Structural Integration

Scoliosis treated by
'The Guild for Structural Integration'

What is Structural Integration?

Dr. Ida P. Rolf, the founder of this work, named her work Structural Integration. Her work is also commonly known as Rolfing, a nickname that was coined in the 1960's when she was teaching her work at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.

Structural Integration has greatly evolved over the last 30 years. Rather than forcing the body to change, the approach is now based upon the tolerance of the client, pressure speed is designed to slowly 'melt' fascial restrictions with repetative techniques to encourage fascial change. It is a scientifically validated process of restructuring the body through movement, deep tissue repatterning, and education.

What is connective tissue?

Fascia, or connective tissue, is considered the "organ of form" in the body. It is a very tough, strong, and fibrous tissue in the body. All of our muscles, organs, nerves, and blood vessels are ensheathed in connective tissue.

Tendons and ligaments, the pulleys and levers of the body, are made up of connective tissue. When connective tissue is healthy it is pliable and elastic, it allows the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten and lengthen with flexibility. When imbalances exist within the body, the health of the connective tissue is effected.

Unhealthy connective tissue is thicker, harder and much less resilient. It becomes dehydrated and it shortens - this significantly effects how our muscles and joints function, and ultimately how we feel.

Chronic neck pain, back aches, stiffness and discomfort in the body are often the result these structural imbalances. In the long run, postural distortions are noticeable (hunch back, scoliosis, lordosis).

The interesting thing about connective tissue is that it has the unique ability to change form. It has a plastic like quality. Heat and pressure from the practitioner's hands, combined with tissue lengthening and restructuring will inhibit the connective tissues to soften and reconstruct properly from before. This also promotes healthy tissue unwinding and noursihed tissue cells because of its reduced amount of tension upon its surrounding structures.

What causes postural distortions?

The stress of daily living, or slouching in front of a computer desk is enough to create unhealthy/unbalanced patterns in our structure. Injuries often are the main culprit to postural distortions for example, when we sprain an ankle, the first thing we do is change our movement pattern in order to favor the injured side. We compensate by shifting our weight to the uninjured side. This changes how gravity flows through our structure as well as changing the flow of energy, blood, lymph, and neural information throughout the entire system. These patterns remain in the soft tissue memory long after the ankle heals, affecting both our structure and function.

What are the benefits of Structural Integration?

Does Structural Integration Last?

Yes, Once the body moves into a place of greater comfort and balance, it wants to stay there! Photographs taken years after clients have completed the basic ten series show that the changes were still present and the structure had often improved further.

How many sessions will I need?

It depends on the severity of your situation. The therapist will view your body using different assessment tools to help them distinguish a protocol. For severe cases such as scoliosis or dowagers hump, it could take up to 10 sessions. However, some minor postural problems have shown result after the 2nd session. It all depends on the individual. We will be giving you in home repatterning excerizes and postural education to allow quicker results.