Timothy Walters Kleinert
Sooo... moving back to the original question.
David, I'm not sure the issue is quite as simple as it sounds in your post. I'm not really qualified to answer your questions, but I'll share my experience.
I'm not sure that the fascia is inherently "unified". To begin with, there are different types and/or layers of fascia that serve different functions. I don't believe anyone knows for sure exactly what's happening inside our bodies. Are we only activating one function in one layer/type, or are we accessing different functions throughout different types/layers? If so, how do these different layers/types interact?
Also, my experience is that whole-body movement doesn't just happen. It has to be developed. It *seems* from my beginner experience and from watching the other students in my class, that when ki-/fasica-based movement begins to manifest, it's still fairly localized. It seems to take a little bit before the movement connects to other parts of the body.
For example, I can move my fingers without utilizing muscle. It doesn't take much to feel this movement in the forearms. But it's taken a little time to begin feeling the connection/tension in my upper arms and shoulders. (And I assume it will continue to "grow" into my back & chest.)
It is possible, of course, that this movement is actually unified/connected, and it's just too weak at the moment to feel. I can only talk about how I feel.
I've also received conflicting information on whether the fascia can contract on its own or not. I need to do some more talking with one of doctor friends.
I would try to milk as much information from your doctor friends as you can but the problem is that there is a gap in what is generally understood by anatomists, doctors and such and what can actually be done by martial artists, healers etc. I am sure that there are explanations for eveything but relying on information from the mainstream doesn't fill in all the gaps.
If I can do a little finger pointing at Mike's explanations I have trouble swallowing it sometimes from a scientific point of view, but from a martial arts point of view they make a lot of sense, even over the internet. In a sense we do need our own langauge that can be explained as well as possible through anatomical terms but know that they don't quite match up.
My two bob,