Aaron Tidwell LMBT NC Lic.# 8569
Be Free to MOVE
FAQ about Structural Integration

What is the Ida Rolf method of Structural Integration? 

Who is Ida Rolf?
Who seeks out Structural Integration?
How many sessions are there and what do I wear during a session?
What are the benefits of Structural Integration?
I have a bad back, knee, etc. can I just work on that ?
What will the Structural Integration session feel like, I have heard it is painful?
How does Structural Integration Work?
I have had surgeries can I still do Structural Integration?

What is the Ida Rolf method of Structural Integration?

 

The Ida Rolf Method of Structural Integration utilizes a 3-pronged approach consisting of:

I. Hands-on Bodywork  

moving fascia

Dr Ida P. Rolf developed Structural Integration as a 10-session series to restore postural balance and functional ease throughout your entire body. Using heat and pressure with our hands, we aim to lengthen, reorganize and re-balance connective tissue and more specifically, the fascial web, encompassing every major organ, muscle, bone, blood and nerve vessel throughout the body. The fascial matrix is aptly called the ‘organ of support’ that supports our structure and gives us our unique shape and form. It is a unique and exceptionally effective health care approach because it manipulates fascia, instead of our musculoskeletal system, which allows us to reorganize and realign the major structures of the body vertically. The ideology behind Structural Integration also takes into consideration the whole picture of the human body. For example, we reorganize a wrist joint imbalance while acknowledging its relationship to the upper arm, neck, and shoulder.

Another significant feature of Structural Integration is the biomechanical assessment of each client and refining habitual and routine movement patterns. I can work with clients to optimize and enhance the efficiency of their movement patterns. For example, we can work together on refining your golf swing, deepening and facilitating difficult yoga poses, changing your movement pattern to walk up stairs more easily and without pain, and other repetitive motions.

II.Movement Education

Lunging forward working on controlled movementThe movement education is a vital component for maintaining the structural integrity and balance achieved through the Structural Integration 10-series. The movement lessons are taught after each session. The movement lessons refine our most habitual or routine postures such as sitting, standing, walking, bending over, and body/mind relationships and aims to raise one’s own body awareness and spatial orientation. It pertains to the anatomical terrain worked on in the particular session. For instance, just as yoga is meant to be practiced and refined over time, each movement lesson’s intention is to hone and refine your movement patterns in order to move more efficiently, conserve more energy day-to-day, and prevent future dis-ease and discomfort. Embrace these ‘movement tools’ which enhances your body awareness and educates you on practicing preventative measures against physical injury, pain, tension, and discomfort.

It is important to keep in mind that the overall head-to-toe structural alignment and integrity revealed and achieved from the series can be sustained throughout your lifetime by continuously practicing and adopting the new movement patterns until it becomes a new and healthier habit. Bad habits can be unlearned but it takes time and patience. Remember to keep in mind to go at your own pace and always be patient with yourself. If their were a magic wand, we could just wave it and fix everything, but real change takes time.

III. Client-Practitioner Dialogue

 Client and Practitioner DialogueThe third facet of Structural Integration for cultivating optimum health and well-being is through the avenue of client/practitioner dialogue. Structural Integration clearly takes into account all the dimensions of what makes us human. We take into consideration the indivisible relationships among the body, mind, and spirit. As Structural Integration practitioners, we embrace the philosophy that the body/mind share an inextricable circular relationship, and how one affects the other, and vice versa. As a general example, repressed emotions that are not expressed and bottled up can manifest as physical pain in the body. Emotions, memories, and trauma are claimed to be stored in our tissues and manipulation of connective tissue can help one to let go of them.

That being said, if it sounds similar to a psychotherapy session, it really isn’t. It serves as a tool to raise the client’s awareness to how their personal philosophies and ideologies influence their structure and can attribute to physical imbalances. In other words, taking care of our emotional health will positively influence our physical health. Structural Integration practitioners typically delve into the relationships of how our thoughts, belief systems, opinions, and emotions affect our bodies and structural balance. It is interesting to see how our minds directly influence and affect our physical nature. In other words, Structural Integration affects the mind through the body.

