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Structural Integration

Structural Integration

What it is:

Structural Integration is a scientifically validated body therapy. Unlike massage, Structural Integration focuses not on the muscles but on their protective layer, called fascia (also known as connective tissue). The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.  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 restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position and muscles can move more efficiently.  Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia.

History of Structural Integration:

Beginning in the 1920s, Ida Pauline Rolf integrated her Ph.D. in biochemistry with research in organic chemistry and began experimenting with different systems of healing and manipulation, including homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and yoga to further her knowledge of the human body. The basis of many of these healing methods is the notion that proper alignment, physiologic function and anatomical structure are related, to which she added  a closer look at the effects of gravity on our bodies. Dr. Rolf posed this fundamental question: “What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the human body-structure to be organized and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?”

What to expect in a Structural Integration session:

Structural Integration is performed in ten one-hour sessions, one per week for ten weeks in a row. The ten sessions are administered progressively; each session builds upon the last until complete integration of the body is achieved. The process of Structural Integration includes balancing the body in segments and achieving vertical alignment from balancing the body from front to back, side to side, top to bottom and inside to outside.

  • Male clients receive work in underwear or swimsuit, women in two piece swimsuits or bra and underwear. The practitioner will observe how you stand, walk and other general movements. If you’d like to track changes, a series of photos may be taken, showing before and after results. You, as the client, will participate in the session, often being asked to breathe into the area being worked or to make small, specific movements.
  • During the session you may experience a warm, pleasant sensation from the area that the practitioner is working with. Some individuals do not experience any sensation while others may experience momentary discomfort. The practitioner will apply the appropriate pressure, based on your needs and feedback.
  • After the basic ten series is complete, a period of time is required for your body to adapt and fully integrate its new positioning, which can take anywhere from one month to one year.

Benefits of Structual Integration:

When the body is aligned, good posture is effortless and balance improves.  Breathing comes more easily and more fully. The body becomes more flexible, more coordinated and athletic performance improves.  Feelings of discomfort or pain lessen.  In all age groups, people have reported feelings of lightness and fluidity, better balance, increased energy, greater self-confidence, lessened susceptibility to stress, and improved ability to handle life’s changes.  In addition to treating posture in general, structural integration can aid in injury recovery and headache relief.

Our Massage Therapists who offer Structural Integration:

Rachel Jarvis
Eric Karie
Vanessa Wawrzynowicz
Chelsea Keane


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