The human body is filled with connective tissues called the “fascia.” The fascia plays an integral role in keeping the body’s structure because it essentially holds everything in place. These tissues, when healthy, allow the body to move with greater flexibility and fluidity. But when they become too tight or are overly restricted, moving with ease can become more difficult and considerably more painful.
Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that solely targets the body’s connective tissues. It involves various methods of manual manipulation, which when administered properly can loosen the tissues and realign them, so they can function the way they’re supposed to. Once the tissues are healthy again, the body’s balance, symmetry, and freedom of movement will be restored and pain will be reduced.
Who Can Benefit From Structural Integration?
While Structural Integration can provide benefits to just about anyone, it is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from certain pain-inducing dysfunctions in their body. For instance, people who work at a computer all day can suffer from back and neck pain caused by poor posture. For many, their pain is being caused by the connective tissues in the back that aren’t working as intended.
Structural Integration allows more blood and oxygen to flow into these tissues and thereby helps strengthen them to restore movement and reduce pain. Structural Integration is helpful for anyone who suffers from stress or tension headaches, neck and back pain, as well as several other chronic health issues caused by repetitive movements, prolonged athletic performance, work-related issues, and the natural effects of aging.
How to Tell if Your Fascia is Compromised
If the connective tissues in your body are weak or have become compromised, you can experience certain symptoms, such as discomfort, fatigue, and/or stiffness in the part of the body where the connective tissues are affected. In more serious cases, chronic pain can develop, and as a result depression and anxiety may also occur. If no other underlying medical condition can be identified as the source of the pain, such as a herniated disc or muscle tear, then the health of the connective tissue is most likely the culprit.
How is Structural Integration Different From Massage?
While Structural Integration is like deep tissue massage in that it uses techniques known as myofascial release, it differs in that it is a somatic practice that utilizes not only fascial manipulation, but also implements awareness techniques and movement education to improve one’s overall well-being.
Structural Integration releases the chronic tension and stress that builds up in our bodies through gentle pressure strategically applied to the connective tissues to loosen up those areas that are tight, knotted, and painful. Whereas a deep tissue massage is typically a singular treatment, Structural Integration involves a series of sessions because the results are cumulative. The greatest benefit is achieved only after all the sessions have been completed.
Is Structural Integration Painful?
Structural Integration usually isn’t painful, but some people with long-standing connective tissue dysfunction can experience some discomfort while their fascia is being manipulated. This is normal because the fascia’s health has been in a compromised state for so long. As you progress through your treatment sessions and your fascia starts to heal, this pain will naturally decrease. Of course, if the pain is too severe during treatment, then you should let your therapist know, so they can adjust their manipulation techniques.
What Is a Structural Integration Session Like?
During your session, your therapist will work on your entire body, focusing on releasing tension and restoring balance. Prior to starting, your therapist may have you do some deep breathing exercises to help you relax. You will then be instructed to move through a number of different poses, which allows the therapist to assess your body and identify the areas that need attention. Then the therapist will start applying the various techniques used in Structural Integration to help release tension, such as massage, stretching, and compression.
How Will I Feel After My Structural Integration Sessions?
The results of Structural Integration can vary per individual because each patient is unique. Many people report feeling substantial pain relief, increased energy, improved posture, and a general sense of well-being. After their sessions, many find it easier to breathe deeply and that their circulation has improved. It’s also not uncommon for many to report feeling more “in tune” with their bodies after successfully completing treatment.
If you are looking for an effective way to reduce your pain and improve your overall sense of well-being, Structural Integration may be just what you need.
To learn more about the Structural Integration treatments available at Birmingham Massage Couple or to schedule your next appointment, just give us a call today at 205-529-1516 or 205-381-1645, or book your Structural Integration session online.