The

Structural Integration is an incredible holistic and educational system to empower you to take responsibility towards your path to longstanding health and wellness. In essence, the process reveals and reestablishes your natural state of alignment, ease, and balance. It aligns the human structure as a whole around a vertical axis, which allows gravity to lift and support the body, instead of adversely hindering balance and fluidity. Friend or foe, gravity is an unseen force continually interacting with the human body in the many postures we perform everyday. Gravity will continue to reinforce your less-than-ideal postural positions and habits, or gently support your body upwards if our structures are mutually in unison with the force of gravity.

Classroom learning about balancing broomsHave you ever tried balancing a broom or a stick in the palm of your hand? The moment you have the stick balancing effortlessly, standing perfectly straight, is a wonderful demonstration of a structure in harmony with gravity. The stick is balanced on a vertical axis and feels weightless. However, as soon as the stick moves around, you feel its weight, which then requires effort and energy to compensate for its inevitable pull by the force of gravity towards the ground. We can draw parallels with the “balancing stick metaphor “to the human body. When the major structures are organized and aligned along a vertical axis, gravity can flow with you and sustain effortless balance. On the other hand, when body structures are imbalanced and misaligned, the body must make compensations in order to keep itself upright and find some semblance of balance. These compensations occur in the fascial web matrix and create strain within this complex network of connective tissue. Strain in one area of the body will cause strain in other areas because of the inseparable connectivity of fascial planes within the body. Fortunately, fascia can be brought back to its healthy state, rejuvenating its tone and chemistry. Fascial change brought about locally in a particular area of the body, creates change globally.

Integrating all the major structures of the body vertically creates an adaptable, resilient, balanced, and energy-efficient whole, unveiling your innate state of vigor and well-being. Structural Integration is a profound process for your everlasting radiant health and well-being.

Who is Ida Rolf?

Ida P. Rolf
Creator of Structural Integration

Ida Rolf working with a baby

"This is the gospel of Structural Integration: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through.  Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself." -Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.

 

Born in New York City and raised in the Bronx, Ida P. Rolf attended school in the New York area and graduated from Barnard College in 1916. In 1920, she graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with a doctorate in biological chemistry. Dr. Rolf was a rare person with incredibly creative insight - one who had the ability to see things in a new way. This, along with her curiosity, vision, intuitive nature, and, the gift of her hands, led her in the 1930s and '40s to have many breakthrough experiences while working with chronically disabled people who had been unable to find help elsewhere. The sequence of work that emerged became known as Structural Integration. For the next thirty years Ida Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs. Her legacy lives on in the work of Structural Integration.


Who seeks out Structural Integration?

People go through the series for plenty of reasons:

  • People from all walks of life with chronic pain and tension issues in their head, neck, shoulders, arms, hips, legs, feet, etc.
  • People with poor postural habits that want to improve their overall posture, shape, and heighten their body awareness.
  • People who suffer from emotional or physical trauma, anxiety, and tension looking for an outlet to release them.
  • People who experience lingering effects of past injuries and accidents.
  • Athletes or active weekend warriors looking for an edge in performance and to help prevent injury.
  • Practitioners who’d like to deepen their personal practices/hobbies such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, pilates, dance, fitness, all types of sports, etc.
  • People who want to remain as active as they were when they were younger.
  • People who have structural imbalances/issues such as scoliosis, lordosis, swayback, kyphosis, etc.

See through back with spine

Many report that Structural Integration was the ‘last shot in the dark,’ so to speak, as far as finding a lasting solution to their chronic pain issues.

