Integrated fascial techniques or IFT is a series of courses founded and taught by renowned Massage Therapist and instructor Natale Rao from British Columbia Canada. Also from BC and following in his footsteps is Heather Gittens who has collaborated her expertise with Natale instructing IFT in Canada and Mexico. This series of courses teaches us how to treat fascia throughout the body and how to integrate myofascial (the manipulation of connective tissue), craniosacral (the manipulation of cranial bones), and visceral (the manipulation of organs) techniques to affect change, and to treat the body as a whole. Mobilizing the various types of fascia helps support muscles, joints and viscera allowing practitioners to identify and treat the root of your issues and not just the symptoms. These RMT’s use both mobility and motility methods of assessment and treat using direct and indirect fascial techniques. Practitioners who have taken the IFT series, study anatomy, structure & function, using an approach that is osteopathic, considering all the tissue layers & the relationships between them.
Considering this technique is based on the manipulation of fascia, it is beneficial to have an understanding of what fascia is and how it functions. Fascia or connective tissue is sometimes referred to as the glue of the body. Made primarily of collagen fibers, it attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and internal organs. These fibers resemble a three dimensional spider web that can be oriented in a pattern parallel to direction of pull. Fascia is consequently flexible and able to resist great unidirectional tension forces. It is classified as superficial, deep, visceral, parietal, by its function or anatomical location and also makes up our ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons throughout the body. Fascia has also been described as a complete body suit that runs from the top of our heads to the tip of our toes with no beginning or end. This is an important factor, considering that if you were to damage your fascia in one area then it can affect a distant area, even years later.