I have always struggled to explain Structural Integration and what it is that I do when talking with people who are not bodyworkers. When pressed, I say that I affect the mobility and structural integrity of the body’s connective tissue system.
And – surprise! – people look confused since most are not even aware that they have a connective tissue system.
So, I explain that the body’s connective tissue matrix is much like a fishing net. That it is not elastic like muscles, but more like the nylon filament a fishing net is made from. And that the connective tissue of the body surrounds, suspends and contains everything in the body, just as a net surrounds, suspends and contains a haul of fish.
Supporting the overall integrity of the connective tissue system and its ability to contain and distribute strain is a primary goal of SI. Because like tangles in a net, adhesion anywhere within the system radically affects the body’s mobility and alignment. And these, in turn, affect a person’s ability to transfer breath and motion through their body.
Which is why, as SI practitioners, we work to release the adhesions between connective tissue layers and mobilize the connective tissue system to support our clients’ mobility, alignment and ability to transfer breath and movement.
Thinking of connective tissue as a system – and as separate from the musculature, organs and bones that it surrounds and contains – can be confusing at first. It is something of a paradigm shift for many students. But it also provides us with valuable insights into how the body really works. How things in the body are connected and interrelated. And how we understand alignment, balance and the optimal functioning of the body.