“There is a pattern, an order, in human bodies… When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then spontaneously, the body heals itself.”
~Ida P. Rolf, PhD
What is Structural Integration (SI)?
Structural Integration is different type of bodywork than typical Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage. The focus is not really on the muscles, but rather on lengthening and reorganizing the fascia which is the connective tissue matrix of the human body. Dr. Ida Rolf developed Structural Integration with the intention to restore the body to its natural state of alignment and balance. She believed that form established function and found a recipe of fascial work to help bring the body back into order. When the structure of the body is put back into optimal patterns, general health and wellbeing will ensue.
What is Fascia?
Fascia surrounds and supports all of the muscles, bones and organs in your body in continuous web-like layers. This fascial net, or connective tissue matrix, is the body’s internal system of flexible support – giving it strength and shape. The fascial system responds to injury, chronic tension and habitual movement patterns by shortening from both the forces of gravity and the mechanical forces of habitual movement patterns.
Structural Integration is beneficial in that the fascia softens easily and helps to restore the body back to its vitality with longer-term results. With a 10 series, the body is approached from Superficial layers down into the Core. The liberation of the continuous fascia helps the body to move more freely and with ease. Patterns unwind and creativity can flow.
Is Structural Integration Comfortable?
A Structural Integration Session begins with light touch listening to the fascial tissues beneath the hands. We listen for movement and patterns underlying the skin throughout the many layers of the connective tissue. Once we have melded with the client’s body, we start to reawaken the fasica through different movements. It is a fascinating process as the tissues begin to enliven as more energy currents express themselves more fully within. At the same time, we often encounter stuck patterns where the tissues are adhering or not moving. If gentle listening and manipulation doesn’t work, we may move through the twists or shortening slowly in order to open those layers. With this said, if there is pain resting in the body’s fascia, the opening may feel uncomfortable. But the deep feeling of the discomfort usually opens the tissues into a whole new universe of aliveness. A good experienced Structural Integration Therapist will have a good intuition of what your body is saying. However, it is always respectful to dialogue and communicate about the pressure and sensation. This also promotes better clarity in cases when there are other issues that arise such as emotions and conflicting thoughts. Structural Integration is a creative holistic therapy and many different waves of feeling reveal themselves during a session.
What are the Benefits of Structural Integration
- Unlocks chronic stress patterns in the body.
- Creates better coordination.
- Enhances your overall health.
- Heightens sensation.
- Improves stamina.
- The body heals itself.
- Form becomes more ordered.
- Restores Order to the 3 dimensional body.
For a Visual Understanding of Structural Integration:
Common Question about Structural Integration:
What is the difference between Rolfing and Structural Integration?
Ida Rolf is the pioneer that truly brought attention to working with the fascia in a medical model sense. The Rolf Institute was the first school to bring this type of fascial bodywork to the world. Since that time, many qualified and experienced Rolfers went on their own and developed new ways to teach fascial work and these newer schools fall under the general term: Structural Integration. Some of the newer schools stick to Ida Rolf’s basic 10 series, and others have enhanced the sessions or changed them in ways that they find more efficient. Right now there is exciting new study and research going on in the field of fascia manipulation. The following is a link in case you are interested: http://www.fasciacongress.org . Sharon Hartnett studied at the school ISI many years ago, and has followed the original Rolfing series for those who are interested in staying aligned with the original recipe. For others who want to come on a weekly basis for fascial manipulation work, that is beneficial as well. With experience, Sharon Hartnett, LMT chooses to move through the tissues with a lighter approach. Yet the tissues are the key to what leads the session.