“Go around the problem; get the system sufficiently resilient so that it is able to change, and it will change. It doesn't have to be forced. It's that forcing that you have to avoid at all costs.” - Dr. Ida Rolf
Through the lens of Structural Integration (SI), discrete structures like bones, blood vessels, nerves, and organs float while tethered in our intermixing layers of connective tissue. The work of SI teaches the connective tissue to once again relate to the invisible vertical axis that goes through the center of our body, and as a byproduct, this process organizes the discrete structures into their appropriate orientation and alignment. In utero, this line forms many times over along the phases of development. Each organ has its own midline from which it develops outwards as our cells organize in the womb. Each bony segment forms along its center line, and our central nervous system wraps around itself as it grows around the empty tube in the middle of it. Most of our discrete structures, except for blood vessels, develop in relationship to their central axis. Blood vessels develop differently, and they adapt to change in the body more easily than other structures. The lining of blood vessels form in response to the centripetal force of blood consistently marking the same pathway as it migrates into different areas of the body. This occurs in utero and life on land.
The mesoderm, which is the precursor to our fascial network in the embryo, forms by growing symmetrically outwards along two sides of the midline of the embryonic disc. It becomes a vertical line of cells separating two other layers of cells, the endoderm and ectoderm. At the fourth week of growth, the three layers begin to expand at different rates creating ridges and hollows inside the shape of the disc. The mesoderm wraps around both layers and fills in all the spaces where the ectoderm and endoderm have grown away from it. The embryo folds in on itself in many directions simultaneously, and the thicker layer of mesoderm between the ecto and endoderm forms the fulcrums around which the cells fold together. Later, the mesoderm gives rise to the tissue types that have the capacity to contract and relax. This layer, seemingly separate parts in adulthood, still knows how to morph into the space provided, and pull away from that space when needed. The mesoderm eventually becomes muscle, blood, connective tissue, and some organs such as the heart and kidneys.
In adulthood, the whole-body organ of fascia, once the mesoderm, still knows about this central axis and continuously balances around it. You can see this balancing act happen when someone loses their footing and regains it. An unconscious whole-body orchestration occurs for the person to remain vertical. Empirical evidence from Structural Integration suggests that when people reestablish this line, all the systems in the body begin to function better.