 

 

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How many sessions are there, and what do I wear during a session?
Structural Integration is done in 10 initial sessions that last about 75 min. each. These sessions will be scheduled roughly 2 weeks apart. Please call or email to address any specific scheduling needs. For those with serious injury, athletic aspirations, or chronic problems any advanced sessions are scheduled on an as needed basis. Many find that, with a little effort at home, they do not require many sessions for their long term continuing care.

A Structural Integration session is similar to a "sports style" bodywork/massage. This means you will be clothed the whole time. Most people wear either underwear/bikini bottoms or running shorts with no buttons or zippers, and ladies wear a sports bra or a bra without underwire. The session room is kept very warm for your comfort, and your modesty is always resepected.


What are the benefits of Structural Integration? 

Standing up straighter after having Structural Integration sessions

* Improved posture and body shape
* Improved overall balance
* Enhanced physical performance
* Greater range of motion and flexibility
* Being less "stressed out"
* Reduced effort in activity
* Enhanced body awareness
* Increased energy, vitality, and fitness
* Balanced tone throughout the tissues
* Alleviation of chronic pain, tension, and rigidity
* Easier and fuller breath capacity
* Moving more efficiently and fluidly
* Improved athletic performance and prevent injury
* Improved quality of life

Often times clients report more personal, emotional, and spiritual benefits such as feeling more comfortable in their own skin, experiencing a newfound pleasure in the use of their bodies, feeling more emotionally stable and mature, being more deeply realigned with their goals and future, having a healthier and optimistic outlook on life, expressing who they are more authentically, managing stress and negative emotions easily, embracing an overall happier and improved quality of life, and various accounts of higher awareness of the self.



I have a bad back, knee, etc. can I just work on that?
Structural Integration deals with the body as a whole, i.e. you cannot disconnect the parts from the intact nature of your structure. In utero the first thing to appear when the body grows beyond cells into tissue is fascia. This fascial tissue then builds everything else about you. The fascial web runs through you in a single unbroken strand. Structural Integration organizes the entirety of your fascia so that your "pain/problem" doesn't have anywhere to hide. Clients often report feeling sensations in various parts of the body even when that spot is far away from the area being currently worked in the session. So while we will focus on any problem specific to you, the sessions will be done all over your body and not in just one spot. 

What will the Structural Integration session feel like, I have heard it is painful?
For those with chronic pain issues, and serious structural problems, touching the places of tension in your body is generally not fun. However, the process of a session is a very individual and subjective experience. Where some would say the process was painful, others say it is not painful at all. While many people may find a session can be uncomfortable, Structural Integration creates wonderful feelings of looseness and flexibility afterwards. Releasing the places you are holding tension in your body, allows you to learn new ways to move, replacing your bad habit, for a good habit. The trade off for a small time of discomfort, is a lifetime of movement and freedom.


How Does Structural Integration Work? 

The line of the body gets straighter after gravity is your friend

Using heat and pressure with the practitioner’s hands, the restricted layers of fascia which can adhere to one another are lengthened, reorganized, and balanced back to a healthier, more fluid state. Each fascial layer is softened and released, relieving all the trauma and tension stored in the tissues. The goal of Structural Integration is to reorganize the entire body as an integrated functional whole with gravity. As a result, the series creates lasting change and a highly effective solution to chronic ailments.

The movement education will raise awareness of your postural habits, progressively learn healthier movement patterns to sustain the postural balance gained from the series and facilitate the myriad postures you perform throughout your day-to-day. Healthy posture allows a life full of ease, grace, fluidity, and balance restoring functional ease in the entire body. Most of all, you feel empowered and realigned.


I have had surgeries can I still do Structural Integration?
As long as you have successfully healed from your surgery, and your doctor has cleared you, yes you can enjoy the benefits of this work. If you have pins/metals in your body their is of course no way to move metal, however relaxing the tissue around the metal structure brings significant relief to many clients feelings of post-surgical tension or pain.
 

© Copyright 2017 Aaron Tidwell LMBT NC Lic.# 8569. All rights reserved.