“an educational process”
Structural integration can help if you want to:
Relieve chronic pain
Improve your posture/alignment
Improve your performance
Recover from repetitive strain injuries
Recover from an auto accident
Heal from trauma
Relieve and prevent chronic stress and muscular tension
Who does it help?
SI has helped people of all ages and backgrounds who want to feel better in their bodies. Many people initially stumble upon SI because they're looking for a solution to chronic pain or discomfort, but since this work is about exploring your potential for awareness and vitality, even the healthiest people can benefit. If you want to improve your freedom of movement and sense of comfort in your body so you can enjoy the things that matter most to you, then SI can probably make a big difference in your life.
Is structural integration like massage, chiropractic, or physical therapy?
While massage usually focuses on relaxation, SI uses manual therapy and movement education to address the underlying habits of body use that contribute toward pain and stress, working toward sustainable change in your movement, posture, and overall well-being. During a massage, we typically “zone out,” but with SI you engage by noticing your experience and giving feedback—this is a big reason why the work is so effective. SI works systematically to create ease and balance in your whole body, rather than focusing on the areas where symptoms present. As your structure becomes better-organized, chronic strain patterns are alleviated and pain and stress decrease.
Chiropractors are known for quick-thrust “adjustments,” which I am neither trained nor licensed to provide. Physical therapists tend to use corrective exercise as their primary treatment modality. I know of many excellent chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, and other practitioners. If our work isn’t getting you where you need to go, or if you need additional support, then I am more than happy to refer you out. I am your advocate. The goal is to get you feeling better and doing the things you love.
Is structural integration like Rolfing®?
As Kleenex is to tissues, Rolfing® is a brand name of structural integration that is often used generically. Practitioners who did their SI training at the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute are allowed to license the institute’s trademarked terms. The Institute is one of about 20 training programs approved by the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI). I graduated from an IASI-approved program called Anatomy Trains Structural Integration which was founded by Thomas Myers, an original student of Dr. Rolf, and have done continuing education with teachers from various SI schools.
What does structural integration feel like? Is it painful?
Structural integration is not a technique. Rather, it’s a principles-driven, process-based approach to manual therapy and somatic education. Just about any technique can be employed in support of the principles and goals of SI, so it can involve a range of touch: from very light to slow, deep pressure. Either way, my touch is always sensitive and respectful.
While tender areas are sometimes exposed along the way, it is never my intention to inflict pain. "No pain, no gain" is not how I work. Whatever level of pressure we're at, it should feel good to you. You communicating your comfort level during the session helps me customize the work to your needs. SI is not done to you, but rather it is done with you.
Do the effects last?
SI is known for lasting change. Here are some before/after photos of people who completed the classical 10-session series of SI. Please understand that changes in posture do not necessarily equate to other outcomes, and results are highly individualized. We can only speculate about the specific changes these people experienced, but it's fair to say that change has occurred.
Consider this… there are 168 hours in a week. What do you think has more to do with the situation you’re in: the hour-or-so you’re on a treatment table, or what you’re doing during those other 167 hours? My work is geared toward changing how you live during those hours of the week when you aren’t on my table. Through awareness and self-care, you can benefit long after the initial SI process is complete.
About “The 12-Series”
SI is traditionally performed over an initial series of sessions that build upon each other progressively. This process of SI, as I offer it, is known as the 12-series. Completing the 12-series is a great way to fully experience what this work has to offer, but it isn't a requirement. Even if we aren’t going through the 12-series, I always keep your progress with relationship to the series in mind. That way, if we’ve been working together for awhile and you decide you want to go through with the full series, we don’t have to start from the beginning.
Here’s a brief overview of how the 12-series is organized:
These sessions help prepare you for the work ahead by releasing compensation patterns and establishing your resources: your breath, your foundational support, and your ability to stabilize your body. In these sessions, we typically address the front, back, and sides of your body, setting the stage for an exploration of rotational patterns that leads into the next phase.
Sometimes referred to as the “core” phase of the series, these sessions work to release deeply held tension patterns and can have a profound effect on postural change. We work on relating your legs, pelvis, and spine all the way up to the cranium, with a focus on cultivating a sense of length, especially through your gait.
This phase of the series focuses on getting everything working together smoothly. Now that your body is better-aligned, more fluid and efficient movement is possible. We will deepen, refine, and bring closure to the themes of the series up until this point. This sets the stage for a better-feeling, more resilient body moving forward.
After completing a full series, you may find it beneficial to return for occasional "tune-up” sessions to support your continued progress. Or, sometimes life just happens and you want to get some bodywork to help deal with or recover from it… that’s fine, too. I’m here to help.