According to the International Association of Structural Integrators: Structural Integration (SI) is a somatic practice utilizing fascial manipulation, awareness, and movement education. It is practiced in an organized series of sessions and individual sessions within a framework designed to restore postural balance and functional ease by aligning and integrating the body in gravity. Structural Integration is based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf. It is practiced by persons trained in Structural Integration at trainings, schools and institutions in accordance with the standards established by the International Association of Structural Integrators.
The Importance of SI
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.
A Typical Session
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.
Structural Integration is typically performed in a series of ten to thirteen sessions to systematically release the myofascial tissue. Each session builds upon the last, addressing layers of tissue throughout the process. The series is designed to balance your body in segments, with each session addressing a different aspect of your structure and movement. Though the Structural Integration series is designed to work in sequence, your practitioner will often recognize your unique needs and use their skills and experience to address those appropriately.
At the beginning of a series, your practitioner will often spend some time discussing your health and personal history. It is important that your practitioner know any information that has affected your physical structure, including major accidents, traumas, surgeries, conditions and diseases as well as any current medications. Typically, sessions are done with the client in underwear or a bathing suit. Your practitioner will observe you standing and moving to assess balance, alignment, mobility and movement patterns. In some cases, if appropriate, photographs may be taken for the benefit of you and your practitioner.
The process of Structural Integration is an individual and personal process with a wide range of effects and benefits. In general, a body that is aligned and balanced in gravity moves with more ease, fluidity, efficiency and grace. Movement is a pleasure, breathing is easier and good posture is more effortless.
In addition, more efficient use of your muscles allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more refined and economical patterns of movement. This can result in increased levels of energy and alertness. Feelings of stress can also decrease while your level of relaxation can increase.
Structural Integration aims to affect the whole person, emotionally, physically and energetically, by way of altering the physical structure. Our emotions and behavior patterns for instance, are often related to our physical being. As impediments to balance are removed and the body comes into greater alignment, aspects of the self may also become more aligned. An experience with Structural Integration may help release an individual’s potential, promoting positive change, lowering anxiety, improving sleep, increasing confidence, and maturing emotional expression. Finally, the Structural Integration series provides increased body awareness and presence allowing for a feeling of finally being—at home…in your body.
Who Benefits from SI?
All types of people have benefited from Structural Integration. Some come to ease chronic pain and stress; others are hoping to improve their athletic performance. Children and older people alike can benefit from improved structural alignment. Structural Integration is contraindicated for those with infections, fevers, acute inflammation and recent trauma. Some forms of rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis or osteomyelitis are also contraindicated.
The various schools of Structural Integration
The field of Structural Integration began with the genius of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, whose students have both maintained and evolved the essence of her work, as was her expressed desire in her later years. Through that evolutionary process, several SI schools came into being, including the school she founded—the Rolf Institute—and others created by her students and followers, such as the Guild for Structural Integration, Hellerwork Structural Integration, Aston Patterning, Soma, IPSB, and KMI (Kinesis Myofascial Integration), to name a few.
All of these schools differ to some degree in perspective and technique, but most are based on Dr. Rolf’s fundamental Ten Session methodology—‘the recipe’, as we like to say in our profession. These schools make excellent training available, and continue the lineage of Ida Rolf’s concepts of SI. Most of the SI schools are involved in an organization called the International Association of Structural Integrators, which is collectively influencing general awareness of the field and the profession itself.
Dr. Ida Rolf founded the field of Structural Integration. She was a scientist, and a graduate of Cornell University in the field of biochemistry. Her early influences, which provided the context for her work, were many. Much of Rolf’s work was influenced by Hatha Yoga, Physio-synthesis, the Alexander Method, and Osteopathy. Although Rolf’s work began in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s, her modern form of Structural integration, which came to be widely known as Rolfing, emerged in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Rolf was surrounded by a wide array of original thinkers, from noted psychologists, physicians, mystics and hippies. Although she was described as a deeply spiritual person, she always presented her work in a straightforward way, teaching the method while acknowledging the mystery. When Rolf questioned about energy, mysticism, and psychology, she would always come back to the fact that we are slow-moving three dimensional objects living in the field of gravity. Rolf had a profound understanding about the way human bodies deviate from their design. She said, “there is a pattern that the body knows. When the body and the pattern are made to coincide, the body understands this.” This perspective guided Rolf as she developed a method to help the body reach and optimal pattern of structure and function.
Joseph Heller, a Cal Tech graduate and former NASA aerospace engineer who was also deeply interested in the body/mind realm, left is aerospace career in the early 1970’s to train with Ida Rolf. In addition to combining movement integration within the Structural Integration sessions, Joseph was also influenced by Consciousness work, which he began to also use with SI. That aspect of what later became Hellerwork was influenced by Brough Joy MD and Carolyn Conger PhD- teachers of energy and consciousness work- and from Hal Stone MD and Sidra Stone’s Voice Dialog method, an offshoot of Gestalt therapy. Rolfing became popular in the throws of the human potential movement of the 1970’s. this was a time of encounter groups, tough love, the sexual revolution, bioenergetics, the Esalen Institute, Werner Erhard’s EST, and many other branches of the human potential tree. Joseph studied and worked on himself using many of these methods. Instead of being confined to one modality, his field of vision extended across many. His understanding of how all of the parts of life come together was progressive, and his commitment to helping people become who they really are continues to be the driving force of the work. Joseph Heller is now retired from formal teaching.
The three major components of the approach in Hellerwork are Structural bodywork, Movement, Education, and Self Awareness Dialogue.
Ida Rolf (Joseph Heller’s teacher) describes the body as a ‘plastic medium’—it is adaptable and changeable. Bodywork in the SI context is the direct manipulation of the myofascial system. The methodical release and structural balancing of the body is typically performed in an eleven session series. Each session focuses on a different project, resulting in the systematic realignment and the release of chronic tension patterns held in that functional sector of the body. When tissues are balanced around joints, and tensions are released from within, and an individual can feel the flow and grace of life. To achieve this rebalancing, a practitioner will skillfully use fingers, knuckles, and elbows to work on your connective tissue at very specific depths, pressures, angles and speeds.
Integrating Movement Work with Bodywork
The Movement Integration work is educational in nature, and takes place both on and off the table. The way we move has a pro- found effect on our bodies. Awareness in movement helped clients of SI take the work off of the table and into their lives. Heller’s recognition that movement work is essential to the longevity of SI results fostered the union of these two powerful modalities.
By following the basic alignment and movement methods in the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM, you can increase ease and fluidity, learn to release pain and tension on the go—and ‘clean as you go’, as they say in the kitchen. Rolf believed that SI creates a ‘self-organizing system’—as SI processes are learned, the body becomes self-adjusting and self-organizing. In other words, the work of Structural Integration is designed to move the body towards self-organization. As events and circumstances take us out of alignment, the body’s restorative mechanisms bring us back into alignment.
Self-awareness dialogue involves release and integration of old emotions, beliefs, body image issues and energy patterns. This work also involves an inquiry into your general self-awareness. The SI process is aimed toward personal evolution—being an evolving being in an evolving body. Joseph Heller found that without this type of personal work, results of the series are not as long lasting, and that with the inclusion of self-awareness dialog, SI can become personally revolutionary. Using a computer analogy, we could say that SI work changes the hardware—the body—while the movement and personal process work change the software—the mind—from which our bodies receive instructions. Hellerwork works with the client to help discover and release barriers to change and evolution.
I often think of driving a car as a useful metaphor for this work. When you get into a car accident, the resulting damage is usually very clear. You get a dent, a scratch, or even frame damage. You take the car to the body shop. The technician removes the dents and makes the car like new again. Perhaps you need to learn to be more careful— more conscious—about your driving. Those improvements will require concentration and a willingness to be present and aware. Sometimes you must learn about yourself at a deeper level to reduce distraction and become a better driver. Driving your car and being in your body are similar in these aspects, but your body is the vehicle in which you move through every moment of your life—and you only have one body—so how you treat it and how you maintain it deserve your attention.
For more information about Hellerwork, go to www.hellerwork.com
And read all about it in Align for Life, Journey to Structural Integration. Align for Life will teach you how to rearrange your body to create new patterns that are more fluid and less expensive energetically. Since the body is always adapting and customizing around the way we use it, new awareness and improved use will create less stress throughout the body.
SI can completely change and transform you and your body in a relatively short amount of time. Aligning yourself with Gravity (the most powerful force in the universe) will give you the gift of renewal and regeneration. To begin changing your fascia and aligning yourself with gravity, it’s time to begin the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
Fascia is the key element of those that hold the body together.
