Does fascia hold memories?

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Apr;18(2):259-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.11.010. Epub 2013 Nov 9.


The idea that tissues may possess some sort of memory is a controversial topic in manual medicine, calling for research and clinical exploration. Many bodyworkers, at some point in their practice, have experienced phenomena that may be interpreted as representing a release of memory traces when working on dysfunctional tissues. This feeling may have been accompanied by some type of sensory experience, for the therapist and/or the patient. In some cases, early traumatic experiences may be recalled. When this happens, the potency of the memory may be erased or eased, along with restoration of tissue function. Hence the questions: can memories be held in the fascia? And: are these memories accessible during manual fascial work? Modern research has proposed a variety of different interpretations as to how memory might be stored in soft tissues, possibly involving other forms of information storage not exclusively processed neurologically (Box 1).

Keywords: Bodywork; Fascial contraction; Fascial mechanisms; Fascial release; Fascial treatment; Tissue memory.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Fascia / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic / methods*
  • Microtubules / metabolism