KMI Structural Integration is based upon the Anatomy Trains concept, developed by Tom Myers, an Advanced Rolfer who studied with Ida Rolf.
Dr. Rolf believed that structural imbalances place excessive demands on the network of muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. She developed her approach combining influences from myofascial work, osteopathy, yoga and the Alexander Technique.
The body’s adaptability, movement, shape and posture is governed by the soft tissue. All of our muscles, organs, nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels are ensheathed or made up of fascia. In fact, the body is enclosed in a web of fascia. When it is healthy it is pliable and elastic and is integral in movement and stability. Forces applied then the whole system redistributes the tension/strain in adaptation to maintain stability.
However, our bodies meet many stresses: playing sports; sitting at a desk or driving; injuries; exercising; surgery and even your emotions can create strain. We are shaped by our experiences and habits. These become integrated into our bodies, held below our conscious awareness. When imbalance, or misalignment exists, the body must make compensations to keep itself upright and to allow movement. Where our body compensates is in the soft tissue, specifically in the myofascial system (because its connections accommodate and transmit force).
The effect of stress within the layers of connective tissue is like a pull in a knitted sweater. A tug affects the whole fabric as the connective tissue shortens. If one part shortens, the tension is distributed over the whole and becomes a whole body problem. Unhealthy connective tissue is thicker, harder and much less resilient. It becomes dehydrated and gluey. This significantly effects how our muscles and joints function and, ultimately, how we feel. Strain is placed on physical and emotional resources and we experience pain, tightness, weakness, diminished movement, fatigue or emotional stress. We literally feel this as being out of balance within our bodies. We focus on treating the local chronic symptoms with medication or with therapies that fail to address their causes.
Finding one’s balance in the world is crucial to living well. How we move – how we think – how we feel – how we act – it is all connected. Our structure affects every way we move, our whole range of motion and what we can and cannot do. Good structure means a body that works efficiently, moves with grace and ease, stands tall, upright and is open and relaxed.
Structural Integration can help to improve your posture, function, flexibility, adaptability and energy levels. The Structural Integration approach is to free the bound and shortened fascial tissues and to reeducate and reintegrate your body, breath and movement patterns to hold a more efficient, balanced and natural position.
Each session has a specific focus on a particular fascial line/area of the body and progressively works to free restrictions and improve your posture. You will be asked to move in specific ways and to walk and stand during the session to facilitate the opening and realignment of tissues and to help you integrate any changes you feel. Movement / exercise suggestions may be given after each session.
If acupuncture is used within the Series, I usually use it initially to reduce acute pain before the Series begins.
What are the Goals of KMI Structural Integration
- Improvement in body and movement awareness
- Chronic aches and pains are relieved or resolved
- Increased range, ease, efficiency and strength of movement as parasitic tension and compensations throughout the body are reduced
- Increased ease and space in the body and its movement
- Improved posture
- Improvement in stability and balance
- Enhanced physical performance
- Greater physical and mental energy
- Increased self-esteem: as we begin to view the world from a more stable and balanced structure, we reach out with confidence
- Increase the ability to release existing emotional patterns and better able to handle mental stress
- Promotes better breathing and feeds the brain with oxygen, increasing mental focus and learning capacity
- S.I increases the sense of self. This is essential to feeling at ease in one's body and expression of emotional responses
What to Expect
Each session is 90 minutes in length. The work is carried out on a massage table and bench. A body reading is done so I can put together a strategy of treatment to address your specific patterns of restrictions (photos may be taken if you agree as an aid to assessment). Each session should be 5 days to a week apart (with the longest gap no more that 14 days) to keep up the momentum to the work and maximise the potential for change.
A Structural Integration Series has a beginning and an end. After the Series you will not receive more S.I Series work for 6 months to a year. It is able to create ongoing changes for a long time after the initial 12 sessions and there is further improvement in posture a year or more after. Many clients will benefit from coming back for ‘post-Series’ work on a particular issue, or a mini-series following an injury, surgery or a stressful time. Many people find that at some point they wish to return for a tune up.
There are two treatment options available:
The 12 Series:
The 12 Series allows for the comprehensive treatment of the whole body and its patterns:
Sessions 1-4: Superficial myofascial sleeve.
Sessions 5-8: Deep Core layers.
Sessions 9-12: Balance of pelvic and shoulder girdles and spine and integration of the sleeve and core.
The 3 Series:
This mini series is a more general treatment of the body:
Session one - Balance the pelvic girdle, hips, feet and legs.
Session two - Concentrates on balancing the shoulder girdle over the ribcage and the ribcage over the pelvis.
Session three - Concentrates on the head, neck and spine.
Individual, non-series sessions are available as Integrative Bodywork.
Before, During Pregnancy and Post-Natal
Starting pregnancy with a more balanced foundation will provide sound support at a time when the body is placed under big postural stressors. A series of treatments can avert or reduce many potential structural discomforts often experienced during pregnancy due to poor alignment. These include back pain, hip joint pain, pubic pain, cramps, sciatica and breathlessness.
The standard series of 12 treatments is not appropriate once a pregnancy has begun. However, S.I techniques and movement education can still assist a pregnant woman to adapt to a changing structure and provide relief from discomforts resulting from structural changes.
A series of sessions after pregnancy can assist a woman in restoring her alignment, grace and comfort. Structural changes resulting from pregnancy and childbirth can establish lifelong patterns of chronic discomfort. Hours spent breast feeding can further cause shoulder, neck and back discomfort. Structural Integration helps to re-stabilise the pelvis and spine to rebalance the body. In addition, a more aligned body uses less energy to move through the world and may help a woman make peace with her body after such a life-altering event.