Fascia is the connective tissue that plays the most central role in holding the entire body together. A major component of soft tissues, fascia runs throughout the body in planes that tie together the entire network of body parts. It wraps around muscle fiber, bundles of muscle fibers, organs, and bones, etc. The body’s fascial system functions as a multi-layered matrix, whose sheaths wrap around tissues as they weave in and out of layers through the body. In that sense and manner, everything in the body is connected to everything else. There is no part of the body that is on its own—all parts are wrapped together by fascia and have the potential to affect other parts.
Fascia has fluidity and is stress-responsive.
Although fascia has a pronounced fluidity, it is also phenomenally stress-responsive. If a particular part of the body is under severe stress, the fascia supporting that area will harden to accommodate the demand. Over time that fascia toughens and binds body parts closer and closer together so that the structures become tighter and tighter. Since fascia runs in planes, if one part of a fascial plane becomes bound up, it pulls on and shortens the rest of the plane much as a snagged place on a piece of stretched cloth distorts the adjoining area of the fabric.
Fascia— your body’s fabric — and the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM
What you will be primarily dealing with in the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM is fascia, your body’s fabric. The body’s fabric is integrally connected— with imbalances, snags, asymmetries, rotations, twists, and tensions throughout. Each of our bodies has a unique set of adaptations. When ‘normalized’— Rolf used this term to represent the normal ideal function, not to be confused with the poor function that most people have—we can have more energy, ease of movement, and range of motion. Those gains can enable us to feel and look good every day.
‘Fascia is the connecting line between the psyche and the soma’ — Ida Rolf
From a Structural Integration (SI) perspective, body symptoms, including localized dysfunctions, are considered to reflect a lack of integration of the body parts (we call them ‘whole parts’). These whole parts are all connected by fascia, the connective tissue that holds the entire body together. Fascia is considered to be the organ of structure. The way stress, tension and rigidity affect the body, is that the body shortens and compresses, creating shortness in the joints and surrounding tissues. This is actually a loss of space inside the body.
Poor spacing between structures either to little space or too much space between can cause irritation and other symptoms. For example, in the case of a joint, there are two or more bones coming together (articulating). The ends of bones are lined with cartilage and lubricating fluids. In the case of a synovial joint, like the shoulder or hip joints; as myofascial (tissues which include fascia and muscle) “pulls” in the tissue result in structures being too crowded, joints compress and movement becomes restricted…Misalignment results.
A classic scenario reflecting a space shortage might be a hip joint, a ball and socket joint that is considered to be a synovial joint, and has major load bearing responsibilities. When joint tightness becomes too extreme, the protective cartilaginous buffer deteriorates, resulting in bone on bone contact and erosion. This painful erosion process, complete with arthritic joint changes is an example of a symptom, which reflects a lack of space in the joint. Structural compression of the hip due to structural imbalances throughout the body is usually the real cause of the problem.
Walking on hard flat surfaces, in shoes that neutralize the foot’s natural shock absorption combined with ankle and knee tightness and imbalance, offers the hip no shock absorption. Hips rely on the knees, ankles and feet below and the entire myofascial tissue matrix to shock absorb and minimize compression.
When these tissues and joints are unable to properly move and absorb shock, the hip compresses very quickly and often quite painfully. SI looks at the relationships between structure and function throughout the entire body, as a means of determining and creating symptoms that show up in a local area of the body…..Symptoms can be deceiving! Get yourself to a Structural integration practitioner, and align and balance your body right now! Start your healing right now by learning how to create space and alignment and release pain with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM
Back pain is a term and a condition that most people are personally familiar with, it can take its toll on us, and truly reduce the pleasure of living. Participation in life, the ability to move, flexibility, and strength can be directly hindered due to chronic or acute back pain. Vitality, patience, compassion, and even the ability to love, can be affected by prolonged back pain.
But what causes it? So many factors contribute to back pain, including: Poor posture, tension, alignment, compression, emotional stress and anxiety etc. Holding back in life is one of the greatest causes of back pain, that’s where holding back comes from…Holding in the back! This creates tension and pain when it’s done all of the time. Holding back isn’t all bad, it’s just that we haven’t learned to identify that the back is tightening, once we do this, and release the back tightness, then we can intelligently choose whether to hold back or not.
