What is Structural Integration? Structural Integration is a unique kind of body work that was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf. She dedicated her life to exploring various types of traditional and non-traditional forms of medicine and healing. Then she developed her own work, Structural Integration. The name Rolfing was a nickname for her work. The primary intention of Structural Integration is to improve our body's relationship with gravity. Through the work the whole body is given an opportunity to change. Structural Integration can be life changing for some people. We have seen this work effect people on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Ida felt that her work assisted humans in the evolutionary process. There are several basic elements of Structural Integration that are different than other types of body work. There are ten sessions to a Structural Integration series. Each session is unique and different from all the others. Each session has it's own purpose and goal. The ten series was designed to address the body as a whole, one piece at a time. Therefore, session one works the outer shell of the whole body. Session two works mostly from the knees down. Session three begins to establish a front and a back. Session four works on the inner side of each leg. Session five addresses the inside of the upper body, etc. Ida likened her work to a recipe. If one ingredient is left out the end result may not be the cake that you intended to bake. Ida was not concerned that people had pain, or difficulty walking. Her premise was that if all of the parts worked together smoothly and in harmony with gravity then the end result would be a better person. She discovered through her research that this was what happened through the process of a ten series. People's complaints disappeared, and each person knew that their body was in some way changed. Several other areas of focus unique to Structural Integration are: length, layers and lumbars. Ida felt that these three issues were at the heart of how to integrate a structure. Length is added where there is shortness. Layers are created where tissues are stuck together. The lumbar area of the spine is addressed in every session. As you have just read for yourself Structural Integration is not like any other type of body work that you have had, that is unless you have had it, then you know. Ask your friends, do they know anyone who has had a ten series?
A Holistic Approach to Health What is Holistic Health? Is it the absence of disease? Is it balance? Balance of what - - Body, Mind, and Spirit? How do we know when these aspects of ourselves are in balance? When we are out of balance, we often experience extreme sensations, thoughts, and emotions. In the body, there is often pain or dysfunction of an organ. In the mind, there is the inability to focus attention or problem-solve. In spirit it may manifest as separateness from others and from our personal conception of God, Deity, Spirit, or Life Force. If life loses meaning, depression and despondency often follows. Body, mind and spiritual health interpenetrate each other. If one of the three is out of balance the other two are negatively affected. The corollary is that if we can bring more balance into one area (body, mind or spirit) then the others will be positively affected. Structural Integration focuses on enhancing the balance in our physical bodies. By improving the order within the body, and in relation to gravity, a greater sense of well being is fostered. This is accomplished by the skilled application of pressure and movement by the Structural Integration practitioner on the client's body. Structural Integration was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf, with Rolfing becoming the nickname for her work. It consists of a ten session series. Each session is unique and has it's own purpose and goal. Session one focuses on the chest, with the goal of creating length on the front of the body and improving respiration. Session two works from the knees to the feet and on the back of the body. The goal is to establish order in the legs, to provide a foundation for the body, and to create length on the back. Session three is an alignment session that balances the sides of the body and improves the alignment between the ear, shoulder, hip, and knee. Session four works the inside of each leg to balance the legs and provide a floor for the pelvis. Session five addresses the inside of the upper body, focusing on the fascia of the rectus abdominis and the deep psoas muscle. This affords greater ease in the abdomen and can release long held emotional blockages. The work alternates from upper to lower body and from superficial to deeper layers of myofascia. By the end of the tenth session the whole body is better balanced. Holistic health depends on the balance of body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, trauma, surgery, accidents, or disease create imbalance. We feel that Structural Integration is one of the most effective ways to enhance the health of your whole body.
Reducing the Causes of Back Pain The second most common health complaint is back pain. Eight in ten people will have back pain at some point in their life. Four in ten will have sciatica, which is back pain plus leg pain. One source reports that back pain is the number one cause of limitation in activity, for individuals under 45. Back pain is the fifth most frequent reason for hospitalization and it is the third ranking reason for surgery. Do you have back pain? What are you doing on a daily basis to prevent back pain? There are four primary predisposing factors that contribute to back pain: Poor Posture, Poor Body Mechanics, Poor Physical Fitness, and Stressful Living and Working Conditions. Secondary causes include: Repetitive and Prolonged Postures at Work, Poor Ergonomic Conditions, and Poor Attitudes About Back Injury. The health of your back is your responsibility. And you can take steps to reduce your risks. The quality of your posture is largely determined by the quality of your relationship with Gravity. Gravity is an unrecognized force that relentlessly shapes and reshapes our body. Good Relationship with Gravity Good Posture. Poor Relationship Poor Posture and a greater chance for back pain. Back pain usually results from a series of single injuries. A single injury has three stages. First, there is swelling and pain. Next, the body glues the tissue tears at the injury site. Unfortunately, this glue can bind layers of healthy muscles, tendons, and ligaments together, forming excessive scar tissue. The excessive scar tissue restricts movement at that level in the back. Movement restrictions at one level create greater movement demands above and below the injury site. We don't stand, bend, or twist the same way. Lastly, we develop compensatory movement patterns to ease pain. If you have had back injuries, the effects of swelling, gluing, and compensatory movement patterns accumulate. Structural Integration can help. Structural Integration improves posture, decreases adhesions, and fosters normal movement. By easing the tension in the buttocks and low back, the hips and back are brought into a better postural relationship. By the skillful application of pressure, push and pull, the tissue is coaxed to lengthen and layer. As the adhesions are eliminated more normal movement becomes possible. Back pain management requires a commitment by you to reduce your predisposing factors. Structural Integration improves posture and decreases the effects of cumulative back trauma. Ultimately Structural Integration provides an opportunity for change.
