What is Structural Integration?
Structural Integration, more commonly known as Rolfing®, is a process of organizing and lengthening the connective tissue (fascia) of the body so that it relates with ease in gravity. This allows more space for the muscles to move and the joints the freedom to function.
The newly acquired space and freedom in the tissue allows the body structures to function more efficiently with less stress. Many times by organizing the tissue in a more efficient manner many aches and pains that were in the body begin to subside resulting in pain relief.
How does Gravity Affect our Body?
Gravity can either be a positive or negative influence. If a body’s segments (neck, back, hips, knees, feet, etc.) are organized toward a more vertical line the body is able to work with gravity. This results in a “lift” or support to the body and minimal stress to the joints and other structures of the body. If the body segments are not aligned, gravity will pull on the unstable segments putting extra stress and strain to the joints, muscles, tendons etc. This constant pull of gravity can eventually cause a system to breakdown, possibly resulting in injury or chronic pain.
What is Connective Tissue?
The connective tissue (fascia) can be thought of as a matrix of communication and support for our body. Fascia interweaves throughout all of the body systems – the circulatory, nervous, musculo-skeletal, and organs. When the connective tissue is healthy, it is flexible, elastic, lengthens and is resilient to stress. The fascia can be affected negatively by poor body mechanics, repetitive strain/stress to tissue, trauma and injures.
If there is a significant amount of stress placed to the connective tissue it begins to thicken and does not lengthen as easily with movement. This can result in dehydration to the tissue, decreasing mobility of the joints and function of the muscle tissue. The body may respond by presenting with aches and pain, joint and muscle stiffness, restrictions in flexibility and movement and decreased daily function.