What is Structural Integration/Therapy?
“The ideal treatment for postural and overuse injuries”
What is Structural Integration, Rolfing, Structural Bodywork, Structural Myofascial Therapy?
Structural Integration, also known as Rolf Structural Integration (called "Rolfing" by the students of the Rolf Institute) is the therapeutic bodywork known as “Structural Integration” developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf. What really defines Structural Integration is the specific organized 10 session protocol, which releases soft tissues, joints, and incorporates teaching new ways of breathing and moving to improve a person's range of motion and posture. The specific "10 sessions" as a recipe is Structural Integration or “Rolfing”.
Structural Bodywork or Structural Myofascial Therapy links the principles and techniques of Structural Integration and the clinical treatment protocols of therapeutic massage to offer a condensed full body approach to structural alignment and condition specific treatment during a session. As acute symptoms resolve, the therapist can then begin to address other structural compensations with a "global-specific-global" approach. Generally several sessions of pure SMFT are required to provide the opportunity for the body to find a new alignment. Training in Structural Bodywork is separate from Massage Therapy Training.
Structural work is best described as deep, slow, specific, engaging. A very small amount of wax on the therapist's hands, arms and elbows is the only lubricant used to maintain the tissue grip, rather than slide with oil or lotion over the skin. This work is NOT a massage! It is rather a mobilization and reorganization of the body's fascial planes in all dimensions. Often active release or movement is called for during treatment. The client may also move into sidelying or seated positions for some of the work. The client and therapist "engage together" during structural integration therapy. Appropriate draping is always maintained.
Educating clients to embody these changes functionally, Postural Somatic Awareness plays an important role in enabling the client to realize where they hold tension, where they "are in space/gravity" (proprioception) and includes awareness about how they use their bodies, the positions they habitually take and use during work, sleep, play. Modifications and lifestyle changes may be beneficial for bringing about lasting postural changes.