The Many Benefits of Multi-Layered Body Work A primary cause of limitation for many of us, is our inability to resolve our relationship with gravity. Take a moment to examine the people who currently surround you and evaluate how they relate to the relentless force that binds us to this earth. We can readily identify the senior who stands with a forward-bent posture. Have you also notice the teenager who mirrors the senior? How do you relate to gravity? What effect does our relationship with gravity have on our physical health? Is emotional heath influenced as well? If greater order could be established in the physical body what might be the evolutionary effect on the individual? These are the questions Dr. Ida Rolf devoted her life to answer. Structural Integration was the process Dr. Rolf developed to improve the body's relationship with gravity. In designing buildings, engineers are acutely aware of gravity: gravity determines the size and the shape of the structural columns, beams, and arches and their arrangement within a building. A building's ability to stand is dependent on its ability offset the forces of gravity. A human body also operates in the field of gravity. The leg bones and the spine are the body's support columns. The pelvis, collar bones and arm bones are the body's beams, and the feet are the arches. It is the collective arrangement of the body's structural parts that determines its success or failure in managing gravity's downward pull. Unlike buildings the body moves. We require mobility with stability. Dynamic balance is the ability to move our arm and legs, to push and pull, to lift and transport, and to be vertical in the field of gravity. Similarly, it is the quality of the relationship between the structural components of the body that determine the quality of movement and the quality of bodily function. To visualize what optimal alignment is, view a person from the side. Create an imaginary line that passes from the top of the head down through the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joint. Viewed from the front, the imaginary line splits the body in two symmetrical halves that mirror each other with the face, shoulder, chest, hips, knees, and feet facing forward, without rotation, and there is equal weight bearing through each foot. Optimal functioning of the body's physiological systems is strongly influenced by structure. Health begins at the cellular level; cells are provided with oxygen, bathed in nutrients, and cleared of waste products. Interdependent systems: respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, urinary, nervous, endocrine & muscular-skeletal collaborate to maintain health. These systems are linked and supported by the fascia. The fascia surrounds the cells of muscles, then surrounds the muscle itself. Muscle tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and bone periosteum are fascial tissues. Bodily organs: heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, intestines, plus the brain are supported by fascia. Therefore, the health of the body is greatly dependent on the health of the myofascia. What negatively affects the fascia? It is a body losing the struggle against gravity as well as physical and emotional trauma. Poor posture, identified by misaligned body segments and restricted movement between segments, compromises body health. It takes more energy to stand and move and to perform our daily tasks. Breathing, cardiac function, and digestion can be restricted by insufficient expansion of the rib cage due to a forward bent upper body. A forward neck and head increase tension in the shoulder and neck muscles, contributes to pain in these areas, and can cause headaches. Movement of the arm above the shoulder can become restricted and painful. Fascial restrictions limit the circulation of blood and lymph flow, compromising cellular health. Physical trauma causes thickening, shorting, and/or scarring of the fascia. Flexibility and mobility are lost. An ankle sprain causes a person to favor the injured side. More of the body's weight is shifted to the uninjured leg and the pelvis, spine, neck and head shift to maintain uprightness. This compensatory postural change is maintained while the ankle heals. During this time a new modified movement pattern is created and maintained by the fascia. That pattern may continue even after the ankle is healed. Thus a person may feel a sense of insecurity, not trusting their body in its dance with gravity. Emotional trauma is manifested in the myofascial body. Visualize a person struggling with feelings of inadequacy or depression. How does the body dramatize the person's emotional state? If this emotional state is maintained, it becomes fixed in the fascia, biasing the person to that emotion even if their psychological state improves. Medical science accepts the concept of psychosomatic illness -- physical illness due to psychological causes. A corollary may be soma- psychologic illness -- psychological illness sustained by disorder in the physical structure. Structural Integration deals directly with the myofascial system and reorders the body. Beginning with the most superficial body fascia and gradually moving deeper, fascial restrictions are removed and the body segments are realigned into a better relationship about the vertical axis. The breathing pattern changes, it deepens, chronic physical complaints ease, flexibility increases, and the body moves with greater fluidity. In our rapidly changing society, flexibility of thought and action is required for effective coping. Dr. Rolf was intrigued by what evolutionary effects Structural Integration could have on those who received the work. If the human was in harmony with gravity, enjoying the security, trust, flexibility, efficiency, and mobility in the physical realm, what changes could occur in the psychological realm: greater trust? more flexibility, clarity and creativity in thought? enhance emotional control and expression? Ultimately, Structural Integration is a dynamic process, that provides an opportunity for change. It loosens restrictions while challenging the individual to explore the outer and inner world. It is a dance between the client and practitioner, between the past and the present, between fear and fearlessness, between the temporal and the eternal.
