Long-term positive change takes time. Your body did not get this way overnight. Helping it find a new balance to be will take some time too.
Each Structural Integration session works on different areas with different objectives in mind. Often, you will see changes as soon as you step off the table. But the time between sessions is just as powerful because this is when your body takes the changes – such as greater range of motion in the shoulder, a shifted pelvic angle, or improved foot flexibility – and integrates them into your system.
In other words, your body takes time to make these changes yours.
During this time, the body experiments with unfamiliar movements and awareness, builds new neurological pathways, and influences your structure, movement patterns, and experiences.
This is why Ida Rolf used to say, “Gravity is the therapist.”
At the beginning of the next session, we will observe what is changing and what hasn’t been changing – and use this information to refine our strategy.
Ten sessions allow us to devote appropriate time to specific areas and issues that are common structural challenges. More importantly, it allows us to customize work that is meaningful to your unique body and lifestyle.
Do I Need to do all 10 sessions?
Yes and no.
Yes, it is encouraged to do all ten series to get the maximum benefit out of the structural integration. This is because the myofascial connective tissue network is continuous from head to toe, and any tension in one area can directly affect very distant areas.
A 10-series of sessions is needed to adequately work the entire structure in a systematic way and to achieve lasting changes.
No. You can have a trial session to see if the practitioner is suitable for you before comitting to go through the full 10-series sessions. In this trial session, the practitioner will work on a specific part of the body causing pain or discomfort, such as an area that has been injured or has limited range of motion.
The practitioner can also come up with a strategy to get the maximum benefit out of the number of sessions that you can do.
Does the series need to be repeated?”
The Structural Integration series does not need to be repeated. Many clients report continued improvements in posture and movement long after the series is completed. Between sessions and after a series, you are bringing yourself to that higher level of order and organization. Many clients do choose to come back for post-ten “tune up” work or a mini-series following an injury or particularly stressful times.
Does SI hurt?
When most people think Structural Integration or Rolfing®, one of the first things that come to their mind is pain.
Often, this perception is based on anecdotal accounts of sessions performed during Rolfing’s infancy, when it tended to be a less subtle and more intense discipline, frequently linked to emotionally intense types of therapies that were popular in the late-60s and early-70’s.
This can partly be attributed to an often-quoted complaint of Dr Ida Rolf during her training classes that her students failed to work deep enough. Many assumed that what she meant was that they needed to work harder and deeper.
However, we now realise that it is possible to work deeply without causing pain.
Structural Integration is not about forcing the body to change. It is more about listening to the body and encouraging areas that are holding (ie tight and constricted) to open up and let go. We often do not realise that we are holding pain and stress in our body until someone else touches our pain.
There may be some discomfort while working in an area that has been under chronic stress. However, the discomfort is usually followed by a pleasurable feeling of release and relaxation.
Every client has a different relationship to pain and touch.
Does SI last?
Yes! Photographs taken of clients years after the basic10-series show changes still present.
Physiology explains why: Our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves. Bodies determine how to rebuild themselves in the future, based on the present way in which weight and stress is distributed through the structure.
When we loosen, lengthen, and shift connective tissue, we affect relationships between structures; we change stress patterns.
Thus, the body rebuilds itself a bit differently. This is how Structural Integration affects structure over the long-term.
Obviously, if body-use changes due to injury, illness, or stress, additional work may be useful.
Can babies and children receive SI?”
Structural Integration can be extremely effective with children due to the rapid rate at which their bodies break down and rebuild. (As we grow older this process slows down.)
Consequently, profound structural changes can occur in children with minimal intervention.
In addition to correcting structural patterns, Structural Integration can serve as a preventive measure to reverse potentially problematic patterns in the young.
Structural Integration can assist children and adolescents with growing pains, scoliosis, poor posture, leg imbalances such as knock-knees or pigeon-toes, and headaches, among others.
When a child learns how to stand and to walk he or she is not particular about the correctness of the movements. The child is concerned with just doing it.
This simple earnest act can create all kinds of leg imbalances in the young child which can develop into other difficulties involving the back and neck.
Problems can worsen with the use of “walkers” – frames with wheels that supposedly help children to “walk”. Instead of walking, the child often kicks and pushes the legs in order to move forward.
Structural Integration is a great way to head off any potential problems later in life.
Many adults believe that their patterns are genetically inherited. Most of the time, these patterns are actually “inherited” from learning from their parents. They are not genetic!
Depending on the age – and personaity – of the child, Structural Integration work is slightly different compared with the work with adults. It is always within the comfort level of the child and the sessions can be shorter.
Parents are welcome to watch the session. They can usually gain an interesting perspective and greater insight into the work from watching their child’s session.