Structural Integration - Ten steps to a new posture
What is Structural Integration?
Structural Integration (SI) is much more than just a massage, it is a therapeutic technique, pioneered by biochemist Dr Ida Rolf, which transforms the body’s structure and posture by manipulating its web of connective tissue, releasing stress patterns and restoring natural alignment, balance and coordination, enhancing flexibility and strength.
Dr Rolf believed that the cause of our body’s discomfort lies in the internal connective tissue known as fascia and its relationship to gravity. When the body is misaligned, its resources are used inefficiently and it has to work harder to keep the body upright and maintain good posture. Over time the body adapts to the stresses of misalignment, becoming shorter, tighter and stiffer, with pain and fatigue depleting energy levels. Structural Integration can transform this state by re-establishing greater ease and space in the body.
The 10 series of Structural Integration is a systematic programme of 10 sessions focusing on releasing the fascia throughout the body from head to toe. Each session builds upon the last, unfolding layers of connective tissue as the series progresses. It rebalances the body’s segments, addressing a different aspect of the body’s structure and movement during each session.
What should you expect?
Each session includes light to deep myofascial massage, which alongside active client participation, unwinds restricted connective tissue. During the session you may be asked to participate by focusing on your breathing or moving a part of your body as pressure is applied. You could be asked to sit, lie down or stand. This technique frees up the route to stronger and more connected core body movement. A series of exercises are used to support you in meeting your goals, whether learning appropriate muscle recruitment or focusing on the postural alignment needs of everyday function. Over time bodily shifts are sustained through awareness and practice.
Who is it for?
Structural Integration is a person centered approach, connecting emotionally, physically and energetically. This allows us to transform the physical structure of the body by altering the nature of the connective tissue. All ages can benefit from Structural Integration from children to the elderly, whether it’s to alleviate chronic pain or fatigue to assist high performance athletes hoping to achieve their maximum potential.
More than a quick fix
The Structural Integration process is a personal journey with a wide range of benefits, and it offers a more sustained and long term sense of aliveness than the ‘quick fix’ offered by conventional massage. A body that is aligned and balanced in gravity, moves with greater ease, fluidity, poise and efficiency, breathing becomes easier and your fun and pleasure in life is enhanced.
What is fascia?
Fascia is a three dimensional web of a connective tissue fibres, primarily made up of collagen and elastin, that forms sheets or bands beneath the skin, surrounding and protecting the tissues of the body including muscle, bone and organs. The tensile fibres are strong and flexible and are surrounded by a viscous fluid called ground substance which allows the connective tissue to slide and glide between underlying structures.The fibres make up an elastic container which stabilises, protects, encloses and separates muscles and internal organs including the lungs, heart, brain and spinal column.
Fascia is highly adaptable and when regularly put under increasing physiological strains it changes its architectural properties to meet the increasing demand. This adaptability is also what makes manipulating the fascia using Structural Integration and Myofascial Massage so effective in restoring natural alignment. Recent scientific studies recognise the fundamental role fascia plays in movement such as proprioception, stabilisation and force transmission. It is a tensegrity model where tension and resistance rely on each other for stability and function. Fascia has the same capability to contract and relax as muscle and it plays a role in joint mobility and stability.
For more information on research into fascia visit the International Association of Structural Integrators at www.theiasi.net and www.fasciaresearch.de
"My focus was on building my core to fully recover after breaking my back and having spinal fusion. After ten sessions, Maria decompressed my lower back. My yoga and Pilates instructors both noticed it. It felt so liberating. I trust Maria's intuition and her skill. All the ten sessions are immensely valuable and I experienced results after one session. I'll never forget after that first session a very tall friend asked me if I was wearing heels (something unusual for me), I said: "No". She kept looking at me and finally said: "Huh, you seem taller." I knew right away it was Maria's magic"