Manual Therapy for Structural Integration
Structural Integration is essentially the process of manipulating your body's tissues, that was developed through the Dr. Harry W. Diehl, M.D. The term is often referred to as Computational Integration. Structural integration works by allowing tissues of various sizes and shapes to be joined so that they can be positioned better, increasing the strength of their tissues against strain. The concept is in place since the time of Physicists Earliest known was Einstein's (who was also an early innovator in quantum theory as well as relativity). In fact, this very idea was first discovered by Hertz when he was conducting experiments with magnets (I have covered the subject in previous articles). Now let's look at structural integration as a practical scenario. We'll say that you've got someone who's fell on her knees, with her elbow bent , and the top of her foot in front of the wall (as viewed from above obviously). To the naked eye the feet look normal. However, when they are looked towards from beneath (towards the floor) and the one with the top of the elbow bent is seen to curve in a slight backwards direction from the body. This is referred to as a medial deviation from the physio's sight line. If we look at the force exerted upon the knee while the elbow is bent, we will see that there is a slight change in the lateral progression of fascia on the upper and lower parts of the knee. It causes discomfort. How does one accomplish Structural Integration in practice? This is a concept that will be covered in the EMS class. I've provided a comprehensive detail of how I practice it, as well as details on the anatomy as well as physiology information required by practitioners. The first step in performing Structural Integration will be to ensure that the patient is prepared. In this case I prefer to begin by introducing slow, relaxed breathing exercises to calm the nervous system, and for the body to learn the techniques to "quiet" the internal chatter that occurs whenever our bodies are under threat. As you progress through the EMS course, you might decide to add some additional stretching exercises , or simply enjoy the journey. It is really all up to you. After the student has sufficiently warmed up that they are comfortable, it is time to start myofascial relaxation. Experience has taught me that consistent pressure applied on specific myofascial trigger points is the best way to get pain relief with Structural Integration. Start with your feet while keeping your pain zone at a comfortable level; apply consistently pressure to every point by pressing firmly on the upper part of your heel and then moving your hands upwards towards the elbow joint and up to the point of your wrist at its highest. This technique can be repeated on every wrist, finger and ankle. This process does not aim to exert any physical force to a specific point. It is rather to bring movement to the area by introducing myofascial connections. It is important to recognize that there may be a hyperactive tensional network or fascia that has developed an oversensitivity due to many causes. It is this tensional network which is at the root of the issue that needs to be addressed. Once it has been effectively addressed with a regular practice of Structural Integration It will start to heal itself. If you ask me, fascial release is one of my favorite things to do to increase range of motion, reducing inflammation and pain and increasing the strength and range of motion, particularly when practicing Structural Integration. Many of my students find instant benefits following just one session. Most people are amazed to notice immediate results following their first session structuring rolfing. From my experience my experience, the best way to bring a client's pain under control is to first identify the pain pathway before establishing a planned program to get it done. Be aware that Functional Imaging can show us where a particular muscle or fascia's location is. Therefore, by applying the right stimulation to this location, we can see what this region of the body is functioning and enabling us to properly treat it. This is in the context of this, that a skilled structural integration practitioner can really change the course of treatment. Practitioners should employ the fascial and tensional methods to treat the problem. They must also aim at the total healing of the fascia. It is essential to keep the fact that using manual therapy such as Pilates doesn't have the purpose to address structural imbalances. Its purpose is to achieve is fixing the movement imbalances. For this to be done effectively, we need to employ a mix of movements which encourage correct movement and are also able to treat the pain pathways. You will be able to enhance your movements as well as address the source of your pain. This is the radial or tensional stiffening that occurs in the tissues of your joints.