A Look at Fascia and Tensegrity
The Human Body is a Tensegrity Structure.
Tensegrity structures evenly absorb shock and compression. Dr. Rolf proposed that the human body is a tensegrity structure that can adapt and distribute movement, trauma and shock throughout the whole system. In Structural Integration the tensegrity view of the body helps us understand how the body works and how it compensates.
Fascia is a seamless web of connective tissue found throughout your body. It wraps around every muscle, bone, organ, nerve and blood vessel and holds the body together. It creates a three-dimensional web of support that facilitates - or inhibits - your ability to function and move. Thickened areas of fascia transmit strain in many directions and make their influence felt at distant points, much like a snag in a sweater distorts the entire sweater.
This fibrous web of tissue is located under your skin - collagen and elastin fibers give fascia its shape and structure. The fibers line up based on lines of force in the body. Repetitive motion, overuse, and injury cause the fibers to become disorganized, which prevents smooth movement. For example, if your hamstrings are tight, it might not be because they are over contracted - it might be because the fascial fibers are lined up at odd angles instead of lined up in a way that allows the muscle to move smoothly. This can cause tightness and restriction in movement. The condition of your fascia is important because its communications coordinate muscular actions. There is more efficiency and ease of motion when your fascia is healthy and the fibers are aligned.
By combining her knowledge of fascia with the principles of tensegrity, Dr. Ida P Rolf created the Ten Series of Structural Integration. All of the sessions served her purpose of visibly transforming each body in its relation to gravity. Each session is tailored to the structural needs of each individual person.
“Fascia is the organ of posture. The body is a web of fascia. A spiderweb is in a plane. This web is in a sphere. We can trace the lines of that web to get an understanding of how what we see in a body works.”
Ida P. Rolf, PhD