Structural Integration

Anatomy Trains Structural Integration

Anatomy Trains Structural Integration is a system of soft tissue manipulation designed to bring balance and easeful movement into the body. This bodywork utilizes the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians, a revolutionary new way of seeing the body, as a map for understanding and treating the human structure. This system of seeing human anatomy was developed by Thomas Myers a bodyworker with 35+ years of experience trained by Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkreis and Buckminster Fuller. Tom gained his insights through working on thousands of bodies, seeing that when he worked on the soles of the feet for example, the whole back body was more relaxed. This led to further exploration into the connection between the various parts of the body. Through these explorations he discovered five major vectors of pull in the body. Through the dissection of human cadavers he confirmed the existence of these myofascial continuities giving us a whole new way to relate to the human form.

Anatomy Trains Structural Integrators are required to have a thorough understanding of human anatomy. This thorough understanding is extremely helpful in resolving major structural and chronic pain issues in the body.

This work uses sequential sessions which move through the body systematically to address the various ways in which the myofascia, ( myo- meaning muscle, and fascia referring to the network of collagenous fibers which give the body its shape and act as the the body brain) affects the shape and placement of the bones of the body.

Humans are “tensegrity” (tension+integrity) structures which means our bones “float” in the neuromuscular system. I use the analogy of a cell phone tower to get a basic understanding of this principle. If the guy wires on the right are tighter than the guy wires on the left what happens? The tower will lean to the right. As humans we are a very complex series of guy wires affecting the bones and joints we depend on for movement. This work understands and works with that principle.
The complexity of the human form is why Ida Rolf developed a ten session series to move sequentially through the body. Anatomy Trains Structural Integration uses twelve sessions to achieve lasting change. More on the twelve session series later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is structural integration painful?

The process of realigning the structures of the body can at times be
“sensational”. My promise is to always work within the client’s threshold of discomfort. The ease of movement found in the body and the lack of chronic pain previously held is worth the temporary discomfort.

What issues can Structural Integration help with?

Structural Integration can help with many musculoskeletal issues including:

  • Low back pain
  • Scoliosis
  • Bulging and herniated discs
  • Neck and shoulder issues
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Issues related to the rib cage
  • Sciatica
  • Hip issues
  • Knee issues
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • General stiffness
  • As well as many others.

Why do our bodies become misaligned?

There are many causes related to neuromuscular misalignment and discomfort.

Inherited postural propensities play a large part as well as the overuse and misuse of the body.
We as humans tend to mimic the posture of the social group we are associated with. For example, being a surfer I developed the tendency in my standing posture to lock my knees, (hyperextending) and push my hips forward, another hyperextension.

The overuse of my shoulders for paddling left me prone to shoulder injury.

The hyperextension of my low back in paddling left my spine prone to compression issues such as sciatica and posterior tilt of the rib cage.

In these ways we bring about misalignment.

The most common misalignment I see in my bodywork practice these days relates to the use of cell phones and computers. We as a society tend to be in a state of postural flexion, this means that our bodies are rounded forward. Also this generation of humans spend way more time seated than past generations. This leads to many painful issues, including low back and neck pain.

Do I have to do 12 sessions?

No. Although there is immense advantage to doing 12 sessions it’s not necessary in order to gain great benefit from this work. It’s ideal to do at least three sessions however as the body generally needs multiple sessions to create lasting change. You can learn about the advantages of series sessions on the discount page.

How does Structural Integration differ from massage?

Although massage can be very beneficial most massage therapists are not trained to see and treat the structural issues causing pain.

The benefit of massage is generally temporary whereas structural integration’s benefits are often long lasting, with the body continuing to process the input from the structural integration therapist for years.

Anatomy Trains Structural Integrators work with the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians to treat the body in a systematic way. This treatment method recognizes the body is a “tensegrity” structure, which means that we understand that the bones are “floating” in the musculature. We aim for an even tone in all the various vectors of pull, (aka myofascial meridians) created by the muscles and their related facial components. This allows for freedom of movement in the joints without the danger of instability and the injuries that result from that instability.

We don’t use oil in this work, using instead a small amount of Shea butter, which allows us to work through the layers of fascia in a superficial, to deep manner carefully seeking the causes of structural issues.

You will be asked to participate through specific body movements during this work, as this work is collegial, meaning we will be a healing team in the process of resolving pertinent issues. This ensures that your needs are met.

How many sessions will I need?

That depends on how deeply held your pattern of misalignment is, or how deep the trauma is in the various aspects of the body. You may only need 3 sessions or you may need 30. We will begin with 3 sessions, ideally performed in three consecutive weeks, and assess your situation then. Every client is unique in their ability to heal. There are also variabilities in finances and the level at which one wants to perform. We will work together as a healing team to bring about the best results possible within the constricts of your life.