Structural Integration practitioners are focused primarily upon supporting our clients’ alignment and mobility. Which means that to a great extent, we don’t fit well in the standard healthcare system with its focus upon immediate pain remediation, regional anatomy, and insurance codes.
We work to free adhesion between the facial layers and envelopes that support and hold the body’s structural segmentation in stasis. To better understand our perspective, imagine you’re wearing nylon stockings that surround and differentiate all the muscles around the bones your hips, legs, and ankles. Now imagine how uncomfortable and difficult it would be to walk if these ‘stockings’ were suddenly glued to these bones.
When the fascial envelopes surrounding the bones of the ankle and foot become adhered (glued) to these bones – due to injury, repetitive motion or strain – the ankle and foot lose their ability to fully flex and extend. This forces the ankle to rotate and the foot to evert or pronate.
When the fascial layers surrounding and connecting the ankle to the bones of the lower legs become adhered, the lower leg is forced to rotate, which strains the knee when walking. And when the fascial layers surrounding the upper legs and hips are glued to the femurs, the pelvis and lower back are forced to rotate when walking, straining the lower back and creating side-to-side imbalance between the SI joints.
SI practitioners see and feel for the mobility of these facial envelopes. When we work in one area of the body, we also look for how fascial layers and envelopes throughout the body are being affected. For example, when working within the mouth, we feel how strain and rotation within the facial envelopes of the inner throat and thorax are being affected. And how the rotation of the spine and motion through the body’s structural core are affected when our client rotates a leg in and out.
I see the primary intent of Structural Integration not so much as achieving perfect alignment, but more as supporting the transfer of motion through the core. Metaphorically, I see the body’s inner core as a garden hose, and the hose’s ability to transfer water through it as paramount – another perspective not understood or embraced by the standard healthcare system.
When we see a person’s head and neck rotated or out of vertical alignment, we are of course concerned with how these postures strain their musculature. But we are most concerned with how these postures and repetitive movement patterns affect their ability to transfer breath and motion through the inner head, throat and core. And how these rotations and repetitive movements affect our client’s eustachian tubes, brachial plexus and thoracic outlet.
SI practitioners are concerned with both structural alignment and optimal functioning. With side-to-side balance and with easing rotations and the spiral-like movement patterns they generate. And by focusing on the way our clients move and their repetitive movement patterns, we hope to gain greater and greater insight into how they are functioning and what optimal functioning for them might be.