FAQs . . .
What can I expect?
The first session begins with a discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your structure and movement patterns. Your medical history is discussed to highlight areas of particular emphasis and to clear for contraindications. Instant photos are taken to follow before and after progress. The first visit takes 90 minutes; subsequent sessions, an hour to 75 minutes. You can expect to be active during the sessions with coached movements, directed breathing, and focusing on internal awareness. Between sessions you may feel ongoing shifts in balance and awareness. It is not uncommon for clients to experience changes in their emotional life, generally leading to an improved sense of well-being.
Why ten sessions?
The soft connective tissue system forms a whole continuous network from head to toe. Imbalances in one area of the body form complex patterns of compensation throughout the body. In order to achieve lasting results the series is needed to thoroughly address the whole structure in a systematic way.
How often should I come?
Sessions can be scheduled a week apart or spread out over 5 to 6 months. There is no set rule. Each session builds on the work of the previous. Between visits previous session changes are being integrated. Scheduling sessions one to two weeks apart is optimal to maintain continuity and momentum in the process.
What should I wear?
It is important for me to see your physical structure and to observe the changes that occur during the session. Typical attire is briefs for men; for women, modest underwear, two piece swim set, or athletic wear. You comfort is primary and you are encouraged to wear what you feel is appropriate for you.
Ten sessions - isn’t that expensive?
It’s a question of your priorities and the value you see in doing this. Structural Integration is an investment in one’s long term health and well being. Think of it as a whole body make-over. The take away is tangible and lasts a lifetime. My fee for adults is $225 per session, payable at the time. Rates are lower for children, pre-teens, and students. Community service grants are available to those in need.
Does the series need to be repeated?
The Basic Structural Integration 10 series does not need to be repeated. Many clients report continued improvements in posture and movement long after their series is completed. It is recommended that no further work be schedules for 6 months to a year after the initial series. You can come back periodically for a “tune up” session(s) depending on need. There is also a 5 session Advanced Series for those motivated to further refine their development.
Does insurance cover Structural Integration?
First check with your insurance company to see if they will cover Structural Integration, Dr. Ida P. Rolf Method. In New Jersey practitioners are required to be licensed under the Massage and Bodywork Therapist Law. A doctor's referral may also be acceptable to your insurer. I will have you pay for the session at the time of service and then provide a statement so you can make the claim.
Does it hurt?
Structural Integration does not have to feel painful. In fact, it should feel good. The sensation is one of being sculpted, tissue moving, pain and stiffness releasing. My touch varies from the very subtle to sometimes firm and dynamic. There can be a range of intensity from a level you can easily accept, sometimes so subtle that you hardly notice it, or to the point where you automatically resist. The practitioner and the client are in a dialogue, a cooperative relationship. From the very beginning of the series I make sure my clients understand their feedback is included and necessary. If at any time the sense of touch is unacceptable, you simply communicate whatever your needs so I can adjust appropriately, or stop.
What is “integration”?
In one sense the body is integrated when the parts fit as they should by anatomical design. Like all other physical structures the human body operates under the influence of Gravity. The constant
pull of Gravity is the single most prominent physical force the body has to deal with. Therefore, integration in the fullest sense is achieved when the individual human energy field aligns with Gravity, the energy field of the earth.
What is “correct” or “normal” body structure?
Structure refers to relationships, where things are designed to go. The major body segments—the head, neck, shoulders, torso, pelvis, legs, and feet—are designed to stack up directly over one another vertically. When there is balance, the left and right sides are symmetrical. By definition from basic Anatomy and Physics there is correct structure when the body stacks up vertically, with left/right symmