KMI (Kinesis Myofascial Integration) is a type of therapy that works on the body’s connective tissue, or fascia, to improve postural alignment and breathing, and provide greater ease of movement. Connective tissue covers and connects all the muscles in the body, and ultimately gives the body its shape. Over time as stresses, injuries and strains affect the body, the connective tissue reacts to provide more support where needed, getting thicker and gluing itself to surrounding structures. The silhouettes of photos on the right show how over the course of twelve sessions the connective tissue can be loosened and the body re-aligned.
By systematically covering the whole body, structural integration is often able to solve chronic musculoskeletal problems where other treatments have failed. For example, pain in a knee or hip may be due to imbalances in the joint that are caused by misalignment elsewhere in the body, such as the foot arches, ankles, rib cage or neck. Connective tissue creates the structure of the body, and addressing its restrictions is often the quickest way to change long-held patterns of posture and movement.
KMI can also have an effect on sporting performance. One of its goals is to free restrictions in the rib cage and allow a greater depth of breathing. Thus more oxygen can be taken into the body and transported to the muscles. The process eases restrictions across joints and integrates movement, helping to re-align and correct patterns that may have limited optimal function. With fewer restrictions in the body, less energy is required to move the limbs, so more economical movement patterns can be used to generate greater power and endurance.
KMI is usually performed as a series of twelve sessions, each targeting a different area of the body. It eases restrictions in the fascia, which surrounds all muscles, bones and organs, restoring balance across joints and ultimately aligning the body in gravity. By the end of the series of twelve sessions you should feel that your body is able to move with less effort and greater fluidity, that you are more aware of your body and you know how to make small adjustments which have a large effect on your comfort in sitting and standing. It is designed as a series of treatments with an end point, unlike many other therapies which may continue indefinitely. Fascia that has been lengthened remains that way for several months, and with a new level of body awareness it should be possible to maintain the changes over a lifetime.
Each session begins with assessment of the body, either in standing or in movement, and the sessions are usually carried out with the client in underwear or swimwear. The treatment is a process in which the client actively participates, creating movement as the practitioner works on the fascia. It should create a feeling of satisfying tissue release, sometimes described as a melting feeling. On areas where the fascia is restricted release can cause some pain, however this is under control of the client at all times.
As each body presents its own individual pattern, structural integration affects people in a variety of ways. In some there are noticeable physical changes; in others the changes are felt by the recipient but are less obvious to observe. There are often energetic changes, such as increased alertness, and potentially emotional changes, given that posture is often linked to emotional well-being.
The type of structural integration practiced here is Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI), as developed by Tom Myers. It is based on his Anatomy Trains concept, in which he has identified a series of lines of fascia that link muscles, traversing the body in a longitudinal direction. These are tensional lines and help to identify how stability and strain are transmitted from one area of the body to another. The techniques of KMI Structural Integration are based on the work of Dr. Ida Rolf.
More information on structural integration can be found via the links below:
International Assocation of Structural Integrators, including a good summary of Structural Integration.
Tom Myers’ Kinesis Myofascial Integration and Anatomy Trains
UK Directory of Structural Integration