Discover the wealth of knowledge and skills offered to you by our presenters at the British Fascia Symposium 2020.

*When you select your workshops/ parallel lectures for the breakout sessions, they are available on a first come, first served basis.

Main Stage

Jaap van der Wal: Keynote presentation

On the origin of fascia – The fascial system as the organization of the Inner tissue (Mesenchyme) providing Connectivity and Mobility, Tensegrity and Integrity

In the cacophony of ideas and concepts concerning the anatomy and function of ‘the fascia', that is the result of recent increased interest and research in the field, there is a growing need for a unanimous and scientific definition of the term 'fascia'. In this lecture about ‘fasciasophy’, the concept of fascia will be re-evaluated, and a new concept will be presented that is based upon a phenomenological, functional morphology of the embryonic germ layers in general and of the mesoderm in particular. The fascia will be introduced as "inner-fabric" or the "system of Innerness", thereby presenting a more organic and holistic idea of fascia as a matrix organ, which means that in the discussion about the definition of fascia, the quote from AT Still is taken seriously: "The soul of man with all the streams of pure living water seems to dwell in the fascia of his body”, as is his "triune man" (threefold image of the human body) concept.

Specialist Lecture

The architecture of the connective tissue in the Posture and Locomotion system as an often overlooked, functional parameter in the organization of proprioception – Island of compression floating in a sea of ‘dynaments’? 

Anatomy stands for the principle that one thinks of a body as a musculoskeletal system, composed of distinct structures and components. Research conducted by Dr van der Wal and colleagues at the University of Maastricht, revealed that connective tissue and muscle tissue have a functional architecture that goes beyond the classical anatomical order and, in fact, transcends the traditional anatomy of ligaments and muscles. This vision is in line with recent research that the active elements of the so-called ‘musculoskeletal system’ are directly connected by collagen connective tissue (Huijing, Vleeming, Myers, Wilke et al.  Jan Wilke, Gray’s Anatomy, 2015, Commentaries 1.7).  The functional differentiation of the mesenchyme, the first manifestation of fascia, shows that connective tissue has TWO functional aspects: connecting and separating. And so "the anatomy of fascia" makes way for "the functional architecture of the connective tissue". Looking at the latter rather than at the “anatomy” of fascia sheds better light on the organization of the ‘sense of motion’ (propriocepsis) and provides functional insight.

Connecting (T)issues: Latest news from the international research field with implications for manual and movement therapists

There is hardly any other tissue in the body whose investigation unites so many different professional disciplines and such a vast variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. While in the past researchers were mostly busy to confirm or ‘rediscover‘ fascial properties, which had already been known to many complementary therapists, recent months have revealed new insights and discoveries which have not been anticipated by most of us. With his unique background of having been a manual therapist for several decades and also knowing most of the current international fascia labs from the inside, Robert Schleip will give an overview of those new insights, which offer valuable new suggestions and questions for manual and movement therapist within the fascia field.


Fascia as a sensory and emotional organ

What do we know about the linkages between chronic emotional conditions and fascial architecture? How can we use these recent insights to influence limbic functioning via fascial stimulation? And how can we influence fascial stiffness by working with contextual and autonomic factors?  This workshop will consist of 50% theory and 50% practical applications, the latter of which will include instructions for hands-on myofascial manipulation as well as suggestions for different stretching and other movement orchestration.

David Lesondak

"You can’t change fascia". We hear, see, and read this a lot (especially on social media). And, while there are good arguments to be made for the primacy of the nervous system, or the BPS Model, and so on,  it’s important that we understand the underlying mechanisms behind fascial change. Are we actually remoulding the fascial network, or just giving it a series of nudges in the right direction? If so, how does that work? If fascia takes so long to change pathology , then how do we get such relatively quick results? And what is a palpatory pareidoilia? What do we mean when we talk about things?  Fasten your seat belt and put your laptop in the upright lock position. You won’t want to miss a second of this lecture.


The Sacrotuberous Ligament – A Force Transmission Powerhouse.   Linking many different planes of myofascial force transmission, the sacrotuberous ligament is a key area to treat for many people. In this workshop we will see how the sacrotuberous ligament affects the tensional relationship to other parts of the body, discover its role in conditions like low back pain, and most importantly learn how to accurately palpate, treat and release this vital structure.

Michelle Watson

Scratching beneath the surface -  preventing system lock-down

Most of the adults and children attending the clinic have chronic injuries to the nervous system such as spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, cerebral palsy and many others. Some of these conditions are called “progressive” and some are not. More often than not, there appears to be an extra set of complications present with “chronic disabilities”, compared with those who are still in the early phases of their condition.

The knowledge of how fascia connects and communicates with all of the other tissues has been instrumental in better understanding our particular clients. That said, it has been vital for us to know what passes through the fasciae and understand the many systems and specialised cells that can get caught up in a system that maybe trying to “lock-down". Our experience has been that beneath the surface there is often a person who has less damage to their systems than they first present. So, what is disguising the real picture? Is it just that time, shock and lack of treatment and movement can cause these additional complications? If so, are these chronic presentations preventable?

This lecture encourages and shares with those working clinically. A few clients have given permission to video their journeys, their everyday struggles and their responses to treatment over time, and how the latest knowledge of the interconnectivity of fascia can help unlock many of the systems of the body, systems that may have previously been inaccessible.


"Freedom from flexion"

Living on planet Earth means that we are constantly trying to keep up against gravity. Having our eyes at the front of our heads means that most of our everyday functions are in front of us and downwards. Inevitably this can give us an imbalance of forces through our bodies due to repetitive directions of motion into flexion and rotation. Over time this patterning can cause adaptations in our tissues and then discomfort, pain, injury, immobility and so on….

Join me for a practical, hands on workshop where we treat each other with our hands to find out where our main flexion drivers come from, and how to begin to find balance again through the head, spine and pelvis.

Jan Trewartha


As therapists, when working with our clients, do we follow the tissue or impose our demands, deciding where the tissue should be?

Demonstrating with case studies and videoed treatments, Jan will discuss the value of allowing the tissue to lead us, often into a depth of healing that can surprise us.

Julian Baker, Sue Hitzmann and Til Luchau - The Pain Panel

Three of the top experts in pain discuss the thorny issue of pain in particular relation to Fascia.  Join them for a fascinating session with the opportunity for Qs and As.

Feel like getting involved