Integration of Movement/Posture: A Dynamic Adaptive Process Model

I wrote this thesis as part of my undergraduate degree at Portland State University. It’s a bit dated now, and was pretty dry to begin with, but I’m sharing it here for posterity.

If you’re interested, I strongly recommend checking out my 2018 IASI Yearbook article instead. The Yearbook article is based on a presentation transcript, so the language is more conversational. I edited the transcript to include all the detail and citations from the original thesis, and revised the diagram which is the focus of the paper. The 2018 article is intended as a replacement for the original thesis.

APA Citation

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.