Structural Integration may not sound like a term that relates to the human body, possibly seeming like something on the minds of home builders or architects. But, Structural Integration is all about the human body and its evolution. It’s about, but not limited to, health, wellness, balance, prevention and self-awareness. It educates people about the structure of their body and how that structure determines the function of their body. Structural Integration is a process of re-inhabiting and aligning ones being to maintain it in a manner that will minimize injury and promote mind-body integration.
What is it?
The Rolf Method of Structural Integration was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf after she made the discovery that restricted tissue often results in opposing muscles not being able to function independently or harmoniously. Much like a person chained to a steel ball will have a hard time walking, restricted muscles have limited movement, and limited abilities. When this occurs, the muscles, as well as the connective tissues, and the organs, don’t work correctly.
Dr. Rolf discovered that she could organize the fibers of these muscles through manipulation of the connective tissue matrix called “fascia.” This organization aids the body physically, freeing up the habitual holding patterns so the muscles can work in a harmonious relationship with each other supporting freedom of movement throughout the skeletal system. Often people hold their stress in their tissues, leaving them to tense up and cause an internal road block of their natural system. Freeing up the unnecessary tension in the connective tissue matrix allows the body to self-regulate and release an accumulation of chronic mental, emotional, and physical stress.
Why it’s needed?
Most people are structurally challenged: fighting to be upright in gravity. Is it difficult to stand on your own two feet without some sort of ache or pain telling you to sit down? When you sit down is it too much effort to sit up straight so you slouch? Does movement seem to take more effort than necessary, and are you feeling rigid and less resilient as you get older? Fighting with gravity supports poor alignment and will result in poor health. Structural Integration is a process that helps rid the body of this poor alignment by bringing it into balance in the gravitational field, ridding it of poor health in the process. It restores the structure to function, placing the ability to heal at its disposal.
When a person undergoes Structural Integration, gravity becomes their body’s advocate. It nurtures and supports the skeletal system, allowing organs to have the space they need to function properly. This results in the lungs, kidneys, heart, and every other organ working more efficiently, doing its part to sustain life. As a result of all this, a person feels more complete, more balanced, and healthier than they ever thought they could.
What are the benefits?
Structural Integration releases physical, mental and emotional stress and tension. This release unlocks the body’s ability to function at its optimal level. It releases energy that, previously used to harbor stress, finds more noble work in the form of fighting infection and injury. The process of Structural Integration brings the whole being at ease within itself and in relation to the environment in which it functions. It also facilitates empowerment, giving a person the experience that their body is integrated with their mind and together a powerful vehicle in the evolutionary movement of consciousness.
Structural Integration allows chronic worry and anxiety to subside. Most people are probably not even aware of the amount of worry and anxiety that they internalize. When Structural Integration is performed, pent up stress rises to the surface, escaping like steam from a pot of uncovered boiling water. Just like people are often surprised at the amount of steam that can result from a seemingly small pot of water, people are often amazed at how much stress and tension they actually hold, and can potentially release.
When combined with Osteopathic medicine, the benefits of Structural Integration are greatly enhanced. Like Structural Integration, Osteopathic medicine aims to free the body of its unnatural restrictions, producing a being in which wellness can prosper. Both Osteopathy and Structural Integration aim to help the body restore optimal function. Structure determines function so when a body finds its balance it can self regulate and prevent disease.
TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being, empowering each person one breath at a time to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.
Jennifer Jordan is senior editor of for http://www.yogatwisted.com. Specializing in articles that not only teach yoga techniques, but also teach techniques on fulfillment and enrichment, she aims to educate students proudly enrolled in the school of life.