FASCIA AND ITS ROLE IN STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION
Fascia is everywhere. It connects by way of a multi-planed layering system that wraps, webs, surrounds and weaves through our bodies, separating and connecting, supporting and allowing movement.
“Each muscle, each visceral organ is encased in its own fascial wrapping. These wrappings in turn form part of a ubiquitous web that supports as well as enwraps, connects as well as separates, all functional units of the body.” –Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.
From the superficial layer just beneath our skin to the deepest wrapping around our bones, fascia holds our bodies in place. Sometimes it is thin and wispy, sometimes it is thick and fibrous.
Fascia facilitates the many layers of muscles in our bodies to slide over each other, allowing for smooth uninhibited flexion and extension. Healthy fascia is pliable and hydrated, allowing muscles, tendons and ligaments to move freely and easily.
But when fascia is stressed from injury, trauma or from postural habits and imbalanced repetitive movement, it becomes short, dense, and dehydrated, gluing muscles together and inhibiting movement. Shortened fascia compresses joints and puts stress on tendons and ligaments. This can result in injury and pain.
Structural Integration strives to achieve balance in tone within the myofascial system and to coax fascia back to a soft, pliable state. The result is greater flexibility, resilience and less pain and vulnerability to injury.
“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.
What Goes Down Can Come Up
Dr. Ida Rolf, the founder of Structural Integration, recognized that fascia is plastic in nature: it changes shape, and adapts to the way we use our bodies. When we move and stretch regularly, our fascia lengthens, stays lubricated, allowing our muscles and the joints they control to function optimally. Likewise, when we are sedentary for long periods of time, our fascia shortens and hardens. We feel stiff, achy and exhausted.
Using hands and arms as tools, practitioners of Structural Integration move, layer by layer through the fascial web, helping dense fascia return to a healthy, pliable state. Muscles and joints can then function properly, allowing for flexibility and freedom of movement.
“Fascia is the organ of posture…the body is a web of fascia. ”
— Ida P. Rolf