Unwinding Physical Trauma Trauma is a major source of physical limitations. Most of us have a rich history of trauma: stubbed toes, sprained ankles, twisted knees, bruised buttocks, traumatized tail-bones, strained back, broken rib, shoulder tears, tennis elbows, fractured wrists, or whiplash. Some traumas resolve with little residual effect on physical function. Yet some effects of trauma last a lifetime. What physical traumas have you sustained? While arm slings, wrist braces, leg casts, and crutches are common, short-term, signs of trauma, there can be long-term functional changes as well. The ability to reach, or bend or twist becomes restricted by either pain or myofascial shortening or gluing. Weaknesses develop in the muscles both close and far from the injury site. Normal movement patterns are replaced with compensatory movement patterns, such as walking with a limp or favoring an arm. Our confidence is undermined. We move cautiously, lift less weight, and participate less in the activities that give us pleasure. After we break bones, sprain ligaments or strain muscles we strive to immobilize the injured part to minimize further damage. Bone fractures often require surgery to join the pieces and to limit movement while healing. Casts, splints, or ace wrap may be utilized, as well as slings, to maintain alignment and limit movement. The muscles that surround the trauma site shorten and tighten. Swelling occurs and the surrounding tissues secretes collagenous substances that glue tissue to itself to repair the damage. Glue and immobility are the first requirements after trauma, but ultimately we require mobility in our daily activities. The resulting scar tissue that occurs after trauma limits the gliding between muscles and other myofascial structures. Gluing and restricted gliding result in unbalanced pulls in the myofascial body that change the relationship between the body's structural members and can cause pain. Structural Integration unwinds the trauma in the myofascial system and reorders the body. The Structural Integration practitioner facilitates the lengthening and loosening of surrounding tissue by varying pressure, and the direction of push or pull. Unnecessary fascia restrictions between surrounding myofascial structures are eliminated and normal gliding between tissue is restored. Pain eases. The ability to reach, bend, and twist are enhanced. Compensatory movement patterns are replaced with more balanced efficient normal patterns. Self confidence returns with a willingness to try our favorite activities again. Ultimately, Structural Integration is a dynamic process that provides an opportunity for change.
Re-Balancing the Female Body After Pregnancy One of the greatest joys a woman can experience is in bringing new life into the world. Participation in this mystical experience of motherhood is a sacred calling - - and it requires sacrifice. During pregnancy the woman will gain approximately 29 pounds stressing the legs and low back. The growing fetus, in the uterus, will intrude into the pelvic, abdominal and thoracic cavities, often disrupting normal functions of circulation, respiration, digestion, elimination, and urination. After birth, the woman may experience physical as well as psychological insecurity. What changes did you feel during your pregnancy and after delivery? Pregnancy changes how a woman experiences her body and how her body relates to gravity. Gradual weight gain causes the hips to move forward, the pelvic bowl to tip downward, and the shoulders to move rearward. This compensatory posture places new strains on the legs, low back, shoulders and neck, that often results in pain. Frequently, the woman's walk becomes a waddle with her belly leading the way. At birth, the body releases the hormone relaxin that relaxes pelvic muscles and ligaments to ease passage of the fetus, through the birth canal. Laxity in these muscles and ligaments of the pelvis further distorts the body's structural relationship with gravity. Psychological challenges often confront the new mother. After birth, 30 - 80% of women experience a brief post-partum depression, Approximately 10 - 15% of women experience mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. Contributing factors often include changes in appearance and movement. Caring for the physical and emotional needs of the infant is demanding. The mother feeds, cleans, caresses, and carries the newborn. She naturally seeks ways to reduce the physical strain on her body, such as resting the infant on her hip. Yet this solution only extends the time her body spends in awkward positions. Weight gains, tissue stretching, pain, and altered movement patterns creates physical insecurity in the woman and contributes to psychological insecurity. The Structural Integration practitioner evaluates posture and movement. How do the major body segments stack? Where is there tension? Where is laxity? How can the structure be re-balanced about a vertical axis? Is there fluidity in movement? By the skillful application of pressure the myofascial system is coaxed to lengthen and layer. Order is reestablished about a vertical axis: the hips are brought rearward, low back tension is released and stress in the shoulders, arms, and neck is eased. The body moves with greater fluidity. Structural Integration can re-balance the body and enhance confidence after pregnancy.
Balance: The Elusive Quality We Seek Each one of us faces the daily challenge of achieving balance among the various demands of life. These demands are forces that pull us in certain directions. And it is the relationship between these forces that determine where we find ourselves at the end of the day, the month, the year, or the lifetime. Imbalances of these forces often create problems. In climbing the ladder to career success we sometimes find the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall. We inadvertently sacrifice our inner world for that of the external. In meeting our physical, emotional, social, and spiritual need we seek balance. Yet these needs interpenetrate one another and thus can not be viewed in isolation. The mandala, a two dimensional trans-cultural image, appears again and again as a graphical expression of the concepts of wholeness, flowering, and balance. A mandala is usually shown as a symmetrical pattern radiating out from a central point of reference. A circle with a point at the center conveys this essence of balance. Yet we live not in two dimensions but in three dimensions. We are beings in the field of gravity and thus the point becomes a line. Balance is being both centered and in harmony with gravity. Balance in life also requires flexibility and resilience. We need to bend and rebound from the forces that act upon us and not be broken and displaced by them. Many practices such as yoga, Tai Chi, and other martial arts emphasize the link between the breath and physical tension. Physical tension limits the depth of the breath and any restriction to our pattern of breath causes the body to become stiff, less fluid, and less resilient. These concepts of balance, relationship, flexibility, resilience, and breath are central to Structural Integration, the somatic therapy developed by Dr. Ida Rolf. A balanced physical structure has its mass organized around a central, vertical axis, a line. The relationship between the major body segments (head, chest, hips and legs) determines the quality of support that the body provides. The free movement of breath is a primary focus of this work, attended to in the first session. Successive sessions enhance the flexibility and resilience of the body so that it moves as an integrated whole. Olympic athletes, dancers, martial artist and yoga practitioners have used Structural Integration to enhance their balance of the inner and outer world. Others come to this work for relief from chronic pains. What ever the reason Structural Integration offers an opportunity for change.
The Paradigm Shift. Do you know what one of the top three subjects the editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) thought important for 1998? Alternative Medicine! Surprised? I was. In the November 11th issue of JAMA the results of a study titled, Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990-1997, was published. The conclusion: "Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997 attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patients." The alternative therapies included herbal medicine, massage, mega-vitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy. When the results of this respected study are extrapolated to the general population, it reveals a startling set of statistics: Between 1990 to 1997 visits to alternative practitioners increased by 47.3%. Visits to alternative practitioners exceeded primary care physician visits by 243 million. Costs of alternative treatments were paid essentially out-of-pocket vs insurance coverage. Less than 40% of alternative therapies used were disclosed to physicians in 1990 & 1997. Alternative therapies were used most frequently for chronic conditions, including back problems, allergies, fatigue, arthritis, headaches, neck problems, and sprains or strains. What is behind this shift in preference when health problem arise? In 1998 Landmark Healthcare Inc., a Sacramento-based alternative managed care company sponsored a study titled, The Landmark Report on Public Perception of Alternative Care. Key findings included that 2 out of 3 adults believe that it is important to have alternative care available when choosing a health plan. Adults, especially educated aging baby-boomers, appreciate the less invasive nature and greater personalized service provided by alternative practitioners. In fact, more than half of the HMO's (58%) plan to offer alternative care therapies as a benefit in the next 1 to 2 years. One criticism leveled by allopathic medicine is that alternative medicine has not been subjected to scientific tests. While clinical evidence is growing on a daily basis, allopathic medicine may be holding alternative medicine to a higher standard of clinical proof. Some sources suggest that as much as 85% of conventional medical practices have not been subject to clinical trials but on the contrary, have been adopted after years of practical experience. Structural Integration is a process of re-educating the body through movement & touch. It systematically releases patterns of stress and impaired function. The primary focus of Structural Integration is facilitating the relationship between gravity and the human body. Research tests at both UCLA & University of Maryland concluded that Structural Integration offered these benefits: Movements that were smoother, of greater range, and less constrained. Fewer extraneous movements. More dynamic and energetic body movements. More erect posture and less strain to maintain a position. Other beneficial effects were noted in children with cerebral palsy, and in persons with whiplash, chronic back pain, and curvature of the spine.
