to the scientific literature on fascia and connective tissue were present. Included as main speakers were two research chiropractors: Geoffrey Bove, DC, PhD, who spoke on "Epi-Perineurial Anatomy, Innervation and Nociceptive Mechanisms," and Partap Khalsa, DC, PhD, who spoke on "Joint Capsule Proprioceptive and Nociceptive Mechanisms." Warren Hammer, DC, MS, and Mark Pfefer, DC, RN, MS, displayed poster presentations titled "Subacute Lumbar Compartment Syndrome: Treatment by Graston Technique" and "The Effect of Mechanical Load on Degenerated Soft Tissue."

A few other presenters who might be familiar to the chiropractic world included Donald Ingber MD, PhD ("Tensegrity and Mechanoregulation"); Helene Langevin MD ("Dynamic Connective Tissue Fibroblast Cytoskeletal Response to Tissue Stretch and Acupuncture"); Frank Willard PhD ("Fascial Continuity: Four Fascial Layers of the Body"); Andry Vleeming PhD ("Anatomical and Biomechanical Considerations of Fascia"); Moshe Solomonow PhD ("Ligaments as a Source of Musculoskeletal Disorders"); and Serge Gracovetsky PhD ("Is the Lumbodorsal Fascia Necessary?").

One of the problems with the study of fascia is that in the past, it has received little scientific attention, "since this tissue is so pervasive and interconnected that it easily frustrates the common ambition of researchers to divide it into a discrete number of subunits which can be classified and separately described."1 In most anatomy textbooks, the fascia is usually removed so that the muscles, bones, organs, nerves and blood vessels can be seen. Fascia, due to its ubiquitous presence in the body, has been of great interest to the world of musculoskeletal healing. In the past three years, there have been more inquiries in the number of Medline articles with the term fascia than in the sum total of the preceding years.1

For additional details regarding the 2007 International Fascia Research Conference, visit


  1. Findley TW, Schleip R. Fascia Research: Basic Science and Implications for Conventional and Complementary Health Care. Elsevier, Urban & Fischer: Munich, Germany, 2007.

Click here for more information about Warren Hammer, MS, DC, DABCO.

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