Method of Structural Integration (S.I.)
is a form of therapeutic bodywork that restores balance within the body
by removing strain patterns in the myofascial system. Through the use
of hands-on, massage-like techniques, S.I. re-educates the body and raises
one's awareness about how to be in harmony within the field of gravity.
"Fascia is the organ of posture...the body is a web of fascia.
A spider web is in a plane; this web is in a sphere."
"Only this (myofascial) system do we manipulate
directly, but by virtue of this system, we can change the functioning
of the entire body."
-Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.
In order to establish an optimal relationship between the human energy
field and the earth's gravitational field, S.I. addresses the body's myofascial
tissue. Fascia is the fibrous connective tissue
that envelops all muscles, organs, bones, nerves and blood vessels. It
is what holds us together, greatly defines our shape, and is considered
to be an organ of form.
Healthy connective tissue has a pliable, elastic quality,
which allows muscles, tendons and ligaments to move freely and with ease.
Unhealthy connective tissue tends to be short, thick, twisted, prone to
injury and less resilient.
Fascia absorbs the forces of gravity as well as the
impact of physical injury, accidents, illnesses and emotional stress.
Even the cumulative tensions of daily living (such as repetitive movements
or sitting for long periods of time) can create restrictive, habitual
holding patterns in the connective tissue. Over time, these experiences
become embedded in the body; they are recorded in the myofascial system
like memory and can contribute to unhealthy tissue, limited joint mobility
and impaired muscle potential.
"The basic law of Rolfing is that
you add structure to the body. In so doing, you demand a change in function."
-Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.
The body responds to impediments by creating compensations favoring or
protecting -- which eventually stop working or cause additional problems.
For example, if we sprain an ankle, we generally alter our movement to
avoid pain, relying more on the uninjured side for strength and support.
These adaptations initially allow the sprained ankle to heal, but they
compromise the integrity of natural alignment and alter an otherwise smooth
flow of gravity, energy, blood, lymph, and neural information throughout
the entire body. Over time, these disruptions become multi-layered and
lead to physical discomfort as well as ill health at the mental, emotional
and spiritual levels of one's being.
Structural Integration assists the body back into proper
structural and functional alignment by removing tensions and restrictions
in areas that have been held tight, and by further balancing the myofascial
relationships throughout the entire body.