Structural Integration: Is it painful or not? The most common line we hear from new clients is " I have heard that the work is painful. Is It? This article explores several answers to this important question. So what causes people to experience pain while others do not? One answer is that the nervous system functions as an interpreter. Just as each of us is different, our interpretations of pressure vary from person to person. Consequently, some people can tolerate deep pressure without any feeling of pain what so ever. While for others the same amount of pressure is interpreted as painful. There is a logical side to the experience of pain associated with this work. When people do experience pain with this work it is usually only in one part of the body. Often it is in that part of the body that has experienced some kind of trauma or where we hold our emotions or carry our stress. This tissue is commonly dehydrated and tight. These spots are felt as knots or ropes. When pressure is applied to these sinewy tissues some people experience pain. They also feel a release in the same area. Here are the answers our clients gave when we asked them if they thought the work was painful. Most of the folks said "No." and then they added " I felt pressure." Some people said "It was painful in a couple of spots." Others said "There was one session where it got intense." At the end of each session we typically ask people "How does your body feel?" We frequently receive the following replies: "I fell more connected." "The pain that I have had for years is gone." "My body feels lighter." "I feel more upright." "I am able to stand up straight without straining." "I feel taller." "My shoulders are lower." Not one person mentioned pain, other than the pain that disappeared. Structural Integration makes changes occur in the body by the intelligent and skilled application of just the right amount of pressure. The right amount of pressure is different or each person. There is constant negotiation going on between the tissue and the hands of the practitioner throughout each session. The goal of Structural Integration is to offer the body an opportunity to change. We do our best to apply just the right amount of pressure to make that happen. So pain is not the best word to describe this work. Structural Integration is a dance of change between you and the practitioner.
How to Have a Balanced Body. What does an out-of-balance body feel like? Do you feel strain, pain, or tension in your body at the end of the work day, after working in the garden, or when you lay down to sleep at night. Strain, pain, and tension are all indicators that your body is out of balance. Your body is warning you that something is wrong. Are there visible signs when the body is out of balance? Yes. One example that most of us have seen is the posture of someone who cannot stand up straight. Typically, their back curves forward at shoulders. If you look at them from the side view, their head is forward of the chest. This person probably feels strain and pain between the shoulder blades and tension in their neck. Perhaps they are prone to headaches. This type of posture is common at any age. Just look at your friends or relatives. How do people get out of balance? By not moving their body through its full range of motion. The longer your body is kept in one position the harder it is to get the body back into balance. So if you are spending 8 hours a day at a computer without stretching in the other direction, your head will begin to stay forward of your body. And your back will begin to round, at the shoulders. If you spend 8 hours a day sitting in a chair that does not support your low back, you will be prone to low back and or leg pain. The body will begin to hold that posture, even though you don't want it to. This is because one set of muscles stays shortened and the opposite set of muscles stay lengthened. Over time, this way of using your body, fosters poor posture that feels permanent -- you become less able to stand upright or move your body freely. Is there a way to improve posture and enhance balance? Yes. Poor posture will be lessened if you take several minutes, every half hour to hour, and gently stretch your body in the exact opposite direction. This simple action, over time, will improve your range of motion and overall flexibility. There is a dramatic way to accelerate postural improvement and encourage balance: Structural Integration. If you have a head that is forward, shoulders that hurt, and back or neck pain. Come visit us. We can put length back into those short muscles, improve your range of motion, and soften those painful spots on your body. You'll move like a cat!
Why More Change Now? Some people are experiencing what feels like a time of rapid change in there lives. Structural Integration offers the body an opportunity for change. You might say "Why would I want more change?" Organization is what Structural Integration puts in your body. This kind of body work organizes the body as a whole and organizes the relationship of all of the parts of the body to each other. Most people who have never had Structural Integration have disorganized bodies. Ida Rolf used the words unprocessed or random body. Random bodies look like the set of blocks on the left in the picture. Organized bodies look like the set of blocks on the right in the picture. Which one does your body feel more like? There are many reasons why changing your body to a more organized one is beneficial. It feels better! An organized body can respond with more ease and grace to the flurry of demands of day to day living. Organized bodies remain calm in emotionally challenging situations. People who receive this work often report that they have more energy, feel happier, and feel connected to the earth or grounded. There is one draw back to making your body more organized, change. You have to go through some change to get the chaos out and the order in. It just like tidying up your desk or work area. It takes time effort and energy, and you know that you must to do it. So, How can you make your body more organized like the image in the picture? It is easy, just give us a call and set up an appointment. We can get you started on the path to GET ORGANIZED!
