What’s the big deal with the British Fascia Symposium themes this year? And why attend?


It’s British Fascia Symposium time again – where did the time go? Every two years we put on this big, informative event for the fascia-fascinated community. It used to be in-person, and was great fun, but if you couldn’t get on a plane to the UK you couldn’t join in. Now we appear like magic on your screen at home and for a fraction of the cost you can join us, but without the in-person experience – swings and roundabouts, I guess!

So, being all about connection – after all, that’s what fascia does and we always emulate what we admire – we try to make the two-dimensional experience as much of a 3D one as possible. We use the easy-to-navigate Whova app where people can:

a. Chat to anyone else attending and even have a text conversation with any of the speakers

b. Share resources on the Community Noticeboard

c. Grab a breakout room at any time and catch up with friends, or network with new contacts.

In 2022 our delegates loved this, plus our tech support team is always available to help you out if you have any questions.

This year, rather than just introduce a whole lot of speakers on random topics, we have created four themes: The New Anatomy, Working with Light Touch, Scars and Adhesions, and Movement is Therapy. The overarching aim behind the whole event is to translate some of the overkill of knowledge that constantly floods in on the subject of fascia, into what you as hands-on therapists or movement educators need to know to help your clients. Things are changing so quickly that it can be really confusing, but what we all need to understand is:

a. We absolutely need to know about fascia – it is the 21st century so let’s move out of the dark ages!

b. Many of the ways we used to look at the body are now redundant. Based on archaic understanding, they are now being updated. Are we going to continue to practise or teach by parroting the old ways, or are we going to inform ourselves and stay ahead of the pack?

c. This new understanding is exciting – for us and for our clients. It may seem challenging and even counter-intuitive at first, but when our clients start to respond to a lighter touch accurately applied, or to micro-movements instead of pain-inducing stretches, the truth speaks for itself. Where do you want to be in your practice?

So, what have these four themes got in common? Well, when I started thinking about what BFS ’24 needed to get over to our community, Movement is Therapy was right there at the top. For too long movement has been considered an adjunct to ‘proper’ therapy – and I’m as guilty as the next person for keeping it in that place, mentally, for too long. So for me that theme was a given!

I’m a scars and adhesions specialist, so if Movement is Therapy, how could we talk about that without conveying the issues that scarring, fibrosis, in fact any injury could create within the body and how they could affect functionality and movement? OK, so we definitely had to have a section on Scars and Adhesions and it had to come before the movement section!

But, if we’re talking about working with scars, look how things have changed! As a State Registered Nurse, I was taught to ‘knuckle’ a scar, i.e. get the patients to put their knuckles into a scar to break it down. Whoah! Imagine doing that to a tender mastectomy scar, or post prostate surgery! These days, a light touch approach is being shown to be far more effective, so we needed to look at the research and the practical examples of Working with Light Touch – another theme!

But before we work with light touch, with its inherent connection to fascial continuity, the translation of forces through the tissues to the cell that is mechanotransduction, etc., don’t we need to understand the changes in how we view the body now? The New Anatomy was born as the first, introductory theme for BFS ’24.

Not only four vital topics covered by a total of 14 presenters who are all leaders in their field, but of course we needed a Discussion Panel for each theme. And that is what constitutes this year’s British Fascia Symposium! Plus, we couldn’t resist bringing in two bonus sessions on Saturday 22nd June, where you can discuss thoughts that have come up during the symposium, with two top hosting teams:

  1. Firstly, we have Embodied Biotensegrity, hosting a discussion on biotensegrity, with guests Leonid Blyum, Mariana Barreto and Graham Scarr from our contingent of speakers, plus Susan Lowell de Solzarno, author and biotensegrity specialist.
  2. Secondly, we have exercise and movement specialists Lisa Babiuk and Elizabeth Dare Andes hosting a session on Freeing Efficient Movement using Light Touch.

The aim of these two sessions is to give you a forum to air your questions to people who know their work intimately. These bonus forums are only open to BFS ticket holders and are free to attend = all part of this brilliant event.

We think this is a fabulous agenda for anyone into fascia who wants to develop and hone their skills and understanding. And if you’re not ‘into’ fascia – yet – isn’t it time to understand this fascinating tissue and the implications of our expanding knowledge-base around it?

See you there!


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Jan Trewartha

Jan is the founder and director of the British Fascia Symposium and The Fascia Hub. She has been in healthcare since 1979, originally training as a State Registered Nurse in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), working with patients on the wards and in the operating theatre; a superb if non-deliberate foundation for her future career as a specialist in scars and adhesions.

In 1988 she was taught by a blind massage therapist to really ‘feel’ the body, leading to a lifetime passion for body work. Jan was a massage volunteer at the Auckland Commonwealth Games where she learned from professionals from all modalities. Her work now is the culmination of many years of training and experience in different disciplines. Through her school, Body in Harmony Training, Jan runs a variety of light touch therapy courses, including Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork, for which she was the first accredited tutor in the UK.

To learn more about Jan please visit her website: https://www.bodyinharmony.org.uk/.

Jan is also the co-editor and lead author of the book Scars, Adhesions and the Biotensegral Body, published by Handspring Publishing in May 2020.

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