Fascia (Tarot of Michelle)

Imperfect action beats perfect inaction.

The story of Fascia begins several years ago, with some sort of leg or knee injury that wasn’t resolving as quickly as it should. I’d tried all the usual things, and then some, such as Kinesio taping (which sort of helped and sort of didn’t). I was impatient, frustrated and uncomfortable, and open to suggestions.

A friend recommended a massage therapist who specialized in fascia massage. Fascia massage, as I learned, involves manipulating the fascia, or the thin sheath of tissue surrounding muscles. I admit, it sounded faddish to me. The fuzzy pseudo-science I read online didn’t help, and it didn’t make sense: if the fascia is such a thin layer, how could someone really manipulate that layer specifically? How can you even tell if the problem is in the fascia and not the muscle? But I was hurting, some people swore it made a difference, it probably couldn’t hurt, and I was game to give it a try.

The therapist was very pleasant, and I had a good session which felt exactly like a typical muscle massage. It did help, value was received, but it felt a bit anti-climactic, like I’d been deceived somehow, and the benefit wasn’t compelling enough for me to want to go back for more. What I learned from the experience is a bit fuzzy, like the vague explanations I read online.

It’s best to identify the root cause, if at all possible. This lesson was programmed into me during my technical support training. Was my discomfort in the muscle or the fascia? Was I treating the right thing?

But sometimes it is impossible to know the root cause. This is really difficult for me to accept. I want closure; I want to know why. When I fret about this, it comforts me to think of a former co-worker’s saying: “I can’t know.” “ ‘Don’t know’ implies that maybe I can do something to find out,” she said. “But sometimes I just can’t, and that shouldn’t reflect badly on me.”

In the absence of a root cause, try a solution that won’t do any further harm, or that seems to make things better. From what I’d read, a fascia massage couldn’t hurt, and would surely benefit me by also massaging the muscles beneath. Even if I was treating a symptom and not the cause, “imperfect action” would probably beat “perfect inaction” in this instance.

If I screw around too long trying to find the actual problem, I miss out on opportunities to make things at least partially better. So, try whatever seems to make a difference. Imperfect action beats perfect inaction.

And if it does make a difference? Great, I need to relax and accept it, without going down an endless rabbit hole of “why.” Perhaps the root cause will become known later. But in the meantime, there’s less pain. And we could all use less of that.

A story behind one of the cards in The Tarot of Michelle. Follow the developmental art as a Patron on Patreon.

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