Structural Integration was developed and refined in the mid-20th century by Ida P. Rolf, PhD (hence the nickname "Rolfing"). Structural Integration is a process designed to work with the body in segments and achieve vertical alignment by balancing the body from front to back, side to side, top to bottom and inside to outside. Ida Rolf believed that human evolution needed a little nudge; in other words, just because we aren't walking on all fours anymore doesn't mean that we have achieved full upright status.
A body at war with gravity is a body out of balance - heavy, compressed and fatigued. The casualties of this war include poor postural alignment, aches, pains and poor range of motion. By establishing a vertical line of organization through our structure, SI provides a higher level of order and function throughout our tissues and bones. SI leaves clients feeling "lighter, "longer" and "more upright".
While relieving symptoms is not the primary goal of SI, many clients report relief from long-standing patterns of restricted movement and chronic pain. SI is undertaken in a series of 10 sessions of bodywork, each lasting approximately 90 minutes, each with a specific set of objectives. Each session focuses on a particular area of the body, bringing it thoroughly into balance before moving on in sequence. The sequence of sessions is purposeful, each building on the last until complete integration of the body is achieved. Though each session focuses on one specific area of the body, it is also individually tailored to address the particular needs and conditions of the client.
Like Connective Tissue Massage, SI works with the fascia, releasing "stuck" spots, lengthening shortness, and straightening out twists. Sessions also include postural and movement education intended to maximize and maintain the effectiveness of the work. Structural Integration is not a passive style of bodywork; the client participates fully in every stage of the session, utilizing movement cues, breathing, etc. to get the most out of each manipulation. Sessions are best scheduled one to three weeks apart.