Re-Aligning Fascia Treatment
by Ashley Black
Re-Aligning Fascia Treatment (RAFT)
Re-Aligning Fascia Treatment (RAFT) is the one component of Fasciology™ that tends to blow client’s mind, even though it’s actually a very simple concept. RAFT is the 24/7 awareness of total body alignment. I hesitate to use the word “alignment”, because it has a “Chiropractic” tone and a preconceived meaning to it. But what I define as alignment is having every joint – ankles, knees, hips, spine, scapula, shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers and toes, as well as the head, all in open joint, full range of motion alignment. Again, it sounds simple, but I can assure you that even in the highest level of professional sports, the most advanced fitness facilities and the best medical clinics, RAFT is not known and/or taught.
When re-aligning an individual, the overall effect on fascia is at the forefront. RAFT answers two vital questions 1. “How did I get this way?” and 2. “How do I stay corrected once corrected?” Fasciology™ teaches us that MFT and SFT improve the Structural Integrity and that Mechanical Integrity REINFORCES the work. RAFT is the most significant part of improving Mechanical Integrity. This is because fascia is all one piece, so being “pulled” in one location can affect other locations, and in extreme cases, the whole body. The blanket answer to “How did I get this way?” is that fascia is a reactionary system designed to “protect”, so when the body is misaligned, the fascia will constrict and eventually adhere. And the blanket answer for “how do I stay corrected once corrected?” is, one must stay in alignment.
RAFT is designed to change the way the nervous system sends the signal to the body to stabilize and move. I use the analogy of a computer and default settings to help describe this concept. No matter what you do to enhance a computer, ultimately the default settings override the little temporary changes. If you want to change everything about your computer from your home screen to your colors and icons, you have to change the default settings. The nervous system works the same way when creating “muscle memory.” Muscle memory is the muscles that the brain chooses to use to stabilize and move the body. Our muscle memory is our brain’s default setting. When our bodies are torqued, jammed, compressed, turned, rotated or unlevel, our muscle memory is set to holding and moving our bodies with these dysfunctions as our default settings, or as we like to call it… “normal”. So no matter what you do to “fix” your ailments or performance shortcomings, everything is done in your insufficient default settings. This is why injuries or shortcomings reoccur. We also compensate and put other places in our body at risk. RAFT reinforces NEW default settings, creating a new muscle memory for ALL stabilization and movement!
The nervous system is tricky. RAFT teaches the re-training in 4 stages.
Four stages defined by Black’s Fasciology™:
1) Scarecrow (the ability to be aligned and have proper muscle memory in non-moving positions with a static core: sitting, standing, sleeping, driving, laying down etc.) Note: If you cannot do basic things like standing still and sitting, then how in the world can you expect to exercise, play sports or even walk without COMPOUNDING the already present structural issues? I.C.E.® Foundation Exercises teach this.
2) Robot (the ability to be aligned and have proper muscle memory in single joint movement with a stable core; such as a bicep curl of leg extension) Note: Very few gym or rehabilitative programs REWIND to this stage, much less the Scarecrow stage. Your body cannot learn complex patterns BEFORE learning the simple ones. I.C.E.® Foundations teaches Scarecrow and Robot. So before you take off on a jog or play tennis or swing a golf club, you NEED to address your Scarecrow and Robot!
3) Cheetah (the ability to be aligned and have proper muscle memory in multi-joint multi-chain movement with a static core like a squat or running) Note: once you have rewired your nervous system to handle basic patterns that RESTORE functional movement, it is fairly easy to put these patterns together. I.C.E.® exercises can help you put together all the pieces of the puzzle. At this stage, all the injuries are gone and your body is learning how to take on more athletic activities.
4) Circus (the ability to be aligned and have proper muscle memory in multi chain movement with a moving stable core) Note: This is where you take your body to new levels. After conquering Scarecrow, Robot, and Cheetah, your body is ready to be pushed both structurally and mechanically. I.C.E.® Advanced can help push you to a level you never thought possible.
RAFT is the non-stop practice of remaining in alignment in every single daily activity. How much RAFT one needs depends on their daily activities. If one has a desk job and is not very active then they may only need Scarecrow and Robot. If one likes to surf, run, golf, lift weights and do workouts like Cross Fit and Insanity, then they need all 4. The KEY is that each step is sequential and must be understood and conquered before moving to the next. The muscle memory of the old default setting will take over in EVERY situation and the nervous system will not translate UNTIL a NEW pattern is “installed”. This is why RAFT is so POWERFUL…. think about it. If you have care providers adjusting, acupuncturing, massaging, injecting and medicating to make structural improvements, only to have them undone by poor muscle memory in the 4 phases then you are WASTING YOUR TIME and MONEY!!! OR if you have fitness facilities and performance facilities that COMPLETELY SKIP Scarecrow and Robot and jump straight into Cheetah and Circus, the nervous system will NEVER CHANGE by doing that. Our bodies learn to COMPENSATE even more. One thing you will hear over and over from Ashley Black is that “The best thing about the human body is that it has the ability to adapt, and the worst thing about the human body is that it has the ability to adapt!”
So the flip side, the Fasciology™ way is to CREATE Structural Integrity with MFT and SFT, and then REINFORCE with RAFT and the I.C.E.® Foundations Exercises. The Structural Integrity and Mechanical Integrity will be changed FOREVER. Both must be changed forever, because poor mechanical integrity can change the structure, and poor Structural Integrity can change mechanics. Take this concept in!! This is what makes Fasciology™ the solution time and time again where everything else falls short!