Structural Integration is an advanced form of therapy primarily focused on restoring balance to the body.
Perth Healthy Living - Structural Integration
What is Structural Integration?
SI is an advanced form of structural bodywork that aims to align and balance the body through the of manipulation fascia, the scaffolding system of the body. Poor posture and habits, physical injuries, surgeries, as well as emotional stress & trauma, all have an impact on fascia. These result in various compensation/strain patterns in our body that deplete our energy, increase our risk of injury and decrease psychological and overall well-being. Because these compensation patterns are held in our fascia, SI frees the body of these patterns that we have accumulated in life. A significant part of SI also involves perception and movement education, so that not only can you return to your structurally optimal position, but have the tools to maintain this health over your lifetime.
The body is looked at comprehensively, including the bones, muscles, fascia, nervous system and even habititual movement patterns. The interactions of these systems together are called SPATIAL MEDICINE. This makes SI extremely effective at treating a number of health issues - and very unique, in that no other therapies utilize such a thorough view of the body.
Benefits of Structural Integration:
Relief from chronic joint, bone, or muscular pain
Enhanced athletic performance
- Increased range of motion, flexibility & balance
- Improved co-ordination & integration of function
- Better breathing & increased energy
Correct postural problems
- Increased body awareness/pattern recognition
Relief from headaches
Relief from insomnia & other sleep disorders
Relief from anxiety, depression, & other mental health concerns
- Increase self-confidence
- Resolution of past traumas
Improve emotional & spiritual well-being
The difference between massage and SI?
Massage has many benefits, but as they are only temporary, pain or dysfunction returns within a short period of time. This is because pain is typically felt in areas that are stretched taught, as a symptom quite distant from the actual problem. As massage focuses on where you FEEL pain, making you feel better means working on muscles that are already over lengthened, or have no bearing on what is causing your pain. By getting these lengthened muscles lengthened even more, although it might feel good at the time, it actually makes the dysfunction worse.
SI has all the benefits of massage, and it also investigates what is actually happening in YOUR body, and resolving the deeper structural patterns so that you can truly heal for long-term relief. It is not intended to “fix” problems, but designed to help the body find better support and adaptability to PREVENT and RECOVER from injuries. As SI is an interactive process, clients are asked to actively participate in their healing process. Clients will become aware of habitual patterns of movement and imbalances in their body, and thus have an active role toward making changes in these patterns in their daily life.
What is Fascia and how does it affect us?
Fascia is the scaffolding of the body, supporting & connecting every cell in the body. It is a non-cellular substance made up of a variety of compounds, with its texture ranging from very fine and thin to dense and tough, depending on the support requirements of the body. Because of its interconnecting nature, it is capable of transmitting its supporting role to other areas of the body – like a sweater that can be pulled with the effect felt across the body. In a healthy body the fascia helps to maintain good posture, range of motion and flexibility. It also gives our bodies tremendous strength and helps us deal with stress and injuries.
Healthy fascia is typically soft and pliant, with the ability to stretch and move with the requirements of the body. The way we use (and abuse!) our bodies throughout our lives leads to less than ideal alignment of our physical structure, therefore requiring the fascia to provide additional support. These fascial modifications can occur in response to poor posture & habits, inefficient movement patterns, physical injuries, surgeries, as well as emotional stress & trauma. In order to provide additional support, the fascia can contract, shift, thicken & form adhesions. As time passes it transmits this need for support to other areas of the body, leading to fascial changes in these areas also. Therefore problems in the musculoskeletal system are typically first evident in the fascia. These fascial changes restrict muscle function, movement & coordination, & impinge on neurovascular pathways, leading to an array of immobility & pain patterns.
What happens in a Session
Typically the session will begin with an interview about your history and current habits. Most sessions are done in underwear or bathing suit, without draping. Your practitioner will usually want to observe you standing and walking before the session starts, to assess your current structural patterns. Your practitioner can also take photos in order to give you a visual sense of the before and after, as there can be some fairly dramatic changes in your shape. Post-session, your practitioner may give you exercises or stretches to do at home to enhance the process.
SI is done on a massage table, or for certain moves, on a stool or bench. The practitioner will use his fingers, hands or arm to contact certain tissues, and then ask you to move in specific ways while he or she opens and repositions those tissues. The process of opening these tissues can involve some burning, a little like a stretch or how you feel when exercising long unused muscles. The pain, if the sensation gets that far, should be short and bearable. Please converse with your practitioner to find the right depth for you that allows maximum value for each session consistent with your comfort. The idea is to achieve a balanced body that is pain free. You may have to feel some of the stored pain as it leaves your body, especially in traumatized areas.
Traumatized tissue can also contain emotional pain. Although we are not trained Psychologists’, your practitioner has been trained to sensitively work with you around these issues as they relate to your body structure. Feel free to work with your practitioner to find the right level and depth for you. SI is a very personal process. It is important to remember that as no two people are alike, their experience & benefits will never be exactly the same. While SI is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems & behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related.
Structuring of Sessions
Typically structural integration is scheduled as a series of progressive sessions. The objective is to align the body within a certain number of sessions – therefore this not an on-going treatment strategy. However, individual treatments can be customized to address any physical, energetic, or emotional concerns you're experiencing at that time. Therefore sessions can be done on an individual session basis or the ultimate 12-session series: a comprehensive overhaul of the entire body.
The 12 Series
The 12 Series is performed over 12, 60 to 90 minute sessions. The sessions are administered progressively with each session dealing with a different fascial plane or set of relationships in the body, progressively working around the body from the superficial to the deep and back again.
Your practitioner may not work where you are reporting the symptoms, as the patterns that feed that problem are body-wide. A whiplash, for instance, is a problem of the neck for some days, a problem of the whole spine within a few weeks and is linked to a whole body pattern within a few months.
It is not unusual to have odd feelings – physical or emotional – between sessions. Please contact your practitioner if they are cause for concern. Often, old long-forgotten pains will resurface for a time – this is a positive sign that the process of unwinding is well underway.
View your 12 series as a project, with a beginning, middle and an end; not an on-going therapy. Results will continue to accrue after you have finished your final session. After the series is complete, a client usually allows a period of time for the body to adapt & fully integrate before scheduling additional work. The waiting period can be anywhere from one month to one year based on the client's unique experience. In some instances practitioners will work with clients in on-going sessions to achieve specific goals.
Do not undertake SI without medical permission if indicated, or if suffering from a ‘hot’ (inflammatory) disease. Si is remarkably effective for chronic pain patterns of a structural nature, but it is not designed to be curative for any disease, or as a first aid remedy for recent injury. Check with your practitioner if you are unsure whether SI is contraindicated.
$150 per session (1.5 hr)
Health rebates available
Call Kathy on 0403 840 502, or 'Make an Enquiry' below