For years, Isaac Osborne suffered chronic back pain from two bad car accidents. While he was living in Hawai‘i, his search for relief led him to Emmett Hutchins at the Guild for Structural Integration. Starting in the 1960s, Hutchins had for many years worked directly with Dr. Ida Rolf, the Columbia University biochemist who developed Structural Integration, more popularly known as Rolfing. After Hutchins helped heal Osborne’s back, he mentored him through guild training and his own start-up in 1999.
Osborne moved his practice, Motion Unlimited, to Santa Barbara in 2009, and he recently launched Body Align Pro, a health-and-fitness app for iPhone and iPad that tracks a person’s progress through physical therapy with still photography, video, and image superimposition.
For me — suffering a newly fractured T1 vertebra (bodysurfing) on top of an old collarbone snap (snowboarding) — Osborne’s treatment program included the breaking of scar tissue and its attendant off-kilter muscle memory while creating proper skeletal symmetry through posture therapy and exercise. It worked, and Osborne has the pictures and video to prove it. My before shots depict a slouched frame with a compromised range of motion. A few months later, I’m upright, better aligned and balanced, and I move more efficiently, from the ground up.
Very early on, Structural Integration practitioners clicked Polaroid photos to document client progress, but the documenting technique became cumbersome with digital cameras daisy-chained to desktop computers. Then the iPad came out. That’s when Osborne saw opportunity in its built-in camera and big touch screen.
“What I love about using the app in my practice is watching people light up with the changes they see,” Osborne said. “It’s really helpful to show a person what their body looks like in relationship to gravity, a key component to improving posture. With the app I’m able to take photos and videos so we have a before marker to work from; then as we go through treatment, we can compare new photos and video to see the results of change.”