What is Connective Tissue?

Connective Tissue, abbreviated CT, is exactly what its name suggests: tissue that connects. It can be found amidst other tissues throughout the entire body – including the nervous system. In fact, the brain and spinal cord are all enveloped in Connective Tissue, making it one of the most important kinds of tissue in the body.

As we learned in massage school, our bodies are shaped by our Connective Tissue. If all of our other tissues were removed and CT remained, we would still retain our physical form “like an empty house after moving day.” For those more interested in the technical side of CT, its cells include adipocytes, fibroblasts, leucocytes, macrophages, and mast cells. I will leave the study of these particulars up to you.

Another important note about Connective Tissue: It is piezoelectric, which means that it conducts electrical energy throughout the entire body. But healthy Connective Tissue needs to, firstly and most importantly, connect the entire body. So, why can your CT stop functioning properly?

Problems with Connective Tissue

Because Connective Tissue is a viscous, pliable tissue, it becomes more fluid when it is warmed or when it experiences movement. Similarly, it becomes less fluid when it’s cold and inactive. So, if our body isn’t properly hydrated, if we’re too inactive, or if we perform too many repetitive movements, the tissue fibers that make up our CT will begin to bunch up and stick together. This is called “gluing,” and it can result from many different lifestyles; whether you’re an office worker or a busy mom, repeated movements (like typing on a keyboard or lifting a toddler) will cause decreased range of motion, muscle stiffness, and general discomfort. I further discuss repetitive movements and ways to change your habits in my blog post about Kinesthetic Awareness Movement.

Healing Effects

Connective Tissue Therapy (or CTT) is perfect for people who want to change their lifestyles in a variety of ways. Here are a few things Connective Tissue Therapy can do for you:

Aids in postural shifting or changing. If you want to change movement patterns that are causing you pain, CTT can help. We can work on improving your posture through making you aware of repeated, unhealthy motions.

Offers relief from chronic conditions. If you suffer from adhesions, splinting (muscle tension from trying to protect a previous injury), immobility, or stress, CTT can often provide some relief. Re-teaching your body to move in a healthier way can often begin a healing journey for chronic sufferers.

Increases your range of motion. As mentioned before, CTT can help support better balance and increase toning around your joints. With each bodywork session, we can change your habits and facilitate greater bodily movement.

Helps create inward focus. CTT, and many other kinds of massage, can help clients recognize their own inherent worth. By spending time focusing on rebuilding habits and seeking relaxation, both client and therapist can co-create a safe space for deep rejuvination and emotional change. This is part of why CTT can be so effective for stress-management.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, it’s my job as a therapist to help you understand what patterns are no longer serving you and your wellbeing. Connective Tissue Therapy can be an important step in generating a healthier, more fulfilled lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about Connective Tissue, CTT, or the other modalities I offer, feel free to contact me or bring it up at our next session.