Sarah's New Adventure

Hello everyone, Sarah, here. Some of you may know that I was accepted into a Structural Integration Certification program earlier this year. I think I told just about all those that I encountered because it is a massive step for me and the progression of my career as a massage therapist moving into the role of Structural Integrator. Not to mention that the entire program is held very far from home in Walpole, Maine. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither before applying to the program called Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (ATSI). I wanted to share with you all a little about my trip for Phase I before I head out for Phase II next week; There are three phases with a total of 5 classes that I will be attending from September 2019-June 2020.

I drove the long way up to Maine with my husband. We were able to make it a road trip type of adventure and I ended up driving the whole way through. This took about 23 hours in total! Just a few hours, right? Although it was a long, arduous journey, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the sites and immersing in the wild nature views. It was also great getting to steal away some time with the husband.

The actual ATSI class is held in the upstairs yoga studio of someone's home. They were gracious enough to loan out this space for the duration of the program and in the future phases. The class space is a grand open room with large picture windows on all sides so that views of the grounds are always available. In total, there were 27 students, and six teachers to help us progress through the techniques.

This first phase of training is called Structural Essentials. There was an anatomy lecture and then multiple breaks of hands-on technique instruction and practice. Like in most bodywork fields, students practiced these new skills on fellow students and then traded. Learning to think in terms of fascia and lines of function was a little challenging for me. Throughout much of massage school and even in other continuing education courses, massage therapists are taught the body in separate individual muscles or muscle groups, not so much as a whole unit that is inevitably interconnected. This new 'everything is connected' way of thinking has started to sink in and become how I now view the body. The main goals of this first phase were:

1: To introduce us to ATSI anatomical fascial ways

2: Learning to engage the fascial layers being targeted

3: Learning to body read/visually assess positional body patterns

4: To test each student on this knowledge and skillset before granting admissions to the second phase of the certification process

After written and practical hands-on testing, the 168-hour course of Phase I is complete. I have been granted the opportunity to continue for the second phase and will leave this coming week. After driving the 23 hours up to Walpole, Maine, and then driving home, the most direct route still took a hefty 16 hours to trek back to North Carolina. On this next trip and subsequent ones following, I will be flying round trip. As lovely as the time spent on the road was, I am greatly looking forward to embarking on much shorter trips. I cannot wait to get there to expand my skills and knowledge more so that I may bring it all back home to put to good use with clients. Here I come, Phase II ATSI!