Structural Integration Series
The Structural Integration Series is a sequence of ten sessions, each emphasizing specific regions of the body. It is a process of re-organizing the body and re-patterning movement. Dr. Rolf, who created Structural Integration, later nicknamed Rolfing, was a scientist and an intuitive. The Ten Series is based on her insights into anatomical, physiological and kinesthetic relationships with respect to the way a body relates to itself, and to the field of gravity.
Body and Movement Process
The re-organization of a body, and re-patterning of movement is something best done as a process. The Ten Series process takes into consideration the complexity involved in dealing with the whole being. Patterns of strain and movement start early in the development of the body. We literally become “set in our ways” as we get older. This situation is compounded by injuries and other unnatural habits that we get into as we go through life.
Compensation and Adaptation
The body is naturally inclined to compensate for weaknesses and vulnerabilities within its structure. The body as a whole adapts so that strain is taken off the vulnerable areas. This is how a twisted ankle causes conflict in the knee, the hip, eventually creating back pain. The whole body adapts to the injury, and new movement patterns result. It would not be enough to treat the area of greatest restriction—the back or hip for instance. The whole strain pattern must be addressed in order for the person to have enough order in his or her whole system to accept new patterns of sitting, standing, and moving in general.
The Ten Series
The Ten Series is a good way to go about undoing deep set patterns of strain and movement, and re-establish more appropriate relationships within the body, and between the body and its environment. It is a process that is complete in itself, while also being a way into the potential of the body. Engaging in this process is an excellent way to gain awareness into what is possible physically, emotionally and spiritual when you are not leaking vital energy; at war with gravity.
Rolfing and ‘Fix It’ Work
Ultimately, Structural Integration is not the Ten Series. It is a set of principles that is used in the service of aligning the body with itself, and within the field of Gravity. In this respect, Structural Integration is very effective for what we call “fix it work”; when a body part is not functioning well, Rolfing can be an effective means of increasing function. Much of what we experience as pain, discomfort and imbalance has its roots in structural misalignment, like a sliding door that is slightly off its runner. So, while we address the whole strain pattern involved in this dysfunction, the principles and techniques we know are also good for bringing clarity to the area of principle complaint.
The Present and The Future
Because it is the whole system that is constantly adapting to its vulnerabilities and strains, Structural Integration is best done for the first time within the ten-session format. However, Rolfing can be utilized in any number of ways, and does not necessarily need to be conducted as a Ten Series. Still, Rolfing is always done with the complexity of relationships in mind. A Rolfer always works toward integrating the entire structure. This means that while (s)he is helping to undo certain inappropriate relationships within the body, (s)he is also helping the client to establish other, more appropriate ones, which will ultimately be more beneficial the client.