It’s all about the fascia!
Fascia [fash-ee-uh]: a band or sheet of connective tissue fibers, primarily collagen, that forms beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and connect muscles, ligaments and other internal organs.
I’ll be the first to admit that 6 months ago, I had never even heard the word before. That was until our ageless goddess, Dr. Christiane Northrup, ran upstairs to her bedroom to change into workout clothes following our Best Self Magazine cover shoot. You see, Dr. Northrup was literally giddy with excitement to share the work of Bob Cooley, and before I knew it she had me down on the floor stretching and contorting my limbs.
So – what does fascia have to do with it all anyway? If you have a pet, you’ll quickly realize they are already totally hip to the jive. Have you witnessed how your cat or dog will take pause and indulge in a downward dog-style stretch before doing anything else? Take note.
This is the world according to Bob Cooley, founder of Genius Flexibility, with locations in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Boston, and soon, NYC.
The fascia is the connective tissue which sheathes your muscles and organs, an otherwise unremarkable (and often overlooked) element of our anatomy. But during a session with Bob Cooley, I learned that the fascia holds far more value, and we are only at the beginning stages of unlocking its enormous potential to utterly transform our lives. Fascia may be a physical component of our being, but it is also deeply connected to all aspects of our lives – our mind, our emotions and our soul.
In general, we accept this notion that scar tissue develops as a result of some type of physical trauma; however, have you ever considered that we additionally build up emotional, psychological, and even spiritual trauma? These traumas can create scar tissue in the fascia, which accrues throughout our lives.
This scarring impairs the functioning of our internal immune and endocrine systems, which can lead to pain, incomplete healing, and even constrained thought patterns. The good news? It’s possible to breakdown and even eliminate fascial scar tissue, thus facilitating incredible, and permanent, gains in pain relief, injury recovery, athletic performance, and physiological and mental functioning – even improving upon pre-trauma levels.
I’ve experienced it firsthand. And so have the kings, princes, CEO’s, celebrities, Olympic athletes and other folk who have walked through Cooley’s doors, seeking a different solution to their physical limitations, addictions, viral afflictions, artistic blocks and more. Recently, even Oprah joined his legion of devout followers (you can read more in the January 2016 issue of Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com).
What makes Cooley an expert? Years of on-the-job training, being his own guinea pig.
When faced with the limitations of traditional therapies following a brutal accident as a young man, he was forced to find his own solutions to repairing his shattered body. He astonishingly survived after being struck on foot by a car traveling 70 mph, but was left with a decades-long quest to restore his physical, psychological and spiritual health. And while he eventually achieved a high level of fitness, his body was not fully functioning until he stumbled upon the concept of Resistance Flexibility (RF).
While I won’t pretend to properly convey the nuances of RF, the essence is this: When a muscle is being stretched under resistance, the muscle reflexively contracts and the fascia resists, re-orients itself, and scar tissue breaks down, to be later eliminated by the body’s lymphatic and vascular systems. The result is a deep, therapeutic stretching of the muscles and connected tissues, with improved flow of energy along the body’s meridians, increased flexibility, elimination of pain, and higher functioning of the brain – yes, it not only changes how you feel, but can shift how you think.
Bob will release Cooley’s Resistance Flexibility 1.0 on January 15th, 2016, wherein he explores his theories and techniques in detail. Further, he has studied the genetic origins of his findings, and has created an archetypal map of human biology, which he explains in a forthcoming book entitled The 16 Geniuses – Sixteen Personality Types 1.0 to be released March 30th, 2016.
As I enter the Boston Center, I am greeted by Cooley and a team of enthusiastic, youthful trainers. The vibe is more communal than I had envisioned – not only do the trainers methodically circulate among clients, the clients are occasionally called upon to help stretch one another. Organic, healthful foods emerge from the kitchen, Bob is wearing organic cotton, and the center itself has been eco-renovated. His building in Santa Barbara is the greenest in the city. These are the values he brings to his practice – mindfulness, self-respect, and environmental consciousness, clearly weaving them throughout the very tenets of his business.
I am treated to a few stretching sessions – by one, two, or at times three trainers at once.
When I finally stand, my body experiences a profound shift, after even a short session.
I stand taller, feel lighter – almost gravity-defying, and pesky pains that I have become so accustomed to on a daily basis, simply dissolve away. My mind feels open and alert. I see before me new possibilities on myriad levels.
Beside me lays one of Cooley’s regular clients, a world-renowned geneticist, who was thrown from an ATV and suffered a near-fatal fall down 15 feet of boulders. Three months later, completely defying the predictions of her medical community, she is slowly walking again – she attributes her recovery to the 4 years of prior RF work, which kept her body in optimal health, and the focused protocol the team has been administering since her accident.
There are no shortages of similar stories – and Cooley’s ambitions are nothing, if not audacious: He aims to create a sort of utopia where people can immerse in pure foods, unblocked thinking, and physical wholeness – and create lasting, healing impact for themselves and the world at large.
Though I have only experienced the tip of the iceberg, I can see what all the fuss is about. There is no wonder Dr. Northrup (and Oprah) are so excited about the transformative nature of this work. Bob Cooley is a man on a mission, and the vision of The Genius of Flexibility is spreading like wildfire – primarily because it works, while awakening a profoundly empowering concept: We can heal ourselves – often in spite of ourselves, and with a little help from others.
To learn more about Bob Cooley and Genius Flexibility, visit thegeniusofflexibility.com.
[Within the site is a membership portal which contains over 200 streaming instructional videos and photos, full-length classes, energy flow series, personalized flexibility test, interactive muscular/meridian maps, online support forums, and much more. Use this code for a free month’s subscription, with no commitment: onefree]