KMI Structural Integration Series

KMI Structural Integration at Ahwatukee Massage Therapy

Our bodies are remarkably adaptable. So much so that even a childhood fall out of a tree or an old sprain can create a cycle of compensation that our brain just assumes is our “New Normal.” The twelve sessions of KMI Structural Integration work to identify the compensation patterns and release their hold on our body. Each session is designed to first, analyze your individual pattern of posture and movement limitations, and then work with your fascial network in an organized and methodical process to release the old pattern and help your brain absorb and integrate new information.

Each session lasts about 90 minutes and can include movement and participation from you, in the form of frequent changes in position on the table, to sitting on a bench, to walking. The idea is to see and feel if we are on the right track and change tactic if needed to make the most of each session. You will be dressed in sport shorts and for the ladies a bra, bathing suit top or sports bra so that these changes of position are easier.

Structural Integration Session 1Session One

Session One looks at the front of the body, the Superficial Front Line. The connective tissue line goes from the top of the feet, thru the shins and up on to the front of the thighs where they attach to the hip bone. Still in the same fascial plane, the line goes from the six-pack abdominals, up along the sternum, along the side of the neck and on to the head behind the ears. All the lines have actually been disscected on the body to prove that this is all one line of fibers. I will ask you to flex and extend your feet, knees and hips, breath deep or turn depending on where your fascia is not moving as well as it could. We always spend a little extra time on the neck at the end since it is so important to the balance of your head on your body.

Session Two

Session Two looks at the back of the body, the Superficial Back Line. The connective tissue line goes from the bottom of the feet, thru the heel and up into the Achilles tendon where it meets the knee joint. We pick up the hamstrings from both sides of the leg and follow them up to their attachment at the “sitz bone” where they continue on to the sacrum and then up along both sides of the spine all the way to the back of the head. After your first session the flexing, moving and changing positions will start to feel natural and necessary. This session focuses on how your primary and secondary curves absorb the shock of walking.

Session Three

Session Three looks at the sides of the body focusing on how we balance from right to left. It is quite a miracle that we can stand up against the forces of gravity and our Lateral Line is built for stability! It starts under the outside of the foot at the lateral arch and travels up the side of the calf, along the side of the knee and then along the outside of the thigh where it makes a wide “Y” on the side of the hip catching tissue on the full curve of the hip bone. This tissue blends into the obliques and continues up, wrapping each rib in the same continuous line, until it gets to the collar bone where the fascia makes a connection into the side of the skull behind the ear. In this session you will be on your side, propped up with pillows so we can spread and release the tendency of this tissue to “over-stabilize.” Frequently knee problems start to get resolved when this lateral line gets attention.

Session Four

Session Four is our 3-D Session. We are not just a body that moves front and back. We turn and twist to reach the things we need and our body has a Spiral Line that stabilizes us in all the crazy ways we want to move. It makes a double helix pattern around body starting at back of the head. The muscles and fascia angle from behind the head, across to the opposite side of the shoulder blades where they meet up with the tissue under the arm, around the front to the external obliques, across the belly button to the internal obliques where the attach into the top of the hip. This spot on the hip called the Anterior Superior Illiac Spine is a type of “switching station” where lots of connective tissue lines arrive and depart from. From here the spiral travels down the side of the leg along the infamous “IT Band”, across the front of the shin, under the foot like a pair of stirrup pants, around to the side of the calf and then up along the lateral hamstring and back on to the sacrum where it follows the long line of the spine and back to the neck. Whew! We use this stabilizing spiral in many of our sports movements like throwing, hitting and jumping. It can also be a powerful rotator of the trunk. This session integrates and relates to all the other lines and is the final session of the “action”outer muscles and fascia.

Session Five

The next four sessions relate to the core of the body where our deep strength to hold up the body comes from. Session Five starts at the 4th side of the leg, the inner portion, running from the inside arch of the foot, up the calf and into the adductors up to the pelvic rim. This is an important side of the leg that rarely gets attention in most bodywork. The inside of the leg is a key to balancing and stabilizing the “foundation” of our structure. Sometimes it is the most sensationful session too. Good communication between us will give you the best results.

Session Six

Session Six picks up where we left off where the legs and the pelvis attach. Powerful muscle, tendon, and connective tissues cross this joint to give stability to a very movable joint and give support to the front side of the spine. We’ll be working all around the abdominals, psoas, and ribs with breath work and along the lumbar vertebrae to release the deeper holding patterns. We are moving away from true linear work and really focusing on where you are holding rotations and bends that you might not be aware of.

Session Seven

Session Seven focuses on the Pelvis from the back side. It is a somewhat deeper version of Session Two addressing the legs and glutes that might be keeping the pelvis from fully functioning in both walking and breathing. The pelvis is the bottom half of the “pump” and helps the diaphragm move the air more efficiently. Sessions 5, 6, and 7 are working together to prepare the best foundation possible for the head to balance on top.

Session Eight

The main goal of session Eight is to make sure the shoulders and the head are balanced. If the head is too far forward the forces of gravity will try to pull it down toward the chest. Anyone who works at a computer knows this powerful tendency! We’ll work all around the collar bone, sternum and arms, then move up to the face with some intraoral work (honestly, its better than the dentist!) and intranasal work which sounds worse than it is. It is an old osteopathic technique that touches the sinuses in a very calm manner. Many people have reported this work as surprisingly relaxing and helpful.

Session Nine

The last four sessions are all about function. In Session Nine we go back to the base of the body addressing any issues in the legs and pelvis on any Line necessary for you to feel fully functional in walking and moving in your daily life.

Session Ten

Session Ten integrates all the Lines from the pelvis up to the neck. More breathe work will ensure that your diaphragm and pelvis are functioning at optimum. If you do any kind of athletics you will really start to notice how much more stamina you have when these two are balanced and functional.

Session Eleven

When Ida Rolf was teaching she would often say that the arms got less attention than they deserved. When Tom Myers started digging deeper into the myofascial lines he discovered that the arms have Lines of their own that could really use some focused attention. The arms are completely dependent on muscles and big fascial sheets to keep them attached to the trunk. You could not do all the reaching, throwing and gripping without the support of these hard working connective tissues. Arms will get some attention in many of the session as we work around the ribs but this one is purely about how the arm moves and hangs on the body. I like to call this the Arm Detailing session.

Session Twelve

What else could we possibly do? This session is all about leaving you feeling complete about the work we have done. We are looking for balance on all four side of the body, checking joints for any lasting restrictions, and putting the final touches on your new equipment. Our goal all along has been to slowly and methodically bring your body into the most functional state that it could be. Over the next 3 to 6 months your brain and body will be working behind the scenes adjusting and integrating this “New Normal.”

After the Series

This series is a project with a beginning, middle and end. It is designed to create independence and get your body and the brain paying attention to each other. After 12 sessions you will be much more balanced and aware of where you are in space. This work can be addictive and hard to say good-bye to but you can always check back every 6 months or so to see how the changes are holding and see if any of your old “bad habits” have crept back into your body. We can’t really see all our sides in the mirror so it’s good to have a trained eye give us feedback.