Frequently Asked Questions
What is it?
Structural Integration is a hands-on method of changing the structure of the body so that it is aligned with gravity.
Through this process the body becomes longer, more upright, and better balanced. The movement becomes more fluid and efficient. Flat feet will begin to develop arches. Bow legs and knock knees become straighter. A swayed lower back becomes straighter and more supportive. Scoliosis can improve. Shoulders that are pulled forward will naturally rest in a more balanced position. And a neck and head that are craned forward will balance in a more upright position. These are just a few examples.
This does not happen by efforting to hold the body in a different posture, but by literally by changing the structure of the body, so that when it is relaxed, the body will tend towards this alignment, requiring much less effort to move and remain upright. As a result, it takes less energy to sit, stand, and walk; and more free energy is available.
How does it do this?
Structural Integration works hands-on with the fascia of the body. The fascia is connective tissue that wraps around and through muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and organs, supporting and holding everything together, and determining the structure of the body. The fascia will shorten and thicken to give the body support for injuries, imbalances, overuse, sitting in poor chairs, working at a computer, postural habits, emotional holding patterns, birth trauma, or even the position one was in while in utero. By working slowly with this tissue, we lengthen and reorganize it so that the body can better align itself, having more freedom and ease of movement, more breath, and freedom from pain.
How does this relate to pain and discomfort?
The fascia shortens and thickens to hold things together. So, as an example, if the head (which weighs 15-20 pounds), is not well aligned and sits forward even a few inches from vertical - the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back have to work non-stop all day to keep it there. No wonder one's neck might hurt! The fascia then permanently knits together to hold this, or any other structural imbalance, together. After ten sessions, these muscles will be soft and pliable, and the head will be able to balance more vertically so the body will need to expend little effort to carry its weight. This is just one example; the same is true all through the body ~ lower back, hips, knees, feet and ankles, arms and shoulders, etc.
Does it hurt?
I work with enough pressure to create the changes, but not so much that the person can't relax into it. Sometimes it is uncomfortable for a moment or two, as old, stuck places in the body start to open up, and then it feels better after. Everyone is different, so I try to work in a way that works best for each client. If the client finds the work painful, I simple work more gently, so the person can relax into the work, and the tissue can change.
How many sessions does it take? Does it last?
The work begins with a series of ten sessions, that allow us to make changes in the whole structure. After the basic ten series, the client will have significant changes, and sometimes feel like they are living in a new body. So at that point we will take a couple months or so to let the body integrate the changes. After that, it not necessary to repeat the series, and we can instead continue into advanced work, building on the existing changes. In terms of the specific structural challenges that so many people face, it varies depending on the person and the challenges. Some things will totally resolve after a few sessions, and some things improve more gradually. Many people will try the first session, to see if the if they like the work, before deciding to do the basic series. This works well, as the person will get some lasting change from the session, as well as a feeling for where the process is going.
Who would benefit?
Anyone, from a few days old to many years old, who lives in gravity.
How long are the sessions, and how much do they cost?
$200 per session. Cash or check.
Where can I find out more?
To read further about Structural Integration, I encourage you to explore:
The Guild for Structural Integration ( http://rolfguild.org/ ) - Where I received my trainingThe Rolf Institute of Structural Integration ( http://www.rolf.org/ ) - Another of the main schools for SI
Feel free to call me with any questions (707-888-7444).