What is Structural Integration and Fascia to me?
Structural Integration is a type of bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia of the body. Fascia is comprised of about 28 different types of collagen and 7 types of elastin fibers plus the extracellular matrix. Everyone’s personal matrix of these is unique to that individual person.
The definition of fascia comes from Latin and means: to bind. Myofascia refers to fascia that is directly connected to muscle tissue. Fascia surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, organs, bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves, binding some structures together while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. Structural Integration (SI) was first pioneered by Dr. Ida P. Rolf and all Structural Integration is based on her work no matter the style or school. There’s probably a bigger difference between individual therapists than to what training program they attended.
All touch or massage modalities work with the fascia. SI is the only discipline that explicitly targets the connective tissue fascia. One of the other things that sets Structural Integration apart is it’s specific targeting of the fascia combined with the clients movement as well as the approach of Holism. One of the main tenents of SI is in treating system-oriented and not symptom-oriented patterns.
The goals of Structural Integration is to provide: length in all parts of the body, ease in movement, glide among the various layers and increased range of motion (ROM). In SI we believe that fascia is the structure of form. To break it down to a human body in relation to movement within gravity we say “Structure determines function and form follows function.” If we can change the structure then the function of the structure changes and so follows the form.
Structural Integration is usually performed in a series of ten to thirteen sessions (In KMI it’s 12) to systematically release the myofascial or fascial tissue. It can be done as a single session or a handful of sessions too. The series is meant to really explore your pattern and your movement ranges. In the series we aim to uncover what is happening within your body’s connective tissue. To see where we can increase ease, lengthen short parts and increase range of motion (ROM) around the joints. Each session builds upon the last, addressing layers of tissue throughout the process by progressing from the superficial layers to the deeper ones. The series is designed to balance your body in segments, with each session addressing a different aspect of your structure and movement.
What is Fascia Exactly?
Best to answer that by sending you to an experts well informed consensus. Tom Myers explains in the link below.
What is Holism?
Holism is the meta-principle that comprehends all the other principles. Consequences of the principle of Holism are:
- The body is an entirety, and no part is more important than any other for the organization of the whole
- The body is one with the person, and a somatic dysfunction will be reflected in all other aspects of being
- Living bodies are self-regulating and self-organizing systems
- To understand local dysfunction, one must understand the condition of the whole and its relationship to the environment
- No part of the body can be adequately understood in isolation from the whole and without regard for the environment
The Principles of Tensegrity
Tensegrity is a combination of two words tension and integrity=tensegrity and was coined by Buckminster Fuller. He used tensegrity as a model indicating that the integrity of the structure is derived from the balance of tension members, not the compression struts. It is the closest idea that we can relate to how fascia works in our bodies. It is by finding a balance across and through our joints that we can most freely and with as little effort as needed move through the gravitational forces of Earth.
The KMI website defines it in another way that you can learn about here: https://www.anatomytrains.com/fascia/tensegrity/
You can learn more about Dr. Ida P. Rolf http://rolfresearchfoundation.org/about/about-ida-p-rolf-phd