Imagine a tent. The supporting guy wires are equal in length and tension, the center pole is upright without effort, the tent is balanced and firm. When tension is unevenly distributed, the tent leans and the center pole twists, yielding to gravity thus losing strength and balance. Our bodies are similar and more complex, because we are in a constant state of movement and there is a multifibrous network of connective tissue flowing everywhere in the system.
As a result of stress, injury, habitual posture, and trauma, the fascia chronically shortens, constricting muscles, organs, nerves and blood vessels. This causes disorganized patterns in the body. When the fascia is released and the body is aligned with gravity, magic happens in terms of healing and feeling whole. We feel better and move better.
Structural Integration involves a series of sessions whereby the therapist uses their hands to manipulate the soft connective tissues called fascia. Fascia is a multi-fibrous cellular network that surrounds and interconnects with muscles, tendons, ligament, bones, organs, the nervous and vascular system. and comprises ligaments and tendons. Releasing fascia allows all the physiological systems in the body to function at a much higher level. There is an experience of heightened vitality and well being.
Video of fascia:
The initial process of Structural Integration is referred to as the ten series. Or the Recipe, as Dr. Rolf called it.
"This is the gospel of Rolfing: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself." -Ida Rolf, Rolfing and Physical Reality.
The Ten Series
First, Second and Third Hours
Here the more superficial layers of the upper, lower and midline of the body are addressed. Although the intention is superficial, the work penetrates deep into the body and creates space, preparing for deeper layers to expand into. People notice dramatic changes even with the first session.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Hours
In these sessions, deeper layers are addressed to re-organize the body so that the head, neck, rib cage, pelvis, legs, and feet relate and balance with each other. The practitioner is much like an engineer in knowing how to work with the architecture of the body.
Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Hours
These are the "integration hours". We continue to open up and make space, integrating and bringing things together in a way that allows tissues to contract and expand with cooperation and efficiency.
Follow up sessions within the next few months to a year are optional and always beneficial for continuing to get more changes and maintaining good health.
How often and how many sessions one requires after the ten series depends on each individual's needs.