The body process is not linear, it is circular; always, it is circular.  One thing goes awry, and its effects go on and on and on and on.  A body is a web, connecting everything with everything else.

–Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.

Anatomy Trains Structural Integration

The majority of us have collected extra tension through out the course of our lives, either from injury or surgery, repetitive motion activities, or deep unresolved emotions or attitudes we’ve acquired throughout our life.  This extra tension, regardless of the reason, creates patterns in our body that become written into our muscular and skeletal form and shape our connective tissues.  In fewer words, our gestures become habits, our habits influence our postures and our postures establish our structure.  The connective tissue, or fascial system, contributes to our overall structure and shape.  It also effects how we navigate in gravity and in our available movement abilities.  Based on the pioneering work of Dr. Ida P Rolf, Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (ATSI) was developed by author and bodyworker Thomas Myers.  It is an evidence informed type of bodywork that focuses on the myo-fascial system to re-educate the body in efficient and energy-sustaining patterns.

ATSI focuses on the fascial system, but what is it exactly?  The fascial system is a web-like structure that holds our shape by way of sheets, straps, and slings that surround our muscles, bones, nerves and literally everything else in our body.  The muscular tissues move us around but only with the support of the whole fascial system; the connective tissue, ligaments and tendons.  When we are injured or stressed there is a neuromuscular response involving a combination of contraction, retraction, immobility and often times rotation.  The result is a pattern where some muscles are put under strain requiring the fascial fabric to shift along with it, causing the fascial fabric to thicken and glue itself to the surrounding structures to compensate for the muscular holding and structural imbalance.

In order to free and reposition the fascial fabric into more optimal positioning, especially in long-held patterns, much more needs to be done than just releasing the muscular holding.  This is where the ‘Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians’ concept comes in.  The fascial and myofascial ‘anatomy of connection’ lines reside throughout the body, much like “guy-wires” of support.  The realignment and release of these binding and shortening fascial lines have the potential to:
  • resolve long-standing compensations in postural and movement patterns
  • release fascial adhesions
  • decreased symptoms of chronic pain and discomfort
  • correction of movement dysfunction and compensations
  • increase of an individual’s adaptability and efficiency of movement
  • freer joint mobility and flexibility
  • increased body awareness
  • improved postural balance in gravity
The myo-fascial treatments specific to the individual are based on detailed evaluations and assessments, while concentrating on doing deep, lasting, and significant work, with anatomical precision, blended with movement and sensitivity to the unfolding individual experience.  Ideally, the new alignment felt is not something that you have to work at or be put on, it simple becomes part of who you are.

THE ATSI 12 SERIES - Map the pattern…Shape the change

The Anatomy Trains Structural Integration process consists of an organized series of 12 progressive sessions, sometimes more, that are meant to reacquaint yourself with your body in gravity and motion.  These 12 sessions will focus on the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians.  The deep and slow fascial and myofascial manipulation, coupled with movement re-education, are designed to unwind the strain patterns residing in your body’s loco motor system, restoring it to its natural balance, alignment, length, and ease.

During the session, the practitioner contacts the tissues and ask you to move, thus freeing old restrictions and encouraging the tissues back to a freer place called for by your body’s inherent design. You and your practitioner can work out how deep or how gentle you want the progression to be.  ATSI uses a wide “vocabulary” of touch, not just deep work, to evoke lasting and progressive change in body pattern.

The sessions progress through the body in a thoughtful and systematic way:

  • The first four sessions are generally more superficial, working the “sleeve” of the body. It frees the tissues on the front, back, and sides of the body and frees the shoulders and arms from any binding to the trunk.  The Superficial Front Line, Superficial Back Line, Lateral Line and Spiral Line are all addressed.
  • The middle four sessions address the “core” of your body, working into the central stabilization muscles closer to the spine and helping to unwind hidden rotations and deeper patterns, thus finding support from within. The Deep Front Line is addressed
  • The last four sessions integrate the core and sleeve into your habitual movement while addressing specific problems you bring to the table. The upper and lower body, as well as arms are integrated together.  The last four sessions leave you with a lasting and progressive change that will echo throughout the rest of your life.

Basing the 12 sessions around the body’s myofascial continuities ensures that the entire body is covered throughout the series and clear session strategies allow for individual patterns and preferences.  We take the time to get a clear understanding of the individual compensations that may be occurring, this is where we “map the pattern” of the body and through the Anatomy Trains Structural Integration 12 series we “shape the change” of the structure.

What to Expect from your ATSI Sessions:

Here are some things to help you get ready for your ATSI sessions:

  • On your first visit, the practitioner will take a complete evaluation, history and speak about the reasons for coming and any concerns or goals that you wish to achieve. Pictures of your body postures may be taken at the beginning of the session in order to track progress throughout the series.  Working together, the practitioner and client will devise a strategy for achieving desired goals.
  • Most structural integration sessions are done in undergarments or a bathing suit. 
We need directly access the tissues that are restricting the free flow of movement.  We also need the ability for the client to move freely during the session, free of extraneous fabric and or sheets.  However, your comfort is of the highest concern and we will work within your comfort level. A very helpful tip: please wear a top with minimal straps or vertical bands obscuring the spine.  While we are able to navigate around these, less straps will make your experience more enjoyable and our work a little easier.
  • Unlike massage, structural bodywork doesn’t use any lotions. We want as much traction on the skin and fascia as we can, to create a release of the different fascial layers. (We ask that you don’t wear any lotions on your skin as well.)
  • Before each session, we will take a few moments to check what changes may have occurred since the last session, any new sensations felt or how much your awareness may have increased. We will do a quick body read (a 360º postural assessment), movement tests to assess how the joints are relating to each other, how you move in gravity and what patterns may be held in the body.  After the assessment, a session plan will be determined.
  • Most of the session will be done on the treatment table and will also include work seated on a bench or standing. Structural Integration is extremely participatory, meaning the client will be moving and active during the majority of the session.  The practitioner may ask you to stand or walk around to allow you to feel any immediate changes that may have occurred.  This participatory style of bodywork allows for the most beneficial change that can happen in the tissue and body.
  • We want the work performed to be deep, but NOT painful. You should feel sensations in your body and perhaps some momentary discomfort but nothing to the point where you fear injury.  As in every step of the process, your communication is KEY for the therapist to understand what you are feeling and how to proceed to achieve the maximum benefits. 
  • Sessions can last anywhere from 60-90 minutes depending on the strategy, goals and response of the myo-fascial tissue.
  • The ideal time between each session is about a week and no longer than 2 weeks. As each session builds upon one another, we want to give the body enough time to integrate but not too much time to forget.
Anatomy Trains Structural Integration:
Each Session (1.5 hr): $130