Anatomy Trains Structural Integration

is appropriate for anyone interested in change.

Some come to structural integration in order to increase efficiency for sport or profession.

Others are going through a maturation process in some aspect of their life and want their body to be included in the growth.

Many people come to this work because of pain and restrictions.

In the case of pain, restrictions and inefficiencies, the intent of this work is to get to the problem behind the immediate concern.

Over time, strain patterns – created by inefficient movement habits, poorly designed desks and telephones, invasive injury and surgery, our body’s response to traumatic events – are imprinted in our tissue. ATSI unwinds these long-held strain patterns which no longer serve you nor serve your body.

You can think of the ATSI series as a project – it is a process, not a panacea, of realigning your body, educating your kinesthetic sense, and reclaiming your whole, physical self from the negative, and at times alienating, effects of our lives and prevailing culture.

 

WHAT IS STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION? WHAT IS ATSI?

Dr. Ida Rolf’s pioneering work of Structural Integration (SI) is practiced today as old-world craft with 21st century comprehension of how our body structure works. Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (ATSI), as developed by Thomas Myers, is one of a number of schools under the umbrella of SI. The ATSI protocol for structural integration is based around Tom Myers’ Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians concept.

WHAT IS MYOFASCIA? 

The term myofascia indicates the inseparable nature of muscle tissue (myo-) and its integral web of connective tissue (fascia). The uniting fascial web is found throughout the body, weaving in, around and through our organs, blood, bones, and muscles. It is the major agent of support and posture; without fascia, like an orange without its juice vesicles or segment walls, we would end up as a not-so-sweet puddle at our own feet.

The continuous nature of fascia allows strain to be distributed along tensional lines, such as myofascial meridians, throughout the structure. The end result is increased structural efficiency, adaptability and resiliency, permitting sprinting, somersaults, and swan dives!

IF MYOFASCIA IS SO AMAZING, HOW DO PATTERNS OF STRAIN DEVELOP?

Even though our fascia is efficient – what in nature isn’t? – that doesn’t mean we express this efficiency through our posture and movements. Our bodies do the best with what we give them, and what begins as a simple gesture of response can become a neuromuscular habit. This habitual movement forms one’s distinct posture and movement patterns. Over time, the posture is maintained by real physical changes that lodge themselves into our structural fascia.

These changes are rarely for the better – anything that pulls us out of balance means that gravity is no longer a force for good, exponentially increasing its negative force the more out of balance we become. Even when we recognize our posture as inefficient, painful, or exhausting, willful attempts to correct it are more frustrating than fruitful. In fact, the attempt at “fixing” our posture only leads to increased tension – compensation begets compensation, and….more symptoms.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

First we must understand the body in terms of interactive parts that together are influenced by gravity. This is why in ATSI we do not treat shoulders, hips, backs, or necks – we treat people.  In fact, an ATSI practitioner may not immediately work where you are reporting symptoms as the patterns that feed that problem are body-wide, the roots often lying at some distance from the presenting problem.

Next we must awaken and release fascia from its long-held positions. Healthy, hydrated, mobile fascia coupled with simple movement re-patterning affords us the opportunity to change our gestures, habits and postures. Fascia is remarkably versatile.

When one is ready for lasting change and global balance – for something beyond short term symptom relief – fascia is the structure to affect.

HOW?

With time and your commitment, the ATSI 12 series invites you to this possibility of meaningful change.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SESSION

Bodyreading – Each session will begin and end with Robin looking at your body from the front, back and sides to determine overall structural balance. At the same time you will bring your attention to your body to sense how it feels.

Touch – Anatomically precise and depth specific, myofascial work uses a firm but sensitive touch. Strong sensations may arise as trauma or pain stored in the body is exposed, but imposing pain is not a part of this work. Together, you and Robin will determine where the pressure and intensity level should be for maximum benefit.

Movement – You will be asked to move during the application of the treatment. Your movement produces several benefits: it lessens the sensation by spreading it out, it engages your proprioceptive sense for integration, and it facilitates access to the correct layer of fascia.

Dialogue – Clear communication, enabling you to be present, awake, and curious, is an important element for the success of a session. As well, Robin wants to hear how the process is affecting you and your life, but respects that the amount and way in which you communicate this is highly individual.

What to wear – Men wear underwear or shorts; women wear underwear and bra or a two piece bathing suit. The structures of the body must be easily accessible for manual work so sports bras and large or bulky shorts are not recommended.

 

 

THE ATSI 12 SERIES EXPLAINED

Consisting of 12 consecutive sessions of combined manual and movement work, the series covers the vast majority of your body.

While the ATSI 12 series is comprehensive and detailed, there is ample room for distinct and customized strategies to address your unique history and needs.

The ATSI 12 series is comprised of a beginning, a middle, and an end:
Sessions 1-4 open
the superficial layers of your body, instilling a renewed sense of awareness, potential and balance
Sessions 5-8 address and release the deeply held core patterns, developing the neural re-patterning of movement and posture
Sessions 9-12 of the process integrate improved function into your work, rest, play, and life.

The overarching intent is to create the conditions where you are stable on your own, without a dependency on continued bodywork.

Here is what the Anatomy Trains website has to share about experiencing the ATSI sessions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I spread my sessions out?

Sessions are typically spaced one to two weeks apart, but we can stretch it to three weeks between sessions, to ease your budget or accommodate your busy schedule.

Can I come back after I finish my series?

After a significant pause of 3-12 months at the end of a series, when you’ve had enough time to let the work percolate through your system, your body will have reached a new state of equilibrium. At this point there will be greater benefit to receiving additional sessions than there would have been if we had just added the sessions to your original series. Indeed, you will know if and when it is time to come back.

Will I need to come back?

Not necessarily. You may need or simply want to come back. Everyone is different, but we all are subject to the normal bumps and bruises of life. After a traumatic injury or surgery, 3 or 6 sessions can help you reintegrate the injured area with the rest of your body. Also, people whose activities influence their posture in adverse ways – sitting at a computer, playing a musical instrument, or carrying a small child, for example – may benefit greatly from follow-up sessions. Our daily activities continue to shape us in a way that may reproduce some of the pain and discomfort we had before receiving the series. Other patients, or athletes already in top form, choose to return because the want another dose of change or a tune-up. They loved their experience, it felt so integrating, and they want to keep their bodies in good shape.

Who is contraindicated from completing the series?

ATSI may not be appropriate for you if you have been recently diagnosed with a chronic illness or are experiencing an inflammatory flare in an already diagnosed chronic disease. Similarly, pregnant women are undergoing plenty of physical changes and do not need the addition of the ATSI series. To determine if ATSI is contraindicated for you, please contact Robin.

RESOURCES

International Association of Structural Integrators

ATSI: Anatomy Trains Structural Integration