What the heck is Slings Myofascial Training?

So, I received this question in class last week (thanks Sarah!).  It's one I often dread to answer as I find it incredibly difficult to explain!  It leads to more questions and more explanations and I struggle to answer this succinctly.  For those who want to know more, I'm going to give it my best try....

I need to start at the very beginning when I went to uni to study psychology and then a few years later, sports science.  Anatomy and Physiology obviously featured heavily in both of those degrees but this was based on the framework of a reductionist model for anatomy.  What used to happen was in dissection (where anatomists learnt how the body was connected), was that the muscles were the main focus and only until the last couple of decades, the connective tissue or fascia, was routinely removed and discarded (REALLY!  In. The. Bin!) so that anatomists could study the origin and insertion of muscle tissue, the direction of pull and how the muscles transmitted force throughout the body (with little or no consideration to our connective tissue network).

This led to years of muscular focused training - not just at the gym like you might expect but most definitely at Pilates!  Pilates has been criticized in the past and rightly so in my opinion!  'Old school' Pilates can be incredibly compressive, muscularly dominant and unbalanced. 

Thankfully some anatomists became interested in this connective tissue and began to study it holistically, along with it's connections to muscle tissue and our bones. 

What a completely different picture of structure and function it gave!

Slings Myofascial Training is based on this new and holistic model called Integral Anatomy and uses the pioneering work of anatomist and body worker, Tom Myers and his Anatomy Trains model as it's foundation.  Tom developed a method of bodywork (like massage but different), now called Structural Integration in which a therapist relieves patterns of tension in the body and replaces them with feelings of ease and comfort, through a very specific understanding of how our muscle and connective tissue together, transmit force through the body.

Slings is a self empowering modality which is one of the reasons I adore it so much. Rather than seeing a therapist for a treatment session, Slings gives people the tools to carry out their own structural integration/bodywork through movement.  By that I mean the client becomes a bit like their own therapist (under the guidance of their Slings Myofascial Trainer) and using specific exercises, co-ordinated in specific sequences, and often using very specific props (yes, our special, soft, red spiky balls!).  They are able to themselves, relieve their own patterns of tension within their own body and replace them with ease, strength and resilience.   

While at Sense of Space we combine Slings with our beloved background of Contemporary Pilates, Slings is a modality all of it's own that can applied to anything from physiotherapy, to dance, to gym training, to yoga and Pilates.  

We are incredibly fortunate to have such a close relationship with art of motion academy and be able to bring this life enhancing method to each and every one of you.