- How is this different from massage, chiropractic, or physical therapy? I’ve already tried those.
- Does it work?
- Can it improve my appearance?
- How does it physically work?
- Why am I out of alignment in the first place?
- How do I get started?
- What should I wear?
- How vulnerable is this process?
- Are the results from the 10-Series permanent?
- What about any bad habits? Won’t that I ruin all the hard work?
- Does it hurt?
- After my 10-Series is over, when would you recommend I return?
- Is this Rolfing
- How does this help for those with trauma?
- How many sessions will it take for my aches and pain to go away?
- What type of people should receive this work?
How is this different from massage, chiropractic, or physical therapy? I’ve already tried those.
Massage is often focused immediate relief rather than creating a lasting impact. Physical therapy or chiropractic often focus a specific aspects of the body (the spine or muscles), which can be very helpful, but because they need to satisfy insurance requirements, which treat the body as a lump of pieces, rather than a holistic organism.
The principle of Maslow’s hammer states ” If the only tool you have is a hammer, it’s tempting to treat everything as a nail.”. There are many excellent chiropractors and PTs out there, but too many of them operate as “hammers”. Sometimes we do really need a hammer- but the philosophy of Structural Integration is to be a tool-chest. It is a philosophy from which many techniques and tools are used, so that we can adapt our tools to our job together. We will still refer out for specific specialties, but many find the initial holistic structural stance on the structure to be both the path of least resistance, as well as the most conservative option to safely to get out of pain.
Structural Integration are similar because we are systematic, but different because who acknowledge the proven physiology fact that all parts of the body interact with one another. Our goal is to give your body a sense of wholeness, so that pain doesn’t have a reason to remain in the first place.
Basically, we connect your body, which is doing it’s best, to the parts that just “need a little help”.
Does it work?
It’s rare to have a session that doesn’t produce new results, insights, ability, or awareness. Sessions are a journey and a progress, as opposed to a bandage to apply with hammering away at the same nail in the same way for months at a time. We value our clients trust and time.
This process is a enjoyable collaborative venture to reflect on your movement and sensation. You’ll often be invited to stand to “test out” the work we did together, and noticing how you feel, so you can monitor your healing while it is happening. We will be able to feel your tissue change, and so for clients not a matter of “if” you feel a different, but “what and how”. Physics can be refreshingly simple!
With Structural Integration, you are not a passive receiver of the session. You get to enjoy making new relaxing and interesting insights on how you feel and hold yourself, simultaneously equipping you to self-regulate and maintain an easy and healthy posture.
Many people stumble onto SI because they’re looking for a solution to chronic pain or discomfort. But the exciting part of the work is that, often enough, getting rid of pain is just the beginning. We aim to the stop the negative spiral of pain and disease, by increasing the positive spiral of the joy of the feeling that true health gives us all. This all sounds too good to be true, but it’s amazing what is possible when listen to our body, and act from an approach which respects the holistic anatomy and physiology.
Can it improve my appearance?
Our belief is that people who feel good also look good. This is thanks to “mirror neurons”- when we see someone who feels good, it makes us feel good too! So while we discourage a fixation on finding our value based on aesthetics, symmetry does increase health, with increases aesthetics.
We are open and unembarrassed about this idea; If we are honest, we all want to feel good and look good! Let’s just make sure we don’t do it at our own experience, but from a place of health.
Increased confidence, happiness, symmetry, postural improvements are all normal results from this work. But Structural Integration is just a way to reclaim health; your body is the actual healer, and there is always hope to recover from issues which have worn you down for years.
How does it physically work?
Biologically speaking, we use touch to release adhesions (caused by compression) in your connective, and strains in the structural tissues of your body.
“Structural Integration focuses not on the muscles but on their protective layer, called fascia (also known as connective tissue). Muscles are contracting tissues that give the body and organs physical movement. The fascia surrounds the muscles, bones and organs in the body. The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.
Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia. As fascia is lengthened it allows the muscles to move more efficiently. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. When restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position.”The Guild for Structural Integration
Why am I out of alignment in the first place?
“The continuing pull of gravity, the stress of daily activities and physical injuries can pull the body out of alignment. The fascia gradually shortens, tightens and adjusts to accommodate the misalignment. When the body is out of alignment it creates inefficiency and imbalance resulting in stiffness, discomfort and loss of energy.
When a body is aligned and balanced it moves with greater ease. It requires less energy to function. Good posture is effortless and breathing is easier. The body becomes more flexible, more coordinated and athletic performance improves.”The Guild for Structural Integration
Your muscles become freer as the connective tissue around the muscles becomes more flexible. By allowing nerves to have ample space to do their jobs, you will be able to access more sensory awareness more of your body, increasing coordination and balance. Stress, injury, and trauma create the need for your body to compensate by adding muscular tension and compression to your structure. By resetting these patterns your body has, we allow for you to feel coexist peaceful with gravity, rather than fighting it. These compensations have helped us survive in the short-term- but this work is for those who want to thrive, not just survive.