Would you like to release the patterns that create back pain? Through simple and easy to use exercises and awarenesses, you can begin your new life with your new back. Isn’t it time you stopped holding back in your life? Time to begin the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
Neck pain plagues millions of Americans each year. Sometimes tension and discomfort are accompanied by limited range of motion and difficulty even holding ones head up. Like back pain (the neck is part of the spine), neck pain is often the sum total of the tension and rigidity throughout the rest of the body. Therefore, localized treatment are often temporarily relieving. Curve dynamics throughout the whole spine affect the neck, and the normal-gentle curve of the neck sometimes distorts by over-straightening (military neck) or curving too extremely. This curvature might even be distorted in a reverse curve of the neck. For example, if the head is too far forward in front of the body, the neck must automatically tighten to support eh 12-16 pounds of the heads weight-without anything under the head to support it, and the neck must tighten to hold itself up…this is just simple physics.
Many people have spasms in the neck (even low grade spasm conditions). The normal, gentle curve of the neck is a shock absorber for the head. Without this gentle curve the head, jaw, and neck membranes must absorb all of the shock, resulting in further rigidity, spasm and often loss of range of motion. Sometimes necks are hyper Mobil, which means that they are too mobile and therefore tighten to stabilize themselves.
SI can restore the neck’s gentle curve to an appropriate degree, thus restoring shock absorption.
Anatomical relationships show that all neck muscles connect to other muscles and fascial planes originating as low in the body as the feet. This means that tension and shortness below result in tension and shortness above. SI works to rebalance the entire myofascial and skeletal systems to free the neck. Learn to create relaxed and balanced ease in your neck and throughout your whole body. Learning to let your neck and head move while you move is the key! You can learn this now with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM
TMJ is quite a popular syndrome. With the help of a dentist, you can purchase a night guard that will protect your teeth from grinding down to nothing, but this isn’t enough! The jaw can manifest a problem like clenching, or popping or locking, but where does this problem come from?
The Tempomandibular Joint is a complex juncture which is very responsive to the alignment of the entire spine and pelvis, and tightens in response to stress, both conscious and unconscious (which accounts for the night grinding). Improving the alignment throughout the body often helps reduce the symptoms of TMJ. You can learn exercises to align the body and reduce patterns, both mental, emotional and physical that can cause Tempomandibular joint syndrome. It all begins with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM
Arthritis plagues millions of Americans. Technically, the name means simply; inflammation of the joints. There are several forms of arthritis. The most common one is Osteo-Arthritis. This form shows up in localized joints where compression, tension and rigidity are present. Bones coming together to form a joint rely on proper spacing in order to function properly. If this space decreases enough, the protective cartilage at the end of the bones can deteriorate, causing irritation, arthritic spurs, and even dangerous bone on bone conditions, sometimes leading to joint replacement.
Also, because our bodies are not symmetrical, a joint can easily be positioned slightly forward, in back of, too high for, or too low for it’s optimal operational position. In anatomy, we say that form follows function and that function follows form. In this case, this means that for a joint to function the way it is designed to function, it has to be formed or positioned correctly. Once joints leave this ideal position for normal function, decline in function and deterioration usually follows.
For example, the driver who places their right arm near the 12 o’clock position on the steering wheel, with the left arm on the lower part of the wheel or on the window ledge, will, over time, create a forward right shoulder joint. This is ok for driving, but once this is established, that driver will lose range of motion in the shoulder. Then, in order for that individual to use the shoulder in full range, they must over tighten and use compensatory muscles to compensate for poor joint position. This will, over time, create joint irritation and possibly arthritis. The head of the humerus, in the shoulder socket (glenoid fossa) will move forward and rotate, making full range of the shoulder joint impossible.
Arthritis, bursitis and all of the other irritations eventually follow. SI can reposition the joint back to the ideal position and keep the joint from solidifying and deteriorating. Retraining the driver to drive with better body mechanics will also be the key here, this is all found in the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
Chronic pain can have many causes. When causes are structural in nature they usually reflect irritation and spasm resulting from lack of structural integration. Fascia rigidifies, compression creates irritation. Uneven fascial pulls cause one side to work harder or to hold more tightly. Spasm and uneven movement and gait eventually create the chronic condition and sustain it. This pattern, once formed, creates wide spread body compensations. We move around our imbalances, making it very difficult to correct or heal them. Suffering from chronic pain makes life extremely difficult.
SI addresses these patterns and corrects them by re-ordering and restructuring the body, allowing the true imbalances to heal. Many of these chronic pain areas are like war zones. Because of spasm conditions, even low grade, the bodies healing resources struggle to get through the tight and irritated terrain, making it difficult to heal. Once chronic conditions take hold, the body reduces its healing response and becomes used to the energy draining conditions. The brain will continue to send pain messages even thought the body has reduced its healing response.
