Most clients who come to Structural Integration recognize that much of the tension and strain in their bodies is not the result of injury or physical overwork, but of stress from a job or relationship. They are aware of the connection between their emotional and physical stress, but have no idea how to change that.
On a deeper level, people are painfully aware of the physical strain that emotional stress is causing them, but are typically unaware of its effect on their ability to move freely, think clearly and transfer breath and movement through their core. It seems that as people lose the ability to move through their core, they also lose their awareness of it. And as they lose the awareness of that movement, they can also lose the ability to be physically and emotionally grounded.
Clients are most often aware of the strain in their neck and shoulders, but far less aware of their inability to move between and through their head, neck and thorax. They typically do not connect shoulder and neck strain to the inability to swallow or breathe fully.
They may be aware that their lower back hurts and that they don’t feel physically stable when standing, but may not be aware of losing the ability to move through their core and legs, and concurrently, to feel grounded and centered.
SI practitioners conceptualize the body’s inner core as more than a set of muscles that are suspended from and supportive of the spine. We see the core as a three-dimensional myofascial structure that supports our ability to be upright in gravity and to transfer breath and motion through the body’s vertical center. And we are acutely aware of the effects that neck rotation and torsion between the girdles can have upon that ability to support us and transfer breath and motion through the vertical center.
We see the transverse planes of the inner head, cranial base and thoracic outlet as integral parts of the body’s structural core. And we are acutely alert to any ‘disconnect’ that occurs between the head and body. We know that when clients lose the ability to move their head and necks freely, their awareness of the connection between thoughts and feelings and their ability to transfer breath and motion between and through their head and core are radically affected.
SI practitioners also know that the bones of the head can move, and that injury and trauma to these bones are all too common. The debate between the Osteopathic and Allopathic communities over whether adult cranial sutures are fixed or movable, and over the significance of the cranial sacral respiration may never resolved. But the mobility of the mandible, temporal, maxilla, TMJ, cranial base and sphenoid – when freed from adhesions in the myofascial layers that surround them – is not in dispute.
Thus, the ability or inability to move one’s sphenoid, maxilla, mandible and cranial base can have a profound effect upon a person’s ability to think clearly and to feel connected to their body. And the inability to physically transfer motion between the head and body and through the core can leave us feeling numb and emotionally disconnected.
Exploring the connection between motion and emotion is an integral part of our year-long Practitioners Training, because awareness of these connections will significantly affect the intentions and outcomes of our work with clients.