If you can imagine how it feels to have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, at ease with itself and the Earth’s gravitational field, then you will understand the goal of Structural Integration.
If you live in a body, going through a Structural Integration ten-series would serve and assist you. Over the years through use, injury, illness, trauma (physical, emotional, daily life, and minor traumas) the body shrinks, binds, and forms concrete-like connective tissue. This connective tissue, called fascia, covers the entire area of the body and can determine the amount of freedom and ease (or disease) we have in movement and body functioning. Shortened and hardened fascia causes aches and pains and loss of flexibility over time (think about the flexibility of a baby and then compare it to how you feel in your body now). It is theorized that shortness in the fascial tissue creates not only physical discomfort but also it can effect our mental and emotional wellness and awareness as well; if the body is out of alignment, the mind and emotional body can be effected.
Although Structural Integration is a process and takes time (hence the name), most people feel better after a first session, and only continue to feel better as their ten-series progresses— and even in the months after a ten series. A ten-series (10, one hour sessions over time) may sound like an investment, which it is— both financially and to the process. But, what if after ten sessions your body and mind had more ease? What if you felt better than you have in years? What if your life and performance in life significantly improve? What if it “turns back the clock” for you? The good news is, you don’t have to commit to a ten series right away— you can try a first session and decide from there if you would like to continue…the only risk with a first session being that you may literally breathe more easily. That sounds good, right?
As a Structural Integration practitioner, DeNae D’Auria has over 15 years of experience and extended training holding space for SI work and her clients. She views each person as a unique individual and intuitively works with them and their body. To her, your session is all about you and meeting your needs for your life. Speaking to her experience, DeNae has worked with professional athletes, professional musicians, medical doctors, mental health professionals, business professionals, new moms, children, fellow bodyworkers and healers, and various humans with a body. DeNae sees an individual as an individual and will meet you there. How would your life be different with potentially more physical, mental and emotional ease and alignment? Is it time to invest in yourself?
To schedule or inquire about Structural Integration at hOMe Collective contact: DeNae D’Auria 303.859.2600 or email: email@example.com.
FAQ’s about Structural Integration (information provided by the Guild for Structural Integration):
What is Structural Integration?
Structural Integration is a process of re-education of the body through movement and 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.
What does gravity have to do with Structural Integration?
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines gravity as, “the pull on all bodies in the Earth’s sphere towards the Earth’s center.” The Earth’s gravitational field is the most potent physical force that the human body has to deal with. Although most people realize this tremendous force exists, they somehow believe they are immune to it! Gravity’s constant effect on any soft, pliable mass is to make it a formless, chaotic and spherical unit. Since the body has a great deal of plasticity and is much broader at the top than at the base, it is greatly affected by gravity.
Most bodies in gravity are in a state of imbalance. As we grow older, we often “shrink” in height and slowly lose flexibility. Our bones stay the same length and our muscles can still function, but the connective tissue is what changes the most.
What is Connective Tissue/Fascia?
It is a very tough, strong tissue, otherwise known as the myofascial system. Connective tissue is the support system of our body. All of the major systems in the body— circulatory, digestive, nervous, musculo-skeletal, and organs— are ensheathed in connective tissue/fascia. A healthy and balanced connective tissue system’s characteristics are flexibility, elasticity, length and resilience. The tissue absorbs and responds to gravitational force, illness, injury, emotional trauma, physical trauma and plain everyday stress. Any of these factors will immediately, or over a period of time, cause an imbalance in the tissue system. When imbalance exists, the system’s healthy characteristics are affected. The imbalance is identified as a shortening, thickening, dehydration of the tissue which impairs joint mobility and muscle function. This is usually felt in the body as chronic pain, discomfort, stiffness, or decreased flexibility and impaired movement.
Connective Tissue Has Memory
Any imbalance in the body— no matter what the cause— is imprinted as change in the internal structure and has a long-range and cumulative effect. The body may attempt to return to its original state but without assistance it remains misaligned. For example, when someone sprains an ankle it is only natural to protect it by keeping as much weight as possible off the injured ankle by shifting as much weight as possible to the uninjured side of the body. This natural response to the injury changes the entire body’s relationship to the gravitational field, and the neuromuscular system is repatterned as part of this process.
Repatterning means that the patterns of neural activity, blood and lymph flow, and muscular contraction are altered. When the ankle heals and pain subsides, the person assumes that they are returning to normal movement and function; however, this is not the case. The new pattern created from the shift of weight has been recorded in the internal structure and remains there as part of that person’s movement and holding pattern. Remnants of the injury will be maintained in the structure and function indefinitely.
