Structural Integration (Rolfing)
What Is Structural Integration?
Structural Integration (SI) is a specific manual therapy treatment process to help somatic education, typically involving various manual therapy techniques, that will help you explore the possibility of how you use and experience your body. Through education, awareness, and therapeutic touch, you can release painful, stressful patterns of tension. Effortful habits are replaced with feelings of comfort, ease of movement and posture, and a sense of whole-body coherence.
SI systematically addresses your body as a whole, usually over a series of sessions. This is commonly known as the 10 series. Our therapist's skillful touch will bring you relief from pain and discomfort as well as awareness of how you’re holding and using your body. As your practitioner helps you inquire into how you relate with your body and environment, you may come to recognize patterns of tension that no longer serve you, and discover new options for movement, posture, self-care, and your overall physical experience. Rather than treating symptoms, SI practitioners work to help your body integrate internally between systems, and externally toward your life’s challenges.
Structural Integration is based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D. SI practitioners are trained at SI schools in accordance with standards established by the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI). Practitioners who display the Board Certified Structural Integrator (BCSI) credential have graduated from an IASI-approved training program and passed a basic competency exam.
Benefits of Structural Integration
Our bodies grow, move, and change within the constant field of gravity; when we oppose gravity inefficiently, valuable resources are wasted. Physical injuries, trauma, and the stresses of daily life require us to adapt how we move and hold ourselves upright. These adaptive patterns can become deeply ingrained—even long after they’ve fulfilled their protective and adaptive functions—to the point that basic movements like sitting, breathing, and walking are more effortful than necessary. Such prolonged effort can contribute toward feelings of stiffness, pain, fatigue, and lack of vitality.
Structural Integration can help us learn to “let go” of chronic stress and tension, to stop fighting gravity and allow it to support us instead. Movement becomes a pleasure, breath comes easier, and “good posture” becomes effortless. We experience a sense of ease, efficiency, and grace. Many SI clients come to find relief from pain and discomfort along the way. While this describes some general benefits, the SI process is individual and personal, with a wide range of effects and benefits.
Who Benefits from SI?
All types of people benefit from Structural Integration. Some come to ease chronic pain and stress; others are hoping to improve their athletic performance; still, others are simply interested in exploring their potential for awareness and vitality. Children and older people alike can benefit from SI.
Structural Integration is contraindicated for those with infections, fevers, acute inflammation, and recent trauma. Some forms of rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis, or osteomyelitis are also contraindicated. If you are unsure whether or not SI will be safe for you, check with your doctor and inform your SI practitioner about your condition before working together.