Structural Integration consists of 10 sessions, each about 60 minutes in length. Each session builds upon the results of the previous one. The first seven sessions remove strain from specific areas of the body, such as the lower back, neck, knees, etc. The remaining sessions organize and integrate the body as a whole, resulting in better balance, enhanced freedom of movement and higher energy level.
At the start of session 1, your body structure will be assessed and discussed with you, often, but not always,documenting it with 3 “before” photos. After the last session, the changes may be documented with 3 “after” photos if you wish. These are yours to keep. Here are some examples of client results in these before and after photos.
The Structural Integration practitioner sensitively applies pressure where the fascia is restricted. You may be asked to breathe into an area and/or to make synchronized movements. The combination of applied pressure and synchronized response frees and repositions the fascia, which, in turn, realigns the body's segments. Sensations in the area being worked may range from pleasurable warmth to momentary discomfort. At times there may be very little sensation. You may experience a "hurts-so-good" feeling that is sometimes associated with a deep shoulder/neck massage. Your Structural Integration practitioner will communicate with you to maintain the applied pressure at an appropriate comfort level.
As the series progresses, connective tissues lengthen and become more pliable. A sense of lightness and freedom emerges in the body. This is accompanied by an increase in range of motion, sometimes to a remarkable degree. People often gain from 1/2 to 1 inches in height. Chronic pain and tension fall away.
Along with these changes there are often psychological and emotional changes as well. When the body lets go of old hardened postures, people find a sense of increased possibilities for their lives. As the body becomes more resilient and responsive, the personality becomes more dynamic as energy is freed for more creative approaches to the challenges that life presents.
The overall goal of the 10-session series is to organize the body around what is referred to as your "Line". The sessions follow a general pattern but are always adapted to meet the needs of a particular client’s unique physical structure. Therefore there is no way to describe accurately how every client will experience the individual sessions. The following are generalized and simplified descriptions of the ten sessions. Depending on your unique needs, your experience of the ten sessions may or may not resemble the experiences described on the following description.
The focus is on releasing restrictions in the fascial “body stocking”, especially around your shoulders, chest, lower back, and pelvis. As a result your ribcage can expand, reducing pressure on your heart and lungs. The improvements in circulation and respiration mean that your body can deal more effectively with toxins released by future sessions. A sensation of “lightness and a feeling of increased energy is common after this session. Many clients also gain an improved sense of the vertical in their posture.
The focus is on freeing fascial restrictions from the feet to the knees. By improving the horizontality in your foundation joints (feet, ankles and knees) this session increases your connection to the earth and gives you a feeling of being grounded. You will gain awareness of your walking patterns and begin to sense how these affect structure and function in your entire body. After the session you may feel your weight distributed more evenly in your legs and feet and you may find a new ease in walking. In this session many clients gain an improved sense of horizontal lines in their posture.
This is an integrative session that begins to invoke the Rolf Line at your body core. By releasing restrictions along the sides of the body, it removes tensions between the shoulders and pelvis so the major segments of the trunk can begin to move toward proper alignment. This session gives you the feeling of being put together, of resting more comfortably on the earth, of having a more elongated body. You may have a sense not only of verticality and horizontality in your body, but also of front-to-back depth, a clearer perception of being three-dimensional.
This is the first deep session (deep does not imply painful), a junction between the surface-layer work of sessions 1-3 and the core work of sessions 4-7. Session 4 improves weight transmission along the inner line of the legs to bring grounding up through to the pelvis and liberate restrictions in muscles connecting the upper and lower body. This session gives a strong sense of increased length and freedom in the legs, and many clients report a new feeling of energy, harmony, and integration in over-all body movement.
This session creates an appropriate relationship between the superficial abdominal muscles and the deeper leg/hip flexors located at the core. It releases fascial restrictions on internal organs, creating proper space for each one and arranging them around the internal vertical line. This session provides increased mobility for the pelvis and begins to create balance and congruence in the spinal column. Many clients report that this session leaves them with a new sense of internal space and a deep feeling of energy, peace, and being centered.
This session secures foundations. Work focuses on the back of your body, from the heels to the back of your head, in order to create sufficient space in the hinges between body segments. At the end of this session, all major fascial restrictions below the neck should be released. This session especially liberates muscles along the spine and releases two subtle hinges, the sacroiliac (at the base of the spine) and the cranial (at the top of the spine). For people who have been blocked at these hinges, the effects can be profound, for they affect how we perceive the world and ourselves in it - our “stance” both physically and psychologically. Some clients may report a stronger sense of clarity and ease, with improvements in self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.
This session continues and integrates the work of the previous six sessions. It relates your head and neck to the rest of your body, all the way through to the ground. Your neck may be given greater mobility in relation to your head and shoulders. This session often produces powerful changes in what most clients describe as “energy flow as a result of the now body-wide freeing of major fascial restrictions. Most clients report a feeling of general lightness throughout the body; their faces appear noticeably more balanced and relaxed. You should now have an improved awareness of the integration of all the parts of your body; sessions 8-10 will further this sense of integration. For some, the sense of increased integration may extend beyond the body to include other aspects of the self.
SESSIONS 8 and 9
One of these sessions will focus principally on your lower body, the other principally on your upper body. Which half of the body is the focus of sessions eight and nine depends on your structure and your responses to the preceding sessions. The goal is to bring your body to the next highest level of order possible, to achieve better side-to-side, font-to-back, and inner/outer balance. Most clients report a feeling of improved lift in their bodies after both sessions; in the days following they usually report a sense of lightness and ease in all physical activities as they experience the benefits of higher energy levels, improved mechanical efficiency, and better coordination.
This final session polishes the balancing and integrative process of the previous sessions. It fine-tunes the relationships between segments of your body, thus bringing it as close as possible to optimum balance. Your body should now be aligned or on a course toward alignment.