How do I get started?
Contact us to find out if this work is right for you, and our clinicians will take a detailed history of your issues, goals, and aspirations for this work. If you have already heard stories and know this is the work we you, you can begin by trying out the First Session of the 10-Series during your first appointment.
We will notice your posture together.
We are militantly non-judgemental- there is no such thing as “good posture”, just postures that feel good and posture that don’t”.
I extend the option for us to take private pre-session photos and videos for us to track your objective visual progress. Sessions are generally 75 minutes, though sometimes we may run over by 5 or 10 minutes, so please leave additional time after your session just in case. Many people schedule one session per week over a 10 week period, but some enjoy the “bootcamp” style of 2-3 sessions per week, and radically change their body over the course of one month.
What should I wear?
For Structural Integration most clients either wear underwear, a loose fitting shorts with tank top, or a two piece bathing suit for women while they are receiving the work, whichever is more comfortable. This is not a massage, and so clients do not undress completely. Tight-fitting clothing may not be appropriate, as we will need to work around your shoulders and hips, but your clinician will do their best accommodate the session to both your clothing and comfort level.
How vulnerable is this process?
Structural Integration practitioners look at someone and ask themselves, “How can I make this person more comfortable in the field of gravity?” We don’t view any body as “good or bad” but instead “comfortable or uncomfortable”. We work in the spirit of empathy believing that we are all just “different versions of ourselves”. We are all meant to be connected as the social being humans are, and so we think you will enjoy the process as safe and enjoyable, and never scary or painful.
Part of this process involves becoming more aware of and ultimately undoing bracing patterns that you may either be unaware of, or feel powerless to undo. This can be an extremely powerful experience, reconnecting to a way of moving that you may not have experienced in years, if ever.
The most vulnerable part of this process is the part which allows you to accept yourself again. We often live our lives in our heads, and many experience grief when they learn of an area of their body which they have ignored or neglected. For more information, please refer to our section on trauma.
Are the results from the 10-Series permanent?
Results are highly individualized, but the consensus of experience of Structural Integration in this center and all other practitioners is that clients seem to shift permanently from old chronic issues during sessions, in between sessions and for the months and years after. Our connective tissue remodels every 8 months naturally, so there is a scientifically plausible theory to substantiate this notion.
The key is: you are in charge of how much you heal and craft your body into the home you love. Through awareness and self-care, you can benefit long after your 10-series completion.
The 10-series provides an incredible amount of momentum in a positive direction of health. This is why feeling better and better over the course for the years after is natural and to be expected. Being healthy and enjoying your body is a skill, and once you learn it, it’s hard to want to unlearn- feeling good becomes the new normal! Moving out of new little aches or pains over time can take minutes instead of weeks.
So yes, results from engagement in the process are designed to persist for years. We still hear from those who received the Structural Integration 10-Series who say things like “it absolutely changed my life when I did it 20 years ago”.
If you are ready for a real transformation, this work can help.
What about any bad habits? Won’t that I ruin all the hard work?
We educate you with new “rules” for those habits. They are not rigid, nor do they require much willpower, typically. Ergonomics, and methods to relax and enjoy sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and sleeping are included.
Our entire goal is to erase the natural habits in your structure. Clients often find it easier to sit, walk, and stand evenly (without “having” to shift between legs). Once the patterns are erased, you would have to abandon the new good-feeling habits we ingrain into your body and nervous system, and intentionally choose new habits that won’t even feel good. So it’s more natural and easier than you’d expect!
We also relearn that resisting bad habits by forcing dysfunctional “good habits” such as: sit-up-straight, don’t-slouch, suck-in-your-stomach, or squeeze-your-glutes-and-abs never work. They are all fighting gravity. There is an expression: “To try is to waste effort”. The experience of being in your body should feel natural, easy, free, and powerful, never a struggle!
Does it hurt?
Structural Integration should never cause pain, period. It is possible to experience discomfort selectively and with consent, but the vast majority of sessions only feel interesting and relaxing. Some clients even fall asleep (although we would invite you to be awake and feel the sensation).
Our clinicians individual tailor their touch to comfort level. You should never have to feel pain, “the sensation to withdraw”. If an area feel intense, but not painful, we selectively engage with it, although more often than not, this is resistance, and we instead free the problem area from a different part of your body. No pain, no gain does not apply to healing- our bodies should say “yes” to the work, not guard or resist it. We are confidence you will have a positive experience.
