Fascia as a Sensory and Emotional Organ:

Implementing New Insights from Connective Tissue Research into Myofascial Treatment Practice


Course Description


Recent research indicates that the muscular connective tissues (fasciae) serve a more active role than previously assumed. This includes the capacity to regulate their stiffness independently from neuromuscular coordination, the role of fascia as a potential pain generator, and its role as our richest sensory organ for proprioception. In addition, new insights about an intricate connection between fascia and the autonomic nervous system as well as emotional aspects have become available.

These new perspectives offer valuable suggestions for practical clinical applications in working with post-traumatic stress disorders as well as other common aspects in musculoskeletal medicine. Dr. Robert Schleip, director of the Fascia Research Project of Ulm University in Germany, will review the most important insights from the field of fascia research related to this intriguing topic and will demonstrate practical translations into hands-on myofascial applications.

Course Objectives


Lectures will include:

  • Fascia as sensory organ: the basis for proprioception, the so called sixth sense.
  • Implications of the recent Nobel award – devoted to new insights about two interesting sensory receptors in the human body – for manual and movement therapists.
  • The four mechanoreceptor types in fasciae: Golgi-, Pacini-, Ruffini- and free nerve endings. Their preferred locations, mechanical sensitivity and expected physiological responses.
  • Implications of the recent Nobel award – devoted to new insights about two interesting sensory receptors in the human body – for manual and movement therapists.
  • Connection between fascial tonicity and the autonomic nervous system.
  • Fascia and interoception. Implications for post-traumatic stress disorders. Relative importance of predictive coding.
  • The new discovery of ‘pleasant deep touch’ as opposed to gentle caressing touch. New perspectives for supporting clients with autism spectrum symptoms or with attention deficit hyperactivity symptoms.
  • Embodiment and mindfulness with a fascial perspective.
  • Interactions between fascial fibroblasts, chronic sympathetic activation, and the immune system. Implications for fibromyalgia, depression, and the systemic regulation of the fascial microbiome.

Practical applications:

  • Golgi receptor stimulation: application for correction of shoulder protraction
  • Pacini stimulation: application to spinal facet joints and costovertebral junctions
  • Ruffini stimulation: application on upper trapezius, with downstream effects on vagal tonicity and heart rate variability
  • Mirror neurons and empathy: practical application with the CAKE technique (constructive anticipatory kinesthetic empathy)
  • Fascial techniques for the treatment of acute low back pain
  • Fascial techniques for the treatment of myofascial neck tension syndromes
  • Working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in the setting of a physiotherapeutic or movement educator environment
  • Inclusion of mindful micro movements of the patient during the hands‐on work.


This course has no specific prerequisites. Generally, a range of background knowledge and skills among students is expected and even productive. The course is intended for any hands-on and movement practitioners.

Accreditation Points 

This course is accredited by both Stichting Keurmerk Fysiotherapie and Kwaliteitshuis Fysiotherapie for 15 points.

Meet your Teacher

Robert Schleip PhD MA directs the Fascia Research Project of Ulm University in Germany. Having been a Rolfing instructor and Feldenkrais practitioner for over 20 years, he felt frustrated with the speculative nature of scientific explanations backing up most areas of current bodywork. When he entered the field of connective tissue science as an active laboratory researcher in 2003, he became so thrilled that he soon became one of the driving international forces in the newly emerging field of fascia research. His own research findings on active contractile properties of human fasciae have been honored with the Vladimir Janda Award of Musculoskeletal Medicine. He is research director of the European Rolfing Association, and co—initiator of the 1st Fascia Research Congress hosted at Harvard Medical School (Boston 2007) as well as the subsequent congresses.

Recommended Literature

Dr. Robert Schleip is the author of several books including:

He has also (co)authored hundreds of scientific publications. You can view them here.


This course is currently offered in:

View the course page to see all upcoming dates and locations.

Language of Instruction

This course is taught in English. 🇬🇧

Course planning

  • 08:30 - 09:00: Registration with coffee and tea


There are no courses planned at the moment.
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