Anatomy Trains - Structural Integration
Rolfing was the original brand of Structural Integration (SI) bodywork, developed by Dr Ida Rolf. She designed a series of 10 sessions that systematically works on fascia, the connective tissue in the body. Through the years, various other brands of SI work have evolved, based on the brilliant work of Dr. Rolf. One of those brands called Kinesis Myofascial Integration, was developed by Rolfer and teacher at the Rolf Institute, Thomas Myers. Thomas worked and studied with Ida for many years. In 1990, he expanded the original work to incorporate the Anatomy Train lines of pull of myofascial continuity. This concept looks at the body as a whole, as opposed to specific individual muscles. His design has been revolutionary in the bodywork field. While using this model to look at the patterns of pain or dysfunction, the practitioner can more readily assess, identify, and plan effective treatment therapy.
Why do we want to focus attention on fascia? Why is it important?
Fascia is the connective tissue found in nearly every inch of our body that gives us our shape and our posture. It is literally what holds us together. It has more recently been termed, “the body’s largest organ”. This sheet of tissue wraps, binds, and supports muscles, bones and organs and weaves throughout the entire body. Inside of this fascial web resides 6 times as many sensory neurons as any other tissue except the skin. If the fascia is supple enough, nerves signal properly and there is appropriate communication in the network. The web can become disrupted or distorted through injury, repetitive movements, abberent posturing or inactivity. Usually all of this happens below our conscious awareness. When muscles become strained, they pull on this fascial fabric causing it to shift or thicken. Sticky, dried out, shortened fascia can lead to adhesion's and disease over time if not appropriately addressed. What you end up with is increased suseptibility to pain and dysfunction of various degrees.
Benefits of KMI:
The application of KMI can create significant change in the body’s tissue. Myofascial work tends to deliver deeper, longer lasting results. If done properly, it frees and re-positions fascia and this creates space and improves alignment. It brings changes in how we feel, look, and move. Along with the physical freedom, it can bring an awakening to a sense of greater possibility in how we view the world.
What to Expect:
Entering into a KMI 12 session series, you can expect your therapist will do a thorough intake history and evaluate your goals for the process. Before beginning hands on, a visual assessment called “bodyreading” will be done to examine your postural pattern. Most sessions are done in underwear, allowing direct contact with tissue. You will be asked to participate during the session to move, stretch, and breathe. This increases the effectiveness of the work and aides in your comfort level. Some areas in your tissue may feel intense but should be bearable and brief in duration. Keep in perspective that this is deep work to reach deeper layers of tensions, versus a regular rubdown.
Afterwards, you will be instructed on movement re-education, stretches, and lifestyle modifications. Other accompanying modalities may also be recommended.