The body can also be repatterned not only from injury, but also from every day habits like carrying a heavy bag on the same shoulder or sitting out of alignment in front of a computer or staring at a phone with the head slumped forward while texting. In order to remain upright the entire body has to compensate and some muscles are forced to shorten. When a muscle is chronically shortened it loses its ability to relax which then results in constant state of tension. When these changes and patterns occur, the connective tissue/fascia needs assistance in order to return to its normal, healthy state. Structural lntegration is of particularly great benefit at this point.
How does Structural Integration work?
By lengthening and opening the patterns in connective tissue. As a result the thickened, toughened tissue becomes soft, rehydrated and more pliable, thus allowing movement and flexibility. Structural Integration changes the body’s compensations because it organizes the imbalances in the tissue. The systematic approach to relating gravity through the myofascial layers aligns the body and improves posture. The body lengthens allowing muscles the space to work and joints the freedom to function.
What are the benefits?
Structural Integration is a very personal process. It is important to remember that because no two people are alike, their experience and the benefits will never be exactly the same. As a result of the process people often appear taller and slimmer. Some actually gain anywhere from 1/4” to over one inch in height. Feelings of discomfort or pain are often alleviated. Other often experienced benefits are greater flexibility, a feeling of lightness and fluidity, better balance increased breathing capacity, increased energy and greater self-confidence.
Are there psychological benefits?
While Structural Integration is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems, and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. Align the physical structure and it will open up the individual’s potential.
Clients often report positive changes, stating less stress, greater self-confidence, and improved ability to handle life’s changes. Such changes have been reported in all age groups.
How does Structural Integration feel?
(Or in the words of many: does it hurt??!!). Much of the reputation that Structural Integration hurts and is painful came from the early days when Structural Integration was first gaining public recognition. Since that time, the process has greatly evolved. As far as the actual experience is concerned, the area being worked will vary in sensation and feeling depending upon injuries to an area or holding of chronic stress as well as other factors. Feeling can range from pleasurable release to momentary discomfort. The goal is to make each client’s experience one of selfempowerment. This process is the client’s— not the practitioner’s. The practitioner will work at your level and pace.
The Basic Ten Series
The Basic Ten Series consists of ten sessions, each one building on the last. Each session lasts approximately one hour and can be scheduled anywhere from one week to one month apart. Another thing to know is that the client undresses down to underwear (or whatever clothing is necessary to keep them comfortable and feeling safe while allowing the SI practitioner to still have access to work on their body). The client lies on an SI table— like a massage table but more the size of a single bed. The Practitioner begins the fascial work applying pressure to the myofascial tissue, and will use hands, arms, and sometimes elbows to carefully move the tissue. The relationship between the tissue, the rhythms of respiration, nervous system responses and organization in gravity is all part of the Practitioner’s work. The client is a participant, often being asked to breathe into the area being worked on in order to make small movements through the joint and to discuss patterns of movement and use the gravity through that movement.
Does Structural Integration last?
YES! Photographs taken of clients years after the Basic Ten Series show that changes were still present and structure often improved. Keep in mind however, as life changes, bodies change in response. All injuries, accidents, lengthy illnesses and emotional stress may necessitate additional work.
When the Basic Ten Series is completed, it is recommended that a client allow a few months of integration time before receiving more work, and at least a year before completing another tenseries. This waiting period allows for integration of the body. After the waiting period, clients may return for more work focusing on movement, balance, awareness and further education.
About the Founder
Dr. Ida P. Rolf was the founder of Structural Integration. In 1920 she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. For twelve years she worked at the Rockefeller Institute in the Chemotherapy and Organic Chemistry departments. In the 1930’s, challenged by a friend’s disabilities and dissatisfied with the available medical treatment, Dr. Rolf explored Osteopathy, Chiropractic medicine, Yoga, Homeopathic medicine, and Korzybski’s work on the consciousness. By the 1940’s she had developed and experienced many breakthroughs with the work she did on chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere. During her scientific research, she made a fundamental discovery about the body: the same network of connective tissue which contains and links the muscle system when it’s healthy can be used to reshape it when it’s been pulled our of proper order. Dr. Rolf further refined her technique and developed a training program to insure that this important work would continue. There are two schools that conduct Dr. Rolf’s training— The Guild for Structural Integration and the Rolf Institute. Both are involved in research to enhance the understanding of gravity’s relationship to human structure. Graduates are required to have extensive knowledge in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, body awareness and a mature sensitivity to psychological mediation.
Structural Integration is also known as “Rolfing.” Dr. Rolf called her system of bodywork Structural Integration, a name which is descriptive of the process. “Rolfing” is a nickname, first coined in the 1960’s at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA.
Across the Lines Integration
Across the Lines Integration is the creation of DeNae D’Auria, Certified Practitioner of Structural Integration, Certified Meditator, Conflict Resolution Specialist and Non-Violent Communication based coach and teacher, Certified Intuitive, and Certified Family Systems and Constellation practitioner.