As the SI practitioner opens up the areas and corrects imbalances, space for healing occurs. To re-balance your body and reduce your chronic pain, begin BODY MASTERY SYSTEM now.
Carpal tunnel syndrome has plagued millions of people through out the world. Sometimes caused by repetitive strain from a task at work, and sometimes the result of systemic imbalances through out the body, which result in carpal tunnel syndrome. In Between the Ulna and Radius, the two bones of the lower arm, runs the median nerve. Often times repetitive strain will cause those bones to compress towards each other, causing compression of that median nerve that runs between them.
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel is often unsuccessful, and sometimes makes things worse. With easy to follow guidelines to postural and flow enhancing exercises you can open up circuits that can heal Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You can begin your healing right now with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
Plantar fasciitis is defined as irritation of the plantar fascia. This is the sheet of fascia located on the bottom of the foot. This tissue creates padding and protection for the great force which comes through the feet while standing and walking. It also supports the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the area, and can become unevenly tight and shortened due to uneven gait….This can really be painful! Again, a local symptom that is usually the result of structural imbalance throughout the whole body.
As we roll our weight through our feet, the plantar fascia must lengthen and spread to absorb shock and protect the bones, tendons, muscles and nerves of the foot. When this fascia is too short and tight, as the weight of your body passes through the foot, the fascia will become irritated. The fascia will often “pull” on the heel, which is its posterior attachment areas. Some times this can create calcified spurs, which are small outcroppings from the bone. These spurs can be sharp and will often hurt as your weight passes through them. Because Plantar Fascitis is usually the result of structural and gait imbalances, plantar fasciitis can be corrected. Balancing the whole structure with SI and movement education, will educate an individual to stand, walk and balance in a way that plantar fasciitis will rarely be a problem. Get started right now with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
When the body is repeating an action, over and over, neuro-motor patterns are formed and muscles and all of the support tissues can become over-used and irritated. Although symptoms may show up in one are, i.e. wrist, elbow, neck, low back, the overall problem is that the burden of the activity is not equally distributed over the whole system. Instead it is pressurized into one area of the body, which is not equipped to handle the overuse.
There can often be a component to this which is related to lack of muscular strength, however there is most often a failure or lack of movement awareness on the part of the operator, to move in the activity in a balanced and fluid way. Begin your movement awareness work and retrain your body- now with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
Ergonomics is the science of creating an environment that maximizes the worker’s ability to perform his or her tasks comfortably and safely. A better understanding of these issues can help maintain your health and safety in the workplace and your complete daily life.
Safety in the workplace is both the responsibility of the employer—to provide the safest environment, safety procedures and systems available—as well as the employee—to use good judgment and act with safety-mindedness.
Ultimately, you need to be responsible for yourself, i.e., know your limitations and capabilities. After all you only have one body your entire life. Use it wisely.
Whether your lifting activities are occasional or frequent, or your loads are light or heavy, your preparedness needs to be the same.
Did you know that picking up a simple pen or piece of paper can put hundreds of pounds of pressure on your back, or little pressure at all—depending on how you do it? The times that your back goes out are just as likely to happen when you are washing your face in the morning or getting out of the car.
So please—take lifting very seriously and do not take any lifting situation for granted.
Even sitting at your desk can be hazardous to your health, depending on how you are positioning your body, your desk, chair, and computer heights. Many people now have state of the art workstations and ergonomic chairs, but don’t know how to use them.
In my corporate work, I would walk into a manufacturing or office environment and analyze the workers doing their tasks. I would watch the assembly line personnel screwing the caps onto bottles, over and over, all day long. I witnessed workers working with tight and locked shoulders, over tightening arms and doing so at incorrect angles and work-station heights, with no movement present in their necks or backs. They would stand with their weight unevenly distributed on their legs and feet…..Day after day….= Repetitive strain injury (RSI) waiting to happen.
My job was to teach them how to do their task with relaxed shoulders, and with movement in their necks/spines, and with balanced weight on both feet. The results were amazing! Reductions in stress claims and injuries! Great reductions! And, a more relaxed work environment without a reduction in production!
Imagine learning how to be in your body in a balanced and effortless way, all day. You can have this with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
POSTURE AND BODY IMAGE
Joseph Heller has said, “The way we are in our body is the way we are in the world.” Therefore, if we move around in a tight body, we then most likely relate to the world in a constricted way. If we learn to move in a comfortable manner, chances are that our experience of the world is one of feeling relaxed and “at home.”
