Archive for the ‘Structural Integration’ Category

What is fascia?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

One of the common questions I get about my work is “What is the difference between massage and Structural Integration?” The primary difference is intention and the systems we are working with: massage therapy is great for stress reduction and getting the blood and lymphatic systems moving, Structural Integration is aiming more for engaging long-term patterns in the connective tissue of the body. This connective tissue system is something we call fascia.

For a long time fascia was just the stuff the anatomists cut through to get to what they were studying, but over the past decade or two there has been more interest in the material itself. Several years ago I attended the very first Fascia Research Congress at Harvard University, where researchers and clinicians gathered for the first time to share their findings with one another. The fourth Fascia Research Congress was held just last month. I’m not a research wonk, but I did find the scientific process fascinating– ask a question, create a test, isolate the variables, collect the data, present your conclusions.

Last time I checked in with the wonks, there was no consensus on the exact mechanism of change for fascia– i.e., why does it respond to Structural Integration, what is the physiology, what is the best way to get a response? The answer I got was that they only knew it was not strictly applied pressure. To create connective tissue change with pressure you have to load one spot with a tremendous amount of it, a force so great even the most heavy-handed Rolfers are not capable of doing it.

The search continues, of course, and my curiosity lies with what they might find out about the nerve fibers and contractile tissue in the fascial matrix. There seems to be a place in connective tissue where the person (or the nervous system) is engaged, sometimes over-engaged, and if they can be met there and convinced that the grasp on that tissue can be loosened without dire consequences… well, it’s probably another post entirely to go into that, but let’s just say I’m interested to hear what the researchers find out.

Here is a lovely, graphically detailed and illustrated description of fascia with Robert Schleip, a RolferĀ® and researcher in Germany (subtitled in English):

Straighten Up and Fly Right!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Vintage Stranger Ad, unfinished
Vintage Stranger Ad, unfinished
It’s Summer in Seattle! The best time of year, and you should be feeling your very best. To help keep you flying through these long and lovely days, I’m offering a mini-series of Structural Integration for a reduced rate: Three sessions for $300. (That’s a savings of $75 for the set!)

If you have never received Dr. Rolf’s Structural Integration work, three sessions is a perfect intro, and should leave you feeling light on your feet, longer in your spine, and either completely satisfied or aware that you need more.
If you have done a series in the past, three is a great tune-up set.

To take advantage of this offer, book three appointments here and use promotion code SUMMER!. Offer ends August 31, 2016.

Fascial Research

Monday, April 1st, 2013

This is a longish video from a German TV documentary about back pain. Good stuff!

Connecting body to Earth and energy

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Dr. James Oschman has been a friend of the Rolfing community for a long time. He has theorized that fascia is the primary energy conductor of the body, and written a couple of books explaining how “energy medicine” is a real thing and not just an airy-fairy new-age wish.
This article is about receiving positive electrons, which are powerful antioxidants, from the surface of the Earth by walking barefoot outside, a practice called “Earthing”.
One of the primary goals of a Structural Integration series is to help people find support from the earth– or the ground– so that they can find the length that comes from having a nicely rooted foundation. Waking up the soles of the feet to sensation and discovering their inherent ability to adapt to the varied surfaces of the earth gives us an all-over feeling of greater security and lightness of movement.
Here, Mary Bond, a wonderful Rolf Movement teacher, has several exercises designed to wake up the feet and lower leg.

Movement Cues from Mary Bond

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Mary Bond is the Chair of the Rolf Institute’s Rolf Movement program. She has authored two books, Balancing Your Body and The New Rules of Posture, and numerous magazine articles on bodywork and movement. Her teaching emphasis is on the practical sensory and movement awareness that contributes to sustainable improvements in mind and body functioning.

Here is a preview for a DVD that should be available November 1, 2011 that shows how to do a regular household chore with less strain:

More on Fascia

Monday, October 10th, 2011

This is from Dr. Robert Schleip in Germany, a Rolfer who has been scientifically investigating fascia for many years:

S.I. Client Handbook, circa 1997

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This PDF is the Client Handbook I wrote while completing basic training at the Guild for Structural Integration. It’s very thorough in its explanation of the process, and very earnest in tone. The file had to be broken into two pieces because it was BIG:
Client Handbook Part 1
Client Handbook Part 2
Enjoy!

Of Grace and Gravity

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This is exciting (for a bodywork geek, anyway). Bruce Kubert is producing a film about Ida Rolf’s gift to us, interviewing all of the old-timers and pulling their collective wisdom into one clear message about what is possible for us as human beings willing to risk change. Here is a nice long clip that should answer some questions about how and why one might try the Rolf Method of Structural Integration:

Strolling Under the Skin

Monday, August 8th, 2011

This is a clip from a microscopic movie made by a French hand surgeon who was curious about the mobility and adaptability of the fascia of the wrist. This is live tissue, in all of its moist, adaptable glory!

Movement is Life

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Movement is life.
All bodywork is about movement.
Energy workers (reiki, acupuncture, Shiatsu) seek to move blockage or stagnation in your energetic lines or fields.
Swedish massage is about increasing blood and lymphatic circulation on a cellular, tissue, and then systemic level.
Structural Integration focuses on fascial freedom, restoring glide to the relationships between fascial layers.
Rolf MovementĀ® takes a step towards the role of perception in our physical relationships, and Somatic Experiencing rides the waves of nervous system charge and discharge as they roll through our bodies and our lives.
We all know the feeling of being “stuck in a rut” or trapped by routine. My experience is that sometimes bodywork can help move us through those periods of sluggishness into a more dynamic relationship with life. Structural Integration and Somatic Experiencing provide moments of clarity in our being. Sometimes a slight shift in perspective or a slightly new experience of self is all we need to get going in a new direction, or in the direction we were headed when we got bogged down.
I am, of course, happy to help when there is just a need for maintenance– a rut can also be a groove we are digging for the time being– and that is why I practice massage therapy.