Get UP for the New Millennium Getting UP from gravity is the goal of Structural Integration. Did you know that gravity can actually be felt as an uplifting force? Our clients frequently "feel lighter" after they get up off of the table. Why is this? Why don't we feel this lightness all of the time? To answer these questions we must examine the concept of gravity and its effects on us. Gravity is a relentless force that is always acting on us. Gravity pulls everything toward the ground. When one or more of our body segments, legs, pelvis, chest, or head, are out of alignment then the downward pull of gravity feels greater. We are burdened with the weight of the world. However, when our body segments are stacked neatly one over top of one another, the downward pull of gravity feels less. So, why don't we feel this lightness all of the time? Major or even minor injuries can draw us out of alignment with gravity. The way we use our body at work, at play, and at rest can corrupt the alignment between our body segments. Emotions can pull our body off balance. When we are feeling sad or upset our head is often held forward of our chest and is angled downward. In this position, the neck muscles do 2 to 3 times more work than when the head is in vertical alignment. As our body moves further from alignment the heavier, more burdened, we feel. The good news is that you can feel lightness and UP from gravity. How? By getting Structural Integration body work. This powerful form of bodywork, developed by Dr. Ida Rolf, is valued for its ability to bring body segments into alignment with gravity. As your body becomes better aligned you will feel more grounded and connected to the earth and simultaneously lighter as you reach for the heavens. Other benefits of getting UP from gravity is just feeling better, having more energy , and thinking more clearly. If these are feelings that you would like to have for the New Millennium, then "GET UP" and give us a call and to arrange an appointment.
The Spiritual Connection Between Heaven and Earth Last week I shared with a client that I was perplexed over how people decide to try Structural Integration body work. It doesn't seems to matter how much or how little I advertise nor does the topic of my articles in this paper strongly influence the reader. Most often it is the client who feels this body work at a public event, such as a health fair, that eventually commits to the work. My client shared that one of the powerful benefits she experienced was an expansion of her spiritual growth. "George, you do phenomenal work. However, I rarely hear you talk of the spiritual benefits. In receiving this work I have had ecstatic experiences, I am more open, and yet more grounded." I was pleased to hear this. For me, Structural Integration was truly a life changing process. So much so that seven years after receiving my 10 series I moved to Boulder, CO to be trained as a practitioner. While some people do experience discomfort when going through the Rolf series other have had, what may be termed, an epiphany. Sessions marked by dramatic changes in their awareness of their aliveness, their relationship to the world, and perhaps a clarification of their spiritual path. This was my experience. I initially came to this work because I was in physical pain. I was only dimly aware of the psychological and spiritual pain that was also present. As the physical restrictions - the body armor - that encased me loosened, I confronted more of the core issues of my being. I shed a layer of past experience so I could live more fully in the present. I experienced the joy of having more physical, emotional, and spiritual options in everyday situations. I grew in my level of compassion. I felt less desire to compete with others. With these changes I have greater harmony with myself and those around me. Each of us is a living connection between heaven and earth. As we enhance the order of our physical and emotional being so does our spiritual life become more ordered. As we align ourselves with the greater force we are nurtured by it. Structural Integration balances the body in relationship to itself and to the force of gravity. By releasing the tension of physical and emotional imbalance we are able to manifest a verticality that enhances our field strength. We more radiate the essence of what we are and that is a powerful experience.
What Perpetuates the Chronic Knots in Our Muscles? Do you have chronic knots in muscles of your shoulders, neck or low back? Dr. Janet Travell, dedicates a whole chapter on perpetuating factors in her book titled "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction The Trigger Point Manual." She indicates that there are a wide range of perpetuating factors related to chronic muscle trigger points. These factors include: mechanical stresses, nutritional inadequacies, metabolic and endocrine inadequacies, psychological factors, and chronic infections. There is only room in this article to discuss some of the mechanical stresses. Other perpetuating factors will be covered in future articles. Dr. Travell divides mechanical stresses into three types, structural inadequacies, postural stresses, and constriction of muscles. There are three types of structural inadequacies short leg, asymmetries of the pelvis, and short arms. If your legs are not the same length, then chances are that the rest of your structure is out of alignment. The stability and balance of the pelvis depends on the symmetry in the legs. The curves of the spine depend on the balance of the pelvis. The head and neck simply reflect the balance or imbalances below them. Your body is built sort of like a tent. A tent stays up because of the balance between the poles which are like our bones, and the cords which are like our muscles. The shape of our body is dependant on both bones and muscles. Just like a tent if there is laxity somewhere, it can be noticed everywhere. The same is true for the body, when there is excessive laxity or tension somewhere, it can be seen and or felt from most points of view. There can be situations where just the pelvis is out of balance and the legs are symmetrical. In this case what is above the pelvis will likely be out of alignment. And as in the analogy of the tent, the imbalances of the pelvis usually effect the legs. Short arms just don't reach the arm rests of most chairs. This makes the shoulder muscles fatigue because the don't get a break from holding up the arms. All of the issues discussed above contribute to those chronic knots in the muscles of your shoulders, neck, and low back. The good news is that the goal in every session of Structural Integration is to give length to those knots. The length is created by the intelligent use of pressure applied by the practitioner. The tissues also become more resilient, hydrated, and relaxed. Just imagine what how your shoulders would feel like if they were relaxed. It can happen.
