• William E. Leigh III

Structural Integration and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Session by Session.

Updated: May 22, 2019

In TCM most of the important acupuncture points are found in the areas of knees to feet and elbows to the hand. It is stated that the meridian qi is more available in these areas. Furthermore, the strongest tonification or energy increasing points are found at the knees to feet level; and the strongest points for releasing stagnant meridian qi are found in the area of the elbows to the hands.


Although there is not a direct comparison between Structural Integration (SI)and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it can be shown that important aspects overlap. What follows is a session by session comparison of Structural Integration and Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Session 1: Breath


This session is designed to introduce the qualities of to work of SI to the patient and clearly demonstrate that SI is different than massage and extremely effective. The goals of session 1 to increases the depth of respiratory movement of ribs and the soft tissues connecting the shoulder girdle to rib cage. Furthermore this session aims to free the connection of the hips to the pelvis.

To accomplish these aims the practitioner works the lateral aspect of hips and thigh, hamstrings, lateral and frontal aspect of shoulders, and anterior rib cage.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this relates to empowering the creation of Zhong Qi.


The Zhong Qi is one of the primary types of qi in TCM. Zong Qi has the following functions:

Nourishes the Heart and Lungs and forms the basis for the involuntary functions of heartbeat and respiration.

Zong Qi (Gathering Qi) assists the Lungs in controlling Qi and respiration and the heart's function of governing the Blood and Blood Vessels. If Zong Qi (Gathering Qi) is weak, the extremities, especially the hands, will be weak or cold.

Gathers in the throat and influences speech (which is under control of the Heart) and the strength of voice (under control of Lungs). Strength of Zong Qi can be determined from the health of Heart, Lungs, and from circulation and voice. Weak Zong Qi: Weak voice, weak circulation to hands.

Easily affected by emotional problems. For example, grief weakens the Lungs and disperses energy in chest.

Zong Qi and Yuan Qi mutually assist each other. Zong Qi flows downward to aid the Kidneys. Yuan Qi flows upward to aid in respiration (and the formation of Zong Qi). Copy from Sacred Lotus website. https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/foundations-chinese-medicine/get/forms-of-qi-life-force


Although this session aims to open the lungs, it also begins to build the relationship of the pelvis. This is important to Zhong qi because Yuan qi is created in the pelvis then rises upward to promote respiration. SI and TCM both see the body as a dynamically balanced holistic structure where each part is in relationship with the others.




Session 2: Foundation


Session 2 is focused on the feet and works to build ones foundation and relationship with the earth. The SI practitioner works to increase consistency of soft-tissue pliability in feet, ankles, and knees, increasing the support they provide the upper body. This work also enhances the spatial relationship between the central nervous system and the feet. During session 2 the practitioner works all parts of the knee, calf and feet.


In TCM most of the important acupucture points are found in the areas of knees to feet and elbows to the hand. It is stated that the meridian qi is more available in these areas. Furthermore, the strongest tonification or energy increasing points are found at the knees to feet level; and the strongest points for releasing stagnant mereidian qi are found in the area of the elbows to the hands.


From a TCM perspective, session 2 from structural integration strongly tonifies the whole physiology. Session 2 increases the qi and blood flow and enhances ones overall sense of health.



Session 3: Transition.


Session 3 The practitioner works the lateral aspects of body from hip to shoulder one at a time. The practitioner gives each lateral line the work it needs to increase balance and performance. he practitioner releases the fascia of the sides of the body allowing increased dynamism from front to back and from side to side. We often bend from front to back. When we are standing,the anterior and posterior lines are straight. When sitting, the anterior and posterior lines are bent. We rarely concern ourselves with intentionally bending our bodies from side to side. Session 3 releases the fascia of the sides of our bodies. This allows the front and back planes to move independently of each other and also increases our ability to bend sideways or rotate our spine. Also, this session aims to increase the freedom of movement between the pelvis and shoulders giving a sense of increased freedom of motion.


This side line corresponds to the Shao Yang meridian. When you look at pictures of the Shao Yang meridian it is not usually drawn in a straight line like most of the other meridians. The Shao Yang meridian loosly follows the diagonal bands of the abdominal musculature. Also the Shao Yang meridian is understood to be the connection between the Yin and Yang meridians. This is the connection from the exterior to the deeper aspects of the physiology. TCM states that as disease increases, it passes from the exterior (Yang) to the interior (Yin) through the Shao Yang meridian.


This transformation from outside to inside is also sees in SI. Session 4 represents the beginning of working with the core musculature and session 3 finishes the process of remodeling the shell. In this way, session 3 represents the transition level in both SI and TCM.


Sessions: 4 5 and 6 and the Yin Meridians.

In Structural Integration, sessions 4, 5, and 6 represent working with the core musculature of the physiology. Often when we think of core musculature, we only think of our abdominal muscles. Structural integration has a much more profound prospective. The core musculature consists of the groups of the abdominals, diaphragm, adductors, psosas, pelvic floor, external rotators of the legs, quadratus lumborum, and deep instinsic layer of the back and spine.


Session 4. This session begins with restructuring the glutes and IT band following the pattern of session 3, then transitions to working the internal line. The primary aim of this session is to reduce fascial adhesion and fibrosis then remodel the musculature of the adductors, deep rotators and pelvic floor. This session is considered the most unsettling of all the sessions for a couple of reasons. The major lymphatic chains follow the adductors, and this session is often quite uncomfortable for the client. Also, this session releases the musculature of the deep rotators and pelvic floor. Because we spend so much time sitting, our pelvic floor and deep rotators are often exceptionally week and fibrotic. Also, it is rare that this area is ever touched my another person. As the SI practitioner works to release the adhesion and fibrosis, he wakes up this musculature from its dormancy. After the session the client has mixed feelings of losing his old sense of foundation and now has an increased sense of personal vitality. It is important for the client to begin the fifth session in a short amount of time to continue to give structure to this awakening vitality.


Session 5: This session aims to elongate and provide a sense of lift to the front line.

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Session 6: This session aims to elongate and provide a sense of lift to the posterior line.

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The Yin Meridians are named Shao Yin, Tai Yin and Jue Yin and they relate to the TCM perspective of the Spleen, Kidney and Liver organs. There are many


Session 7: The head.


Session 8 and 9: Integration


Session: Arms


Session 10: Joints and conclusion.







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