What to expect in your session of Structural Integration
Structural Integration is an interactive soft tissue manipulation technique. It is usually completed in 10 sessions, but can be used in individual sessions as well. Each session is performed based on your body’s needs and structure. During these sessions your therapist will be applying precise pressure, depth, and direction to your fascial tissue – utilizing his hands arms, elbows and knuckles.
During your first session, we’ll learn about your personal goals and begin to formulate a plan to help you achieve them.
You may be asked about your medical or physical history and whether you’ve have you had any surgeries and or broken bones, if you’re currently taking any medication, or being treated for a certain disease.
Your practitioner will be examining your body for patterns of imbalances in your posture (while seated, standing, and walking) During this time he/she may also be observing your breathing patterns.
You may be instructed to make certain movement patterns during the session, which may need to be performed while you are walking, sitting, standing, or lying down. Additionally, we may ask you to walk or move around to process the work that was just performed.
After each session, your therapist may give you some structural awareness exercises as homework between sessions to help you explore your newly positioned body. These exercises will enhance the work done during the day’s session and bring you to a deeper awareness of your body and your new movement patterns.
Benefits of Structural Integration
What does Structural Integration feel like? Will it hurt?
When this modality was first being introduced in the 60’s, by Ida Rolf, it gained the reputation of being painful. We have had over 60 years to improve and enhance the work. While the application of pressure is needed for treatment it’s not meant to be painful or uncomfortable.
There are some areas of the body that are more sensitive than others and those areas may vary from person to person. You and your practitioner will be in communication about what pressure or technique is, or is not, right for you.
Any discomfort or intensity felt is usually mild and generally followed by a sudden feeling of improved mobility. Your therapist will work with you to make sure that you leave the session feeling longer, more energized and ready for the world!
How is Structural Integration different from Massage?
Massage therapy is excellent for stress reduction, promoting blood flow, and treating specific areas of the body for pain management.
Structural integration focuses on organizing the whole body so it can achieve a relaxed alignment in gravity. Structural integration incorporates new and more efficient movement patterns so that your body learns to expand from its core.
A balanced body allows you to put less load and compression on your joints and spine. The 10 series brings a deeper awareness of your body, so that you can continue to make beneficial changes in your posture and movement patterns. This allows you to understand your movements better and therefore do the activities that you love with less effort and less pain.
How will it help me as an athlete?
The Rolf Method of Structural Integration addresses the needs of the physically active to enhance strength and flexibility, and for injury avoidance and or recovery. Studies have shown that it has improved quality of life, and functional changes in domains, such as mobility and self-care of world-class professionals to weekend enthusiasts.
This massage is most effective for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system. Regular activity of any kind can cause a build-up of tension in muscles and can lead to additional stress on joints, ligaments, and tendons. Received regularly, this bodywork can help athletes prevent injury, which may otherwise occur due to overuse. It can also be very effective when received post-injury in order to promote healing and speed recovery.
The more rigorous demands of extreme or continuous activity may call for more advanced sessions, but there is no need to be an athlete to feel the benefits from this work. Everyone from the outdoorsman, full-time parents, or stressed executives, can benefit from the reduction in muscle fatigue and stress.
This therapy is for the competitive at heart.
If you are looking for an advantage in your sport or to just feel more focused and ready for action, this modality is for you!
Will it help me avoid surgery or recover faster if I’ve had surgery?
Your Structural Integration Practitioner is trained to help prevent the worsening of chronic physical injuries and facilitate healing, as well as speed recovery after any surgical operation. When it comes to these situations, it's best to see your doctor first; to get testing done, and get a diagnosis. Afterward, whether you decide to go through surgery or not, this therapy can help you heal faster and have less pain/discomfort.
Pre-surgery therapy is focused primarily on range of motion and joint mobility. Better range of motion before surgery means better range of motion after. Post-surgery, there are typically limitations on the use of affected joints for anywhere from two to twelve weeks. During this time, healthy tissues may start to deteriorate and become atrophied. The goal is to get the surrounding tissues in the best shape possible before they are used in movement.
Range of motion and the quality of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments (both injured and non-injured) are important to any recovery.
If you are recovering from a procedure or trying to avoid having surgery, this is your chance. Prolong the need for that knee replacement or recover quickly if you have already gone through the trauma. Many clients say that the Rolf Method of Structural Integration is more like Physical Therapy than it is like massage.
How does Structural Integration work?
The Structural Integration modality focuses on the relationship between the body and gravity. All muscles are given form by connective tissue, and the connective tissue 'remembers' positions that it assumes frequently over time. When poor movement and posture habits go un-addressed the long-term effect is that the muscles become bound and pull each other, and the bones they are linked to, out of alignment.
For example, overly tight muscles in the front of the neck and chest can pull the head and shoulders forward over time, which makes their center of gravity move forward as well. Now, muscles of the posterior neck and upper back will need to exert constant effort to fight gravity, keeping the head and shoulders from 'falling' forward.
Have you ever held your arm out a car window like a wing? When you open your palm to the wind, it pushes against your hand with more force. The same way the wind drags against your open hand is the way gravity drags on an unbalanced body. Chances are you don't have to try too hard to remember the feeling of strain and tension that gravity can cause in your neck and back.
Your therapist will utilize Structural Integration principles and establishes an optimally alignment of all the body segments within gravity. Instead of the head and shoulders 'falling' forward, gravity will pull them down through the optimal pathways of the spine through to the feet -- now, the bones carry the weight and the muscles are freed from imbalance.
Gravity in this case works in harmony with the body by distributing an even amount of weight through the proper skeletal pathways.
If you work at a desk, do a lot of driving or have repetitive movement in your day, this is your ticket. Learn to understand your posture and the ergonomics that may help you stay loose and make better use of your body. Many clients say that the Rolf Method of Structural Integration is more like Physical Therapy than it is like massage.