I want to know more. What is really going on?
Going back to our earlier example of a stress-free day, it was easy because things just slotted nicely into place. Well, so too with the human body. Fascia, the body's soft connective tissue network, enables the many layers of muscle to slide over each other without fuss. When you move, be it simply walking or a complicated athletic manoeuvre, you are generally able to complete these tasks without noticing the minutiae of your muscles' complicated processes. Pick up any physiology textbook and you'll soon realise it ain't easy being a body.
When things go wrong (as in our other work example), the body has to work much harder just to get the simplest of tasks done. It doesn't matter if it was injured from an accident, long-term bad posture, or general day-to-day grievances taking their toll, the tissues become stressed too. Instead of sliding, we now see the muscles sticking together and shortening, which makes movement harder and less agile. These areas no longer support the body and pull it out of alignment, compressing it and this is when you start to notice it: it hurts.
Once one area has been affected, there is a knock-on effect throughout the body; other muscles are recruited to help perform the tasks you are asking the injured ones to perform, to limit further damage to that area. However, often these compensatory muscles 'forget' to return to form and can stay stretched, doing the wrong job. Joints can get compressed and movement is further limited.
Structural Integration aims to unglue all the sticky areas and restore a more normal level of fluidity throughout the fascial network, allowing the muscles to be engaged far more effectively. Once the tightened fascia is released, it creates space within the body, and every tissue's job becomes easier. The idea is to create a central axis around which the body can freely move.