Tensegrity and balance

If you have done more than a few sessions with me I have probably spoken to you about the idea of Structural Integration. Structural integration is a modality most notably pioneered by Ida Rolph in the early 1970s.

Structural integration is a multiple modality which seeks to free myofascial restrictions in the body, and then neurological re-education for the system so that the body can begin to move through the former blockages and create more optimal functional patterns which will keep the old blockages from retuning. Structural integration can be a very trans-formative experience and can also be quite intense both physically and emotionally. The core premise behind the structural integration I practice is tensegrity.

Tensegrity is a phrase coined by famed Architect and Systems Theorist Buckminster Fuller. It is basically the idea that a structure can be both flexible and incredibly stable if within it a web of tensions and compressive forces is connected by rigid members which don’t actually touch each other. Putting this into perspective consider the human body and the skeleton. If the human skeleton were actually a compressive structure (like an archway) one would be able to stack the bones, without any of the connective tissue, and it would retain the shape of a human. Applying the idea of tensegrity to the human body allows us to conceive of a structure made up of bones (rigid bodies) which act as spacers for and are integrally connected by and transmit force of the tensions of the muscular and fascial structures within our bodies.

So as important as our bones are within our bodies, the thing which shapes our movement potential are, in fact. our connective tissues (fascia and muscle). Structural Integration seeks to create an optimal homeostatic balance between the tensions in the skeletal and muscular bodies. Curiously most physical athletic injuries are not, in fact, cases of injured or damaged muscle fibers but are conversely damage to the soft connective tissue: fascia or joints. In light of this, treating the “Fascial body” then becomes of paramount importance when treating old, recurring or chronic injuries as well as injury prevention. Structural Integration is not a panacea but is an excellent tool for addressing movement blockages due to scar tissue and sub-optimal movement histories and for creating more facile, and effective movement paradigms within your body.

When combined with other modalities like regular Deep tissue massage, Thai Bodywork and Kinesio Taping you will be able to address long held movement issues and blockages and remain injury free and at peak performance with optimal recovery from stress and strain.

Kinesio-Whaaaa???

Turning on the television During the 2012 Olympics you might have been greeted by images of people with multicolored tape designs running down the length of their bodies.

The tape on these athletes is, arguably, not a dubious fashion choice, but is actually a therapeutic methodology called Kinesiotaping.

Kinesiotapeing was invented by Acupuncturist and Chiropractic Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1979. He developed his methodology and his tape in response to the “rigid” taping methods he found so inhibiting when working with athletes within his practice.

Dr Kase realized that; “…To stabilize the joint he saw that it was more effective to tape around the muscle to achieve joint correction. The tapes that he was able to obtain were rigid, designed to immobilize the joint. …“ Using this methodology of taping around the muscle and not inhibiting joint movement allows the joints to continue to function within the parameters of their construction as well as encouraging biodynamic compensations to occur within the tissues (fascial and muscular) at the site of dysfunction, as well as possibly neurologically reprogramming the muscles to create new movement patterns and neurological firing patterns. In clinical tests Kinesiotaping has been shown to be clinically significant in its effect on localized swelling and hematoma, when applied to sprains and contusions. I feel that Kinesiotape would benefit persons with localized swelling due to contusions, a subtle reminder for postural cues, or needing a mechanical adjustment to stick between session. Kinesiotaping is used widely by professional athletes as well Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists and Osteopaths. It is used to subtly mechanically correct joint tracking and positional anomalies or bolster key muscle activation during exercise for alignment and movement stabilization.