By Jean Louise Green, certified Rolf practitioner and CMT
Four years ago, while snowboarding, Cara hyperextended her neck and back. Unable to work, her world spun in dizziness. After 10 sessions of structural integration that realigned her spine, she happily returned to work. Linda expected a hip replacement for a painful arthritic hip. After her “10 series” of structural integration (SI), the twist in her body was gone and she no longer felt the need for surgery.
Randy’s industrial accident left him with a shattered leg and anklebones that required surgery. His 10 series is now restoring freedom of movement years later.
Pam had hip and leg pain with abuse trauma embedded in her tissues. We removed several layers of rotation patterns in her body. After her structural integration work, she now walks pain free.
Why are people having such transformational changes with structural integration?
- Aligns major body segments for optimal relationship with gravity.
- Balances layers of connective tissue.
- Clears embedded physical, mental, and emotional stress/strain in the connective tissue.
- Allows for greater structural freedom and energetic revitalization.
- Educates the client in optimal movement with posture cues.
As a practitioner, I intend to:
- Quickly assess what is going on in your body using visual and palpation skills.
- Follow the original 10-session series developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf.
- Customize the work for the needs of your particular body.
- Commit myself to your success and well-being.
- Work slowly with love, compassion, and care.
As a client, you are requested to:
- Communicate your needs to me while we work.
- Know that you will be a work in progress during our series.
- Follow instructions and movement/posture cues I give you.
- Allow me to deliver necessary sequential work in a timely way.
- Show up with a willingness to change.
Comments on structural integration:
- “I’m a mechanical kind of guy. This kind of work should be mandatory between injury and surgery because of compensation patterns that happen after injury. There are all kinds of mechanics going on in the body. How can you heal correctly when you’re all knotted up? When it works properly, it’s not going to tear itself up.”
- A seventh-generation Vina cowboy realized our SI work removed a twist from his body that had caused the need for his hip replacements. Constant torque wears and tears on connective tissue. Preceding the breakdown of a joint is the degeneration of the connective tissue around it. If the torque is not released before surgery, it is still helpful to release it after surgery.
- “I’ve noticed you don’t work the same on each side of the body.”
“That’s right,” I said. “Most people have a torque or twist in their structure: Sometimes it can extend from their legs, through the pelvis, to the top of their spine. In that corkscrew twist, one side of their body will internally rotate, while the other externally rotates. The two sides must be addressed individually. Taking out the twist helps heal torn tendons and ligaments.”
Releasing the pain:
“Are you okay with this?” My client was lying facedown as I used my forearm to slowly address very tight hamstrings.
“Oh, yes. You’re doing just fine.” “You know,” she said, “running away from pain is pretty overrated in our society.”
“Yes,” I said. “If people can relax and let go of their pain as we work, they often find that it dissipates and releases.”
Paula commented on bodywork she had experienced. “It takes a lot for a person like me in a lot of pain to show up on someone’s table where they know they will probably experience even more pain. You know that old saying, ‘No pain, no gain?’ Well, I just can’t handle work like that. Tell me about SI and how you minimize pain while releasing old strain.”
“I meet the body where it is, and slowly help the tissues to ease and let go. There are three types of pain: the pain of injury, pain that gets stuck in the body, and the pain of releasing stuck pain. My intent is to release the stuck pain as compassionately as possible. Physical, mental, and emotional stress get embedded in the soft tissues. That’s why structural integration is also helpful for people with abuse issues.”
The “line” of structural integration is:
- The central axis in the body that runs through the center of the head, down along the front of the spine, and extends energetically into both Earth and heavens.
- A practitioner organizes the center of gravity of the major body segments around the center of this “line.”
- A structural reference and energetic channel in the body.
When the body segments are organized around the center of the “line” and strain is removed from the layers of connective tissue, the electromagnetic life force energy that derives from the gravitational force can flow through and be a beneficial force. That is the transformational aspect of structural integration, also known as Rolfing. A Rolf practitioner’s job is to educate the client to access and make use of his or her “Line.”
Structural integration is also great for children, adolescents, and young adults. It clears up injuries, removes what is no longer needed, and readies young people for the next stage in their lives. Structural integration supports people in becoming all that we can be.