To be clear, “good pain” does exist- pain like the best workout you’ve had, laughing so hard you’re stomach hurts, a joke being so funny that it is painful, or even experiencing something as “so cute it’s painful”.
“Your ability to feel deep joy is proportional to your ability to feel other strong emotions”. Is it better to feel sad or numb? Better to love and lose, or never love at all?
If you prefer avoiding the spectrum of emotional and physical experience, opting to be numb and disassociated from your body, mind, and emotions, then this work is absolutely not for you. It’s goal is to increase the ability to express yourself and feel the fullness of who you truly are.
And yet, as your guides we ensure that the work is not overwhelming. We do our best in every session to keep the pressure I use within limits, and allow you to feel refreshed and energize after a session.
We also coach, respect, encourage the use of physical boundaries. We all need to be able to create physical and personal boundaries to be able to keep ourselves whole and safe, and we can help. This is just another way which we aim to improve your life and relationships through the 10-Series experience.
After my 10-Series is over, when should I return?
We recommend a check-up session 3-6months later, but to be frank, you may be content and equipped enough to be happy with a single 10-Series for the rest of your life. So follow-ups are not necessary, unless you listen to your body and think you would like a post-10 series. We can discuss that, but our goal is to do what is right for you, and only accept clients if we know we will equip them, as to not waste our time or resources together.
We respect that the goal of the sessions is to create progress, but even more importantly, momentum. If we ever hit diminishing returns because we have organized too much of your structure at once, and you need days or weeks to integrate, then we give you space to adjust.
Post series work can be extremely helpful after an injury, in times of higher stress or to help manage or resolve deeper patterns that may take more time to resolve. So we usually recommend a break after the first series, with a check-up session after 3-6 months.
Is this Rolfing
Dr. Ida P. Rolf referred to her work as Structural Integration, but followers colloquially referred to it as Rolfing. The school The Rolf Institute later capitalized on the market-value of the buzzword by trademarking it, incentive’s prospective students to their school on the notion that “Rolfing” being called a “Rolfer” has profound financial significance. While it is also excellent school, and we respect other Rolfing practitioners, as we do of many Structural Integration colleagues who hail from different programs, including The Guild for Structural Integration, located in Salt Lake City, and continuing the legacy of Ida Rolf’s original “recipe”.
Our practitioners practice The Rolf Method Dr. Ida P. Rolf’s original recipe, individualizing sessions to the body we are working with.We have many more similarities than differences (our philosophy is ~95% similar).
How does this help for those with trauma?
We internalize stress and lock in into our body when we have been affected by a shock or trauma which we didn’t have enough time to adequately process. We can help to begin to process these traumas by releasing your body from a posture of feeling unsafe.
“Trauma is in the body, not in the event”-Peter Levine
If you are aware of trauma which you are carrying and is negatively impacting your life, we would recommend considering pairing your 10 series with a trusted counselor or psychologist as a holistic solution to healing from your trauma. The body and mind both communicate to one another, and if both can feel safe, there are fewer reasons to feel unsafe again.
We work with a network of mental health practitioners, and would be happy to connect you to one guide and support your healing process through the sessions.
How many sessions will it take for my aches and pain to go away?
If the pain is new, Older patterns of pain may take more time, as they are “locked” into your current structure. We will give you an honest approximation of realistic goals and a “ballpark” timeline during our consultation. In a first session we’ll get a chance to meet and you can get a sense of whether this work is right for you.
Most people discover other issues that have been overlooked, and a first session is great way to start to get a broad overview of which overlooked areas will provide the most efficient results.
We aim for immediate relief when possible, but since we respect you and your health journey, we may discuss the need for time.
For example, your hip has hurt for a long time, chances are, your knees, ankles, feet, spine, arms, neck, and head have adapted and are co-conspirators in your personal “pain pattern”. So sometimes, it’s best to make space elsewhere, so that deeper bodywork around the hip can “stick”.
But we do have some methods to reduce pain as soon as possible. That is always our first goal- you deserve better than to have to endure discomfort.
What type of people should receive this work?
This work is for those whose bodies have changed from chronic overuse, underuse, an injury, or for pre-/post- surgery.
Many clients have tried a litany of different methods before find this work: yoga, surgery, exercising, stretching, etc. They feel like they have been going around in circles from one health professional to another, and they are still in pain, feeling discouraged and frustrated at the lack of process these modalities have offered them. They are tired of living with lack of energy, due to nagging symptoms.
Others seek a 10-Series as an adjunct to a coming or present Big Change in their life. It allows them to remain at peace and centered during a divorce, mourning, a career change, relocation, a new relationship- anything where they would like to remain adaptable.
Still others seek it for personal growth. They want to feel more themselves, more at home, and more connected to themselves. What would your reason be?