Structural Integration – Introduction

Structural Integration (SI) is a somatic practice that uses fascial manipulation, sensitization and motion education,  according to the International Association of Structural Integrators. It is a process-based, manual treatment approach to somatic education, which investigates the option of change to how you use your body and experience its use. Through structured sessions of sittings and individual meetings, the goal is to restore postural equilibrium and functional ease, through the alignment and integration of the body into gravity. SI can be used to release painful, stressful stress patterns through schooling, consciousness and therapeutic touch. Effortful habits are substituted by convenience, mobility and posture and a feeling of coherence of the entire body. A competent touch helps you to relieve pain and discomfort, and to become aware of how to hold your body and use it. When your practitioner helps you find out about the way you use your body, and the environment in which you do certain activities, you can come to recognize tension patterns that don’t help you. You can then go and find new ways of moving, holding, and carrying yourself.  SI professionals are dedicated to working to assist your body to adapt internally and externally, in order to address the problems or cause in your life, instead of just treating the symptoms.

Structural integration is a kind of bodywork that focuses on the body’s connective tissue, or fascia. Fascia surrounds muscles, muscle groups, blood vessels, organs and nerves, binding certain structures together while others are allowed to glide smoothly. Fascia is elastic and free in order to move with muscles and bones.  Injury, stress, repeated movements in the workplace, and the impacts of the aging can cause fascia to lose its elasticity. Strengthened fascia takes the right alignment and structure away from our muscles and skeleton, which may trigger pain, discomfort and exhaustion. In order to lengthen, stretch and soften the tissue, structural integration aims to restore posture equilibrium and the ease of motion, to make your own body feel better at home. It is performed in an structured sequence of sessions or individual meetings, in order to restore postural equilibrium through alignment and the body’s integration. 

The person credited to starting this practice is Dr. Ida P. Rolf.  She was surrounded by thought-creators from well-known psychologists, doctors, mystics and even hippies. Though portrayed as a profoundly religious individual, her work was always presented directly, teaching the technique and recognizing the mystery.  Rolf had a deep knowledge of how human bodies differ from their design. She said, “The body understands a pattern. When the body is produced to match the pattern, the body recognizes this. ” Rolf then created a technique to assist the body achieve ideal pattern and function. This practice continues on and is performed by individuals trained in Structural Integration in training courses, colleges and organizations in accordance with the standards set by the ISA. Practitioners with a BCSI credential, have graduated from a training program that has been approved by IASI and have passed an essential competence review.