A three-dimensional, interwoven web which surrounds just about everything in the body and connects it to everything else, fascia serves as the organ of structure – giving the body its shape. Within this connective web, bands of tissue tend to thicken, shorten, and adhere where patterns of strain develop. The wear and tear of daily living, compounded by the pull of gravity and any accidents, injuries, or traumas all contribute to these patterns which pull the body out of alignment. Muscles and joints compensate to keep the body in motion; however, these compensations have structure-wide consequences.

A sprained ankle is illustrative of this process. We transfer weight to the uninjured limb while the ankle heals, creating one set of compensations. The ankle eventually heals, but with a thickening and twisting of the tissue which affects not just the ankle, but the foot, knee, and hip. Another chain of neuromusculoskeletal compensations that subtly alters the body’s structure and function is set into play.

The client and practitioner work together during the SI process — using breath, focused movements, and touch — to differentiate “stuck” tissue and coax length and space into the fascia. Muscles regain the space and opportunity to work as designed; joints, the freedom to move. The body gains the resiliency and responsiveness it needs to come into alignment.

Most people don’t give gravity much thought – it just is. Much to her credit, Dr. Rolf did. Try balancing a broomstick upright on the palm of your hand. The stick wobbling in search of stability is the body out of alignment. When the stick is vertical, there is a sense of weightless ease. This is the relationship Structural Integration seeks between the body and gravity: when the body’s segments are vertically aligned, it finds ease and support in the gravitational field. Ida often reminded practitioners not to take too much credit: “Gravity’s the tool – the therapist!