What do Purses, Backpacks, Bras, and Neck Ties Have in Common? Could these items be constricting your muscles? Do you have chronic knots in the muscles of your shoulders or neck? Do you feel your stress in these or other areas? There may be a good reason why those areas continue to hurt. Dr. Janet Travell, dedicates a whole chapter to perpetuating factors in her book titled "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction The Trigger Point Manual." One of the perpetuating factors she discusses is the constriction of muscles. The constriction of muscles happens when there is a reduction in the circulation of vital nutrients and nerve information because of excessive pressure on a muscle for a length of time. This happens when heavy purses or backpacks are carried over the shoulder. Bra straps that support heavy breasts sometimes wear a groove over the top of the shoulder. A bra that is too tight around chest can reduce circulation to muscles on the rib cage and restrict breathing capacity. Sometimes the top margin of socks are too tight restricting circulation to the calf muscles. Shirt collars and neck ties can be restrictive on the muscles of the neck and cause headaches. A tight belt around the waist can cut off circulation to muscles not only on the surface of the abdomen but also to the muscles that run along each side of the vertebrae on the back. Sitting in a chair that is too high in the front can put excessive pressure on the back of the thigh. Crossing your legs can restrict circulation to muscles on one or both legs. The constriction of a muscles on a regular basis can lead to chronic trigger points or knots in those muscles. This usually leads to chronic pain. You may with awareness be able to change some of those pressure issues listed above. Other suggestions include: Use a luggage carrier when possible, photo copy only the pages that you need instead of carrying the whole book, wear a different kind of bra, wear suspenders instead of a tight belt, put a pillow in the chair, or put your feet on top of a phone book. Sometimes even after you remove the source of pressure the pain is still there. That is because the trigger points cannot always extinguish themselves. Stretching, and heat can often ease chronic tight areas. And sometimes you just need someone else to work on them. One of the goals of every session of Structural Integration is to hydrate and enliven the muscles and tissues. This is done with the intelligent and skilled application of just the right amount of pressure. As tissues become more hydrated, chronic trigger points let go and lengthen. Pain goes away and you feel lighter all over. One of the most common statements that we hear as clients get up off of the table, "I feel lighter." Call us for a free "get lighter" demonstration today.
Do Your Muscles Need Vitamins? Do you have chronic knots in muscles of your shoulders, neck or low back? The research of Dr. Janet Travell, is reported in a book called "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction The Trigger Point Manual." She indicates that there are a wide range of perpetuating factors related to chronic muscle trigger points. One of the most common perpetuating factors are nutritional inadequacies. Another frequent factor in chronic trigger points are metabolic and endocrine inadequacies. The prevalence of nutritional inadequacies or hypovitaminosis is distressingly high according to Dr. Travell. She found that 88% of 120 randomly selected individuals had low levels of 1 or more of 11 vitamins. Dr. Travell suggests that nutritional inadequacies are crucial perpetuating factors of trigger points. Metabolic and endocrine inadequacies are related to nutritional inadequacies which will also be discussed in this article. The vitamins, minerals, and elements needed most for proper muscle functioning are B1, B6, B12, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium. In her experience in treating people with chronic muscle pain, these deficiencies are responsible for the lack of lasting relief from chronic muscle knots. One of the complex problem in treating deficiencies is that most of these vitamins work in conjunction with each other. Supplementing with just one can cause a deficiency in another. Vitamin inadequacies can be confirmed by measuring blood serum levels, a test that can be order by your physician. Some of the most common symptoms that occur with these deficiencies are the following; sore or painful muscles, backache, generalized weakness, depression, leg cramps, swelling, sensation impairments, depressed immune system functioning, dental caries, insomnia, nervousness, headaches, mental instability, anemia, asthma, numbness, fatigue, confusion, agitation, constipation, paralysis, joint pain, bruising, bleeding gums, and a decrease in bone density. That is quite a list! And there were more listed in the literature that I reviewed. I just wanted list the most common. Metabolic and endocrine inadequacies include: hypometabolism, hypothyroidism, and hypoglycemia. Metabolism is the process by which our body creates and distributes energy to all of our cells. When the fuel for our muscle function is inadequate, muscle trigger points can be perpetuated. The endocrine system is made up of the following glands: thyroid, adrenals, and the pituitary. When these hormonal secreting glands get even just a little out of balance, muscle function can be negatively effected. Sometimes metabolic and endocrine inadequacies can be effected by hypervitaminosis. Hypervitaminosis simply means inadequate intake, absorption, or utilization of all of the required vitamins and minerals. Check with your doctor to make sure that adding supplements to your diet will not interfere with any medication that you take currently. Call us if you are interested in a photo copy of the information that Dr. Janet Travell has gathered.
