Fascia Research Congress a “Landmark Event”

The First International Fascia Research Congress, held Oct. 4–5 at Harvard Medical School, was the first meeting dedicated to fascia in all its forms and functions. With more than 30 presentations and panels from the world’s top fascia researchers, the crowd was filled with both touch therapists and scientists. Approximately 650 people from 28 countries attended.

This gathering brought researchers and clinicians together to learn from each other. The two-day meeting presented the latest basic scientific findings about fascia. Additionally, researchers started hearing the questions massage therapists ponder every day. This culminated with a Clinician Scientist Dialogue Panel, where fascia experts posed questions to researchers.

“This was the first time an audience of clinicians has been able to listen first-hand to a stellar collection of researchers presenting the rich field of the mechanical properties of fascia,” said Thomas Myers, an author and director of Kinesis, Inc. “Although we’re both climbing the same mountain, it will be some time before we join hands at the summit.

“In this first congress, clinicians learned how scientists ask specific questions and go about finding answers,” Myers continued. “Researchers learned what questions the clinicians are exploring in their daily practices. It will take some years for this meeting to bear fruit, but in the meantime, both sides of the equation were enriched.”

Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., who is editor of the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, called the congress a landmark event. “Out of this will emerge, without doubt, a greater awareness amongst therapists and practitioners of what fascia is and does—and that, it seems, is even more amazing than we imagined—and, as a result, a wider collaboration with mainstream medical health-care providers and educators,” he said.

When asked what he’d like to see in the next congress, Chaitow added, “The few weaknesses in the Boston event included the absence of clear indications, by a few presenters, as to the clinical relevance of their research. This can easily be remedied at the next congress in Amsterdam.”

Erik Dalton, Ph.D., director of the Freedom From Pain Institute, said, “Although the ligament-strain studies and myofibroblast research was extremely enlightening, I look forward to the inclusion of research studies on fascial innervation at the next convention.”

Organizers are already working on ways to help facilitate the communication between clinicians and researchers at the Second International Fascia Research Congress, a three-day event scheduled to be held at Vrije University in Amsterdam in 2009.

If you missed this year’s congress, you can still access 16 full-text articles, as well as abstracts and a DVD set of the plenary sessions, at

—Bethany Ward