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Interested in our new book? Hear what professionals are saying….
“As a primary care physician and owner of an integrative health center in Portland, Oregon, I found this book to be empowering. It gave me indispensable insight into the fluid motion of fascia and the role of structural integration in addressing restrictions that manifest as chronic pain in my patients. The practical instruction provided in this manual has allowed me to integrate this information into my practice with immediate effects on pain modulation and movement restriction. I have had overwhelming positive feedback from patients. I expect that any massage therapist, physical therapist, psychiatrist, chiropractor, or therapist who uses manual therapy in practice would find this book to be a significant addition to their understanding of freedom of movement in the body, and concrete therapeutic steps to get there.” Dr. Sara Kates-Chinoy, Naturopathic Physician~Portland, Oregon
“The therapists I know who’ve been through Larry’s SI trainings all tell me the same thing. His hands, intuition, and understanding of the human body are simply magical. What’s cool about this book is that it allows me to understand how he works his magic.” J.G., Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Practical Guide to Structural Integration, a premier training guide to the ten session series of Structural Integration. Combined with the methodology and assessment of structural and functional outcomes of Structural Integration, this guide has over 500 color photographs and illustrations to compliment a practitioner’s training.
The Big Picture
This manual is written for new students of Structural Integration. It’s intent is to help you become more aware of what to look and feel for when working with clients, and offers some basic ways in which to release adhesion between layers of connective tissue. Learning to feel whether a layer is mobile and free to move independently will be your initial challenge. Learning to feel the overall mobility of many interconnected layers (kinetic linkage) and the transfer of motion through the body will be your challenge throughout your career as a practitioner.
Structural integration (SI), the focus of this book, works to align the body’s structural components (head, neck, spine, shoulders, arms, thorax, pelvis, legs) to its vertical center (core) and to support the transfer of motion through it. Like water flowing through a hose, the transfer of movement through the body’s vertical core is significantly affected by the alignment of its structural components. “Twist the upper and lower ends of a hose in opposite directions and water can’t flow through it”. Similarly, rotate the body’s structural components in opposite directions and movement can’t transfer through its core.
A Closer Look
SI systematically “releases” or remobilizes layers of connective tissue (fascia) that differentiate muscles and keep the body’s structural components from shifting position. Releasing adhesion between layers of connective tissue is fundamentally different from stretching or massaging muscles. Dr. Ida Rolf the originator of SI, observed that the stress of repetitive motion, injury and postural imbalance will cause adhesion between fascial layers surrounding individual muscles, keeping these muscles from moving independently and gliding smoothly. When muscle layers lose their ability to move independently and glide freely, range of motion is lost and the transfer of motion between muscles (kinetic linkage) becomes limited. By releasing fascial layers surrounding and separating each muscle, it becomes possible to affect the mobility of individual muscles, the kinetic linkage between muscles and the alignment of the body’s structural components. SI does not attempt to repair injuries or to impose perfect postural alignment. The intent of SI is to help clients gradually remobilize their muscles, bones and connective tissue layers so that they are supported physically and free to move in a balanced manner.
The Ten-Session Series
SI is a ten-session protocol for releasing muscle and connective tissue layers, and aligning the body’s structural components around its vertical center. Each SI session focuses on specific organizational goals and the steps needed to actualize these objectives. These goals create the SI outline and provide a set of way-points from which to assess your progress and desired changes. These ten sessions focus upon: (1) shifting the position of the shoulder girdle (clavicles and scapulae) and pelvic girdle (ilia, ischia, pubis and sacrum) and supporting their ability to pivot on their horizontal axes, (2) aligning the ankles, knees and hip joints and supporting your client’s ability to bear weight equally between his/his legs, and (3) aligning the head and neck to the body’s vertical axis and supporting your client’s ability to transfer motion through his spine and vertical center.
SI is unique in its organizational outlook. It sees the body as stratified and segmented, much like the layers of an onion and the sections of an orange. The first three sessions of the series attempt to remobilize and balance the body’s extrinsic layers (the outer muscle and connective tissue layers). Freeing these outer layers, like freeing an outer “sleeve”, helps to ease torsion between the shoulder and pelvic girdles and shift them towards horizontal alignment.
Sessions four through seven address the mobility and side-to-side balance of the body’s intrinsic layers: the muscle and connective tissue layers close to the spine and body’s vertical center (its core). When these layers are free to move independently, the spine and body’s structural components can be aligned and the transfer of motion through the core is affected.
Sessions eight and nine shift focus from aligning and balancing the body’s structural components to attending to the transfer of motion through the core. It is the experience of being supported by and moving through one’s core that we seek to support. These later sessions also focus upon creating greater horizontal balance between the body’s major transverse planes; the horizontal plane of the body and greater wings of the sphenoid, the horizontal plane crossing the inferior surface of the maxilla (the roof of the mouth), the horizontal plane of the cranial base, the horizontal plane passing between the clavicles and spines of the scapulae, the horizontal planes of the ribs, and the horizontal planes of the respiratory diaphragm and the horizontal plane of the pelvic girdle and pelvic floor. These transverse planes like the bulkheads of a boat, support and separate the body’s internal spaces. Together with the spine, these horizontal planes create the internal framework (like an inner armature) upon which the body’s outer sleeve is draped. A higher level of structural support and vertical stability can be created when the spine and these transverse planes can be brought into vertical and horizontal balance.
Session ten focuses upon (1) shifting the position of the body’s outer sleeve around its vertical center, (2) aligning and balancing the joints of the arms and legs, (3) supporting the horizontal alignment of the shoulder and pelvic girdles and easing side-to-side imbalance between muscle layers at the major spinal junctions: occipital-cervical, cervical-thoracic (C7-T1), dorsal (T5-T6), lumbo-dorsal (T12-L1) and lumbo-sacral (L5-S1). In many respects this session is much like the first and third sessions. The common objective of shifting the body’s outer sleeve in support of horizontal alignment in both the pelvis and shoulder girdle remains consistent.