What Does Your Posture Say About You? What does your posture say about you? Your posture is a result of the many ways you have used or not used your body over your lifetime. As a body worker, your body is an open book that tells us a store about your past injuries, surgeries, level of exercise, work habits, and leisure activities. Your body and posture are also manifestations about how you think on a regular basis. Your posture also reflects your opinion and beliefs that you hold about your body and who you are. These three ideas can be thought of as, the physical, the mind and the spirit. Your physical body mirrors all of these. The opposite is also true. Your thinking and beliefs mirror what is going on in your body. It would be difficult to separate them from one another. As Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer like to say "We are spiritual beings having a physical experience." not necessarily "Physical beings having a spiritual experience." In our practice we don't try to separate out what we are working on, be it the physical, mind, or sprit. We leave you to have the experience that is fits you. As different as people are from one another, is how different people respond to Structural Integration. We have found that people have a wide range of experiences. Some people have found phenomenal benefit in all areas in receiving the work. We believe that every type of body work works, it just might not be the one that works for you. The only way to find out is to try it. One of the questions most often asked is, "Is it painful? I have heard that the work is painful." There are many ways to answer this question. Have you ever had someone apply pressure to your body and it is a "good hurt." Well, that is the way most people experience Structural Integration. Breath is the key for most people, when experiencing pain. Some people say that pain is a resistance to letting go. The idea is if you experience pain or if the pain intensifies, you have more resistance to letting go of that area of the body. This work was not designed to beat you up or cause you pain. It was designed to get you to let go of as many of the unsupportive holding patterns as you can. Not everyone can or wants to let go of these holding patterns. We work with you, much like partners in a dance. Do you want to change what does your posture says about you? Try Structural Integration.
If the Treatment is so Effective Why Doesn't My Doctor Know About It? Have you ever wondered why your medical doctor doesn't know very much about alternative types of treatment? Doctor John R Lee of Sebastopol, California has this to offer. The first reason lies in the fact that the selection process of medical students depends in large part on college grades. Students get high grades when they simply repeat in their tests exactly what the teacher wants them to say. Students who question what they are being taught, on the other hand, usually do not get the higher grades. Medical schools therefore are filled with students who are good at adopting given wisdom, but not necessarily good at thinking and questioning, because they have learned to follow precepts handed to them by presumed authorities. The second reason that accounts for the way many doctors think is that medical schools tend to be organized into organ specific departments. The idea of an underlying link between these different departmentalized diseases is nonexistent within this framework. Furthermore, the influence of nutrition on the way cells function is ignored or derided by many department heads who defend their own orthodox concepts. The third reason is one of simple economics. When leaving medical school the young doctor finds him or herself in a system that rewards what is called rescue medicine or interventions that treat symptoms. There is no reward, and there may well be scorn from fellow doctors for those who take the time and trouble to try and prevent illness or attempt to correct nutritional deficiencies which may be causing the patients conditions. Medical record keeping and billing for insurance also require doctors to adhere to this superficial organ classification of disease. Economic rewards follow only from sticking to this particular model of ill-health and treatment. Malpractice is another great fear among doctors. People should note that the definition of malpractice is not whether the practice is "good" or "bad" for the patient, but rather if the practice in question is what other doctors in the given locality normally do or prescribe. Doctors also quite naturally, seek the professional and social approval of their peers. Both of these factors conspire to keep the doctor in line, limiting the likelihood of a doctor adopting some unconventional practices techniques. Thank you John R. Lee M.D. for the wonderful insight from a physicians point of view. Structural Integration is one of those types of treatments that most doctors do not know about. The work offers profound changes of posture, gives length to shortened tissues and creates layers in stuck fascia. Sometimes surgeries can avoided, chronic aches and pains go away, so that health and vitality can to return to you.