top of page

Fascial Expansion: MSR Hip Pain Protocol

Updated: Mar 9

Fascial Expansion the Hip

Fascial expansions provide a powerful tool in treating hip pain, drawing on our current scientific understanding of the fascia's role in connecting various elements within the body. We forge a comprehensive method by combining this approach with the principles of Soft Tissue Manipulation, Kinetic chain relationships, and aspects of traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture. This article explores the fascinating integration of fascial layers with acupuncture points GB30, GB29, and GB34.

These techniques should be paired with soft and osseous manipulations alongside a thoughtfully planned set of functional exercises for optimal healing. These insights on fascial expansion form an integral part of Dr. Abelson's Motion Specific Release courses, contributing to a holistic and evidence-based approach to health.

Article Index:


Fascia: A Dynamic Interconnected System

Fascia Defined: Fascia is more than a mere sheath of connective tissue; it's an interconnected network that adapts its structure and density to meet local tensional demands. When balanced and functioning optimally, fascia's role is paramount in distributing forces throughout the body, enabling us to store and release energy needed for movement. Conversely, an imbalance, hypertensive condition, or restriction in fascial tension can lead to multiple dysfunctions, becoming a hindrance rather than a support system.

Bodyworks Image

Fascial Planes and Their Connection to the Hip

The complexity and integrity of fascial planes have significant implications on hip function. They can be addressed and fine-tuned through various methodologies, including acupuncture and hands-on manipulations encompassing soft tissue and skeletal procedures. The interplay of fascial planes in the hip is not just a matter of mechanics but an intricate relationship that demands thoughtful consideration. Here are the primary regions that require attention:

1. Gluteal Fascia:

  • Structure: Encloses gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata muscles, connecting the thoracolumbar fascia to the fascia lata.

  • Relation to Hip Pain: The balance and coordination facilitated by the gluteal fascia are vital for proper hip function. Dysfunction or restriction can lead to imbalanced forces, potentially causing or contributing to hip pain.

2. Gluteus Medius Fascia:

  • Structure: This thin connective layer allows gliding between the gluteus medius and maximus muscles, merging distally with the gluteus maximus fascia.

  • Relation to Hip Pain: Since it forms part of the iliotibial tract and connects to major hip structures, inflammation or restriction in this fascia can directly affect hip alignment and movement, leading to pain or discomfort.

3. Piriformis Fascia:

  • Structure: A thin but firm layer adhering to the piriformis muscle, extending laterally to cover the gluteus minimus, associating with sacral and sciatic nerves.

  • Relation to Hip Pain: Dysfunction here can contribute to piriformis syndrome, a common cause of hip pain. This fascia's relationship with the sciatic nerve also means that disturbances can lead to sciatica, often experienced as radiating hip pain.

4. Iliopsoas Fascia:

  • Structure: A continuation of the transversus abdominis muscle fascia that covers iliopsoas and quadratus lumborum muscles, connecting to various body parts.

  • Relation to Hip Pain: Since the iliopsoas fascia is integral to the function of core and hip muscles, imbalance or restrictions in this fascia can alter hip biomechanics. This may contribute to hip pain, particularly in movements that engage the core and hip flexors.

These insights enhance our understanding of how various fascial structures within the hip region relate to hip pain. It is a complex interplay where even minor imbalances or restrictions can have a pronounced effect on hip function, potentially leading to discomfort or chronic issues. This knowledge underscores the importance of a comprehensive and nuanced approach to diagnosing and treating hip pain, considering the multifaceted roles of fascia in movement and stability.


Acupuncture and Fascial Integration

Acupuncture and Fascial Integration in Hip Pain Management

Acupuncture is more than just a technique rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); it represents a convergence of ancient wisdom and modern understanding of the body's interconnected systems. This practice transcends mere point stimulation by incorporating insights into fascial planes, providing a cohesive approach to managing hip pain.

Acupuncture Points: Acupuncture points or acupoints are unique locations identified in TCM as pathways for energy flow called "Qi" (pronounced "chi"). These points are part of meridians or channels that crisscross the body.

  • Traditional Understanding: Stimulating acupoints can restore balance, regulate Qi flow, alleviate pain, and promote healing, according to TCM.

  • Modern Insights: Research has shown that acupoints correspond to areas rich in nerve endings, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and increased electrical conductivity. This alignment may lead to physiological responses, such as endorphin release and blood flow regulation.

