Question for Mike Sigman: when you talk about "the fascia stuff", does it have anything to do with training the fascia to make it stronger and/or to "teach" it contract and relax?
It's both, Franco. However, a lot of the worries about this type of training is that when done wrongly, it can be harmful, rather than beneficial. Think of the analogy of curing and tanning a hide: stretching it over a frame, scraping it, beating it, applying chemicals, etc. If you don't really know how to cure a hide and you use the wrong procedures, etc., in the process, then you can end up ruining the hide. Same is true of the qigongs/breathing-methods. The safest methods are done (you have to know what to do) softly and for long periods of time, much like the methods illustrated (but not described very well) in some of Tohei's books, etc. I always remember something I read about where someone in northern China figured out how to make qigong practices safer so that not so many people wound up hypertensive, etc., as they used to do in southern China. Apparently, it took that information a few hundred years to leak out to some of the southern Chinese.... indicating that it's not obvious. The sophistication of the breathing methods in Japan is difficult to evaluate, but it's a safe bet that the information is limited in that respect, so people should be encouraged to constantly look and evaluate, IMO.