Structural Integration Massage Therapy
One important principle of Structural Integration is that the body is significantly affected by the powerful force of gravity. In a misaligned state, the body’s valuable resources are used inefficiently, laboring to keep a person upright in the field of gravity. In addition, the stresses of daily life, physical injuries, unhealthy movement patterns and attitudes are things that can take a toll on one’s physical structure. Over time, the body will shorten and tighten to accommodate stresses, creating stiffness, pain, fatigue and lack of well being.
During the Structural Integration process changes in posture and structure are achieved by manipulating the body’s myofascial system. The focus of Structural Integration is on the fascia rather than on the muscles (as in massage). The fascia is a protective layer of connective tissue that surrounds each muscle and muscle fiber. Fascia gives muscles and bodies their shape and support .
Structural Integration practitioners use a range of techniques to lengthen and reposition the fascia and the body. The amount of pressure used and techniques applied varies. A practitioner may use slow, deep, stretching movements, or constant applied pressure. You may also be asked to move as pressure is applied or to stand and move during a session.
As tissue is being released, you may experience a variety of sensations ranging from warm and pleasant to uncomfortable. Your practitioner will apply appropriate pressure during the session based on your feedback so the pace of the session is under your control. Sometimes, as the tissue is released and balanced, clients experience the release of emotions, memories or traumas that have been stored in the fascial tissue. Such releases can create the opportunity for change and/or resolution surrounding the issues presented.
Movement education may also be a part of your Structural Integration series. Your practitioner can help you become aware of your habitual and inhibiting movement patterns and help you change these patterns to achieve more fluid movement. Movement education can affect your level of daily functioning by helping to change unhealthy patterns in common activities such as sitting, walking and breathing.