What is Structural Integration Therapy?
Structural Integration (SI) is therapeutical, physical body work that focuses on the connective tissues of the human body. Known as fascia, these connective tissues exist throughout the body’s structural system – surrounding nerves, muscles, muscle sections, blood vessels, internal organs, and even our nerves. Fascia binds certain structures together, meanwhile allowing allows others to pass smoothly over one another. It is a critical though often overlooked component of an active body structure.
Traditionally, fascia was thought of as a ‘passive’ tissue that was a natural means to reduce muscular friction and provide a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. However, fascia tissue is believed to be much more than just connective tissue as it is innervated with sensory nerve endings and are thought to store and release kinetic energy. Fascia is an elastic tissue, and when healthy, it moves freely along with our basic structures of muscle and bone. However, age, injury, stress, surgery, repetitive stress movement, and a large number of other factors can contribute to a decline in our fascia integrity. It can shorten, tighten, and become less flexible, denser, and less vibrant.
When fascia is tight, much like a seized muscle, it can pull at bones and muscles bringing them out of alignment with the structural core of our entire body, often leading to discomfort, fatigue, and even chronic pain. Many patients particularly benefit from SI work after surgery when the development of scar tissue can work against the purpose of our natural fasciae and lead to additional problems resulting from the healing process. Fascia can become problematic when it either loses stiffness, becomes too stiff or has decreased shearing ability.
SI therapy work consists of stretching, lengthening, and softening the fascia tissue, which for whatever reason may have become injured, tired, or congested. This refreshing of the fascia will help to restore posture, balance, ease of movement, and an overall comfort with one’s physical body. The goal of my work, in its most simplistic form, is to align and integrate the structure of your body with the downward, natural pull of gravity and ensure that fasciae are supporting the muscles and bones properly. Structural Integration work may alter a person’s posture and structure, restore flexibility, rejuvenate energy levels, reduce pain in some instances, and allow you to feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Most structural integrators, including myself, mentor for many years as well as obtaining the proper state licensure to practice our techniques. However each patient is different, and our work is not a ‘cure’ for any injury or illness. Much in the way that physical therapy works, it is a process that may or may not always benefit the patient. My practice, does, however, try to focus on pain management, providing a drug-free way, working with scar tissue, fascia, and SI principles to bring your body back into alignment with the earth. For athletes and those who are injured, there is often a reduction in pain as the body comes back into balance. For more information, please enjoy these additional pages from the International Association of Structural Integration that highlight the overall benefits of Structural Integration. Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you soon! -Kate