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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Akins

Integration of Movement/Posture: A Dynamic Adaptive Process Model

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

I wrote this thesis as part of my undergraduate degree at Portland State University. It’s dated now and was written in a dry, academic style. I’m sharing it here for posterity.

I strongly recommend checking out my 2018 IASI Yearbook article instead—it's intended as an update of and replacement for this thesis. The 2018 article features a revision of the diagram in this paper, a more conversational style, and all the points and citations from the original.


Akins - 2016 - Integration of MovementPo
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Akins, D. (2016). Integration of movement/posture: A dynamic adaptive process model. PDX Scholar University Honors Theses. Retrieved from



Structural Integration (SI) is a process of manual therapy and sensorimotor education that aims to facilitate sustainable improvement in whole-body biomechanical functioning and a sense of ease and coherence in normal movement/posture. Traditional and currently widespread explanations for the physiological mechanisms underlying SI theory and practice have focused on notions of fascial tissue change and postural alignment, while recent challenges to these explanations advocate a shift away from these interests toward a neurocentric model that emphasizes movement, pain, and biopsychosocial factors. SI seeks to professionalize and become an auxiliary to healthcare, so it must embrace scientific standards while maintaining its nature as a whole-body somatic education practice. Since the phenomena with which SI is concerned are complex and multifactorial, any explanatory model that focuses on a single physiological mechanism or system is insufficient. This paper attempts to define key terms and proposes an explanatory model that portrays the integration of movement/posture as a dynamic adaptive process consisting of complex interactions between various physiological systems at multiple levels of scale, and each aspect of the model is examined in terms of scientific evidence.

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