Integration with Fascial Planes: Understanding fascial planes brings depth to acupuncture's effectiveness in managing hip pain:

  • Fascial Connectivity: Fascia's interwoven tissue network connects various body parts. This connectivity is mirrored in acupuncture's meridian system, showing an uncanny resemblance between the two.

  • Pain Relief: Acupuncture's influence on fascial planes can release tension and promote balanced tension throughout the body, which is essential for hip functionality. Thus, acupuncture may directly impact hip pain by addressing underlying fascial restrictions.

Acupuncture Techniques: Beyond mere insertion, acupuncture needles are skillfully manipulated through rotation and gentle pulling to elicit a tissue response, known as a tug response. This act is believed to activate the nervous system and release fascial tension, bridging ancient acupuncture with a modern understanding of interconnected tissue.

Specific Acupuncture Points for Hip Pain:

In the context of hip pain, acupuncture points GB30, GB29, and GB34 are often used. These points are typically identified using the Chinese measurement unit "cun," employed in acupuncture to pinpoint locations on the body. One cun is approximately the width of the patient's thumb at the knuckle, 1.5 cun matches the combined width of the index and middle fingers, and 3 cun is equivalent to the width of the patient's four fingers when placed together.

GB30 (Huantiao):

GB30 (Huantiao):

  • Location: Positioned at the junction where the hip meets the thigh. Specifically one-third of the way along a line connecting the sacral hiatus to the greater trochanter of the femur.

  • Traditional TCM Function and Hip Pain Treatment: Known as the "Jumping Circle" in TCM, GB30 is often utilized for treating sciatica and hip pain by encouraging the smooth flow of Qi and blood in the Gallbladder meridian. Its stimulation is believed to clear blockages, thus alleviating pain and improving mobility in the hip region.

GB29 (Juliao)

GB29 (Juliao):

  • Location: Situated at the hip joint, specifically in the depression anterior to the greater trochanter of the femur.

  • Traditional TCM Function and Hip Pain Treatment: Referred to as "Squatting Bone Hole" in TCM, GB29 is used to clear dampness and cold that may accumulate in the Gallbladder meridian, causing stiffness and pain. By targeting GB29, acupuncturists aim to restore flexibility and alleviate hip pain, particularly when associated with arthritis or other inflammatory hip ailments.

GB34 (Ju Liao)

GB34 (Ju Liao):

  • Location: Positioned on the outer aspect of the leg, below the knee in a depression anterior and inferior to the head of the fibula.

  • Traditional TCM Function and Hip Pain Treatment: Known as "Yang Mound Spring" in TCM, GB34 is a vital point for treating musculoskeletal issues, especially around the hip region. It is the influential point for tendons and ligaments and is used to soothe the Gallbladder meridian, reducing tension, inflammation, and stiffness in the hip area. Its stimulation promotes the smooth flow of Qi and nourishes the tendons, providing relief for hip pain and improving the overall functionality of the hip joint.

Fascial Expansion Demonstration

MSR Fascial Expansion Demonstration

Utilizing fascial expansions in Hip pain management presents an effective strategy that merges contemporary insights in fascia, kinetic chain relationships, and core principles of acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine. In this video, Dr. Abelson, the Motion Specific Release (MSR) developer, demonstrates using fascial expansions to treat Hip Pain.


Yoga Stretch

Conclusion - MSR Hip Pain Protocol

Hip pain, a multifaceted problem many encounter, finds a nuanced solution in the integrated approach of fascial expansions, kinetic chain relationships, soft tissue manipulation, and acupuncture. This confluence of ancient wisdom and modern scientific understanding provides a holistic method for managing and alleviating hip pain:

  • Fascia's Role: The importance of fascia as a dynamic interconnected system cannot be overstated. It is not merely structural support but a complex network that responds to the body's needs, affecting mobility, stability, and pain in the hip region.

  • Acupuncture and Fascial Integration: Blending acupuncture principles with an understanding of fascial planes presents an innovative path for hip pain treatment. Specific acupuncture points like GB30, GB29, and GB34 embody this synergistic approach, bridging TCM with a modern comprehension of body mechanics.

  • Holistic Treatment Approach: Integrating various methodologies, including soft and osseous manipulations, functional exercises, and insights from traditional Chinese medicine, fosters a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to health. This method respects the intricate interplay of different body components, considering not just the symptoms but the underlying causes of hip pain.



Dr. Brian Abelson

Dr. Abelson's approach to musculoskeletal health care reflects a deep commitment to evidence-based practices and continuous learning. In his work at Kinetic Health in Calgary, Alberta, he integrates the latest research with a compassionate understanding of each patient's unique needs. As the Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems developer, he views his role as both a practitioner and an educator, dedicated to sharing knowledge and techniques that can benefit the wider healthcare community. His ongoing efforts in teaching and practice aim to contribute positively to the field of musculoskeletal health, with a constant emphasis on patient-centered care and the collective advancement of treatment methods.



Revolutionize Your Practice with Motion Specific Release (MSR)!

MSR, a cutting-edge treatment system, uniquely fuses varied therapeutic perspectives to resolve musculoskeletal conditions effectively.

Attend our courses to equip yourself with innovative soft-tissue and osseous techniques that seamlessly integrate into your clinical practice and empower your patients by relieving their pain and restoring function. Our curriculum marries medical science with creative therapeutic approaches and provides a comprehensive understanding of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment methods.

Our system offers a blend of orthopedic and neurological assessments, myofascial interventions, osseous manipulations, acupressure techniques, kinetic chain explorations, and functional exercise plans.

With MSR, your practice will flourish, achieve remarkable clinical outcomes, and see patient referrals skyrocket. Step into the future of treatment with MSR courses and membership!



  1. Bordoni, B., & Zanier, E. (2014). Anatomic connections of the diaphragm: influence of respiration on the body system. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 7, 299-310. doi: 10.2147/JMDH.S66724

  2. Deadman, P., Al-Khafaji, M., & Baker, K. (2007). "A Manual of Acupuncture." Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications.

  3. Ernst, E., & White, A. R. (1998). "Acupuncture for back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Archives of Internal Medicine, 158(20), 2235-2241.

  4. Guimberteau, J. C., & Armstrong, C. (2015). "Architecture of Human Living Fascia: The Extracellular Matrix and Cells Revealed Through Endoscopy." Handspring Publishing.

  5. Kaptchuk, T. J. (2000). The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. McGraw-Hill Education.

  6. Kjaer, M., et al. (2018). "Textbook of Sports Medicine: Basic Science and Clinical Aspects of Sports Injury and Physical Activity." John Wiley & Sons.

  7. Langevin, H. M., & Yandow, J. A. (2002). "Relationship of acupuncture points and meridians to connective tissue planes." The Anatomical Record, 269(6), 257-265. DOI: 10.1002/ar.10185

  8. Maciocia, G. (2015). "The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text." Elsevier Health Sciences.

  9. Maciocia, G. (2015). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text. Elsevier Health Sciences.

  10. Myers, T. W. (2001). "Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists." Churchill Livingstone.

  11. Schleip, R., & Müller, D. G. (2013). Training principles for fascial connective tissues: Scientific foundation and suggested practical applications. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 17(1), 103-115. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.06.007

  12. Schleip, R., et al. (2012). "Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body." Churchill Livingstone.

  13. Stecco, C., et al. (2014). "Functional Atlas of the Human Fascial System." Elsevier.

  14. Travell, J. G., Simons, D. G., & Simons, L. S. (1999). "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual." Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  15. Vickers, A. J., Vertosick, E. A., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., ... & Linde, K. (2018). Acupuncture for chronic pain: Update of an individual patient data meta-analysis. The Journal of Pain, 19(5), 455-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005


The content on the MSR website, including articles and embedded videos, serves educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice; only certified MSR practitioners should practice these techniques. By accessing this content, you assume full responsibility for your use of the information, acknowledging that the authors and contributors are not liable for any damages or claims that may arise.

This website does not establish a physician-patient relationship. If you have a medical concern, consult an appropriately licensed healthcare provider. Users under the age of 18 are not permitted to use the site. The MSR website may also feature links to third-party sites; however, we bear no responsibility for the content or practices of these external websites.

By using the MSR website, you agree to indemnify and hold the authors and contributors harmless from any claims, including legal fees, arising from your use of the site or violating these terms. This disclaimer constitutes part of the understanding between you and the website's authors regarding the use of the MSR website. For more information, read the full disclaimer and policies in this website.

1 commentaire

Excellent article... I love the acupuncture point images that help me to visualize where we need to focus treatments, and the merging of multiple health perspectives into a cohesive whole. Keep this coming!😀

bottom of page