So if body movement patterns can create emotional attitude, then emotions can create movement patterns in the body.
Imagine for a moment that you are the most successful person in your field. Let your body posture shift to match that feeling of success. Have you got the idea?
What Impression Are You Making?
We are all constantly sizing each other up. We watch someone and, however analytical or judgmental, decide that person’s level of success. Clearly, people are evaluating (whether accurately or not) your body language everyday. What you observe about people is also what they observe about you. For example…
- slumped shoulders = you are burdened, resigned, overwhelmed
- shoulders high = you are fearful, protected
- pigeon-toed = you are awkward or socially inept
- chest thrust out = for a woman, your only value is sexual; for a man, you are self-important
- sitting with crossed arms = you are unavailable
- head tipped down = you are timid, need approval
- sitting slumped over = you are lazy, fatigued
Both to yourself and others, your success is reflected in your posture and in whether your body moves with balance, ease, and freedom.
Let us begin your journey to Structural Integration by learning how your posture both reflects and creates your body image.
Re-create your whole body and your body image right now, with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM.
SIX PACK ABDOMINALS
Not for the average Joe and Jane.
Holding in one’s guts is common practice for humans for several reasons. For one thing, today’s media-induced appearance standards revere people having a flat stomach. And, on a primitive level, whereas most other animals conceal their soft underbellies, we humans are upright, and our precious “innards” are vulnerable to attack. As a result, many of us also hold in our guts to protect ourselves from fearful things in our environment.
For whatever reason that we do it, holding in our stomach all day takes a great deal of effort and creates all sorts of tension. This can lead to all kinds of blockages and digestive and circulatory problems. It also blocks our emotions and intuitive feelings. Although it is very important to have muscle tone in the abdomen, this should be done with special exercises, not by holding in.
There are two major contributors to having too much belly—other than from overeating or pregnancy. One is the slumped or depressed ribcage, which creates a nice belly pouch. The second is the pelvic bowl tipping forward which creates a nice potbelly. The solution is to balance your pelvis. Structural imbalances and muscle imbalances can be corrected with awareness and correcting the pelvic position can be done without chronic holding. Stop wasting all of your energy holding in your stomach and learn how to re-balance the entire are, with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM
Over the ages, bodywork has been found in many different varieties. Nearly every culture has had within it, one form of bodywork or another. In modern times, we have access to every type of bodywork imaginable, from every culture the world over.
There is bodywork for every body, and for every condition…. The challenge is to find the right one for the right person, at the right time.
Some bodywork forms are very light touch, some very heavy handed. Some bodywork happens with hands off the body, some is in the form of movement awareness. Each form has its function:
Some of the most popular modalities with are move energetically based are:
Thai massage, Jin shin Jyutsu, shiatsu, chini sang, tui na, reflexology, acupressure, polarity therapy, cranio-sacral therapy etc. These modalities like the others can be curative for many health related issues, and quite beneficial for immune building, energy cultivation, and anti-aging.
There are more western forms that are more manipulative like:
Chiropractic, Trager, Swedish massage, deep tissue, osteopathy etc (many of these are energetically based as well).
There are forms that create body awareness, balance, and integration, such as:
Feldenkrais, Alexander, Yoga, Pilates, etc. All of them wonderful and empowering ways to bring great improvements to the body/mind.
Then there is Structural Integration. Forms such as Hellerwork, Rolf-method, Rolfing, Soma, KMI, Aston Patterning etc. are mostly based on Ida Rolf’s method of Structural Integration. These methods serve to re-align the body with gravity, to improve posture, reduce chronic pain and tension, create more flexibility and allow for newfound grace and ease of movement.
To determine which form of bodywork is for you, you must research the different types, or intuit your preferences. What kind of results are you looking for? Make sure that the one you pick is able to give you the results you are looking for, and just know that there is a lot of overlap between the modalities.
Many people just hear about a modality or a practitioner of one of these arts through a friend, loved one, or from reading.
I have found that no one modality or any one practitioner can deliver all of the goods, but rather a wisely orchestrated triage of modalities can create the best results. I used to own and operate one of the largest multi-disciplinary alternative medicine clinics in the United States. I found that there is a “right work” for each person, but the key is to find which one it will be, at the right time!
Body Mastery System is oriented towards the SI model of wellness, through awareness, balance and alignment. Naturally, I recommend that you begin with the BODY MASTERY SYSTEM