Structural Integration

Structural Integration is a type of alternative medicine which aims to align the human body in the gravitational field.[1] The purported benefit is that the increased use of balance at finer levels of the neuro-fascial-musculo-skeletal system allows for increased general well-being and physical adaptability and resilience as well as reducing biomechanically caused pain. Structural Integration practitioners are trained in the application of functional biomechanical and kinesiological analysis and in what they believe are effective ways of changing a client's structure. Often connective tissue (specifically fascia) is manipulated to allow body segments to shift to a more balanced position. Re-education of the client's movement patterns and other modalities are commonly used in the belief that they can achieve or support the goal of improved alignment. First developed as a separate field by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Structural Integration, from the 1930s, evolved out of a number of sources including osteopathy, (including cranial osteopathy), yoga, Feldenkrais.[2] The focus of this work is based upon the premise that for the body to function properly its structure must first be secure so that it can use gravity for support, and that each segment of the body should relate properly to each other. Structural Integration focuses on the connective tissue matrix of the body in order to bring all the parts of the body into balance. Structural Integrators use a multi-session approach in which specific strategies are developed to guide each individual into optimal balance. By the 1950s Rolf was teaching Postural Re ease. In the 1960s Dr. Rolf called her work Structural Integration and, since then, many schools teaching Structural Integration have formed such as the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration,[citation needed] the Guild for Structural Integration,[citation needed] Hellerwork Structural Integration,[citation needed] and Kinesis Myofascial Integration. In an effort to preserve the essential elements of Structural Integration in its teaching and practice, practitioners from a variety of schools formed the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI) [3] in 2002. The IASI is now a worldwide membership organization for Structural Integrators whose mission is the advancement and promotion of SI as a cornerstone to health and wellbeing through education, community, and communication. The IASI protects the integrity of this revolutionary work by maintaining standards that support the development of Structural Integration as a distinct vocation. Compliance with these established standards[4] requires professionals to complete between 650 and 2,000 hours in specialized training programs and to maintain continuing education for ongoing professional status within the IASI. As of 2007, there exists a certification exam for SI professionals that will be NCCA and ANSI approved.[5] Many techniques have since evolved because of the influence of Dr. Rolf, her work and her discoveries with myofascia, gravity and integration. Some of these are taught as Myofascial Release, St. John Neuromuscular, deep tissue massage, or sports massage, among others. None of these are akin to Structural Integration.