Structural Integration - Myofascial Integration - Myofascial Release Massage
Structural Integration evolved from the technique known to most as Rolfing. The key word here is 'evolved.' I think of it more as a 'kinder, gentler' Rolfing. Same intention as all our other techniques: to release restrictions in the soft tissues thus allowing the body's structure to regain its most efficient and comfortable stature and movement. The type of Myofascial Integration technique employed at the Nashville Neuromuscular Center is based on the concept of Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians by Tom Myers, who studied under Ida Rolf. This clinical bodywork applies a slow manipulation of muscle and fascia combined with active client movement, to effectively release and lengthen the connective tissues and create balance in the body structure. While our Certified KMI practitioner has gone on to work at the Olympic Level, Rebecca has studied this work extensively and incorporates the techniques into her practice.
Tom Myers describes the work he developed in this way:
"The design of KMI (Kinesis Myofascial Integration) is to unwind the strain patterns residing in your body’s locomotor system, restoring it to its natural balance, alignment, length, and ease. Common strain patterns come about from inefficient movement habits, and our body’s response to poorly designed cars, desks, telephones, and airplanes, etc. Individual strain patterns come from imitation when we are young, from the invasions of injury or surgery or birth, and from our body’s response to traumatic episodes. Beginning as a simple gesture of response, movements can become a neuromuscular habit. The habitual movement forms one’s posture, and the posture requires changes in the structure – the body’s connective tissue ‘fabric’. In other words, a gesture becomes a habit becomes a posture and eventually lodges in our structure. These changes are rarely for the better – anything that pulls us out of alignment means that gravity works on pulling us into more misalignment or increased tension to counteract the force. Compensation begets compensation, and more symptoms. KMI is designed to unwind this process and reduce structural stresses. The method depends on a unique property of the body’s connective tissue network."
The basic premise of Anatomy Trains is that there are common lines of force transmission throughout the body - groups of muscle, connective tissue and fascia which all act on a similar line of pull. In the same way that muscle pairs, which are embedded in and part of these lines, work together via their length: tension ratio, these more global fascial lines also act to stabilize the spine, shoulder, and lower limb during exercise. Tom Myers has showcased several such 'tracks.' One of the most simple lines, for example, is the superficial back line. Included in this line are the muscles of the bottom of the foot (short toe flexors, plantar fascia), the achilles tendon and gastrocnemius, hamstrings, along the sacrotuberous ligament to the lumbosacral fascia of the sacrum and up onto the erector spinae musculature all the way up the back and onto the cranium and all the way over the top of the head to the brow. If there is restriction in any one segment of this line, it will affect the entire action of movement; in this case forward flexion.
So often when we think we have tight hamstrings, the restriction may actually be somewhere else along this line of pull. If you have spent years getting massage, doing physical therapy stretches and yoga in an attempt to stretch those hamstrings, but have yet to notice significant improvement, I will invite you to accept a new paradigm -- it just may not be your hamstrings after all. Let the specialists in neuromuscular therapy at Nashville Neuromuscular Center help you locate the true source of your restrictions and release them so you can move again with ease.
There are many other Anatomy Train track lines and we will be delighted to discuss them with you, especially as they pertain to your unique situation. The therapists at Nashville Neuromuscular Center love to help educate our clients about why they have discomfort or restricted movement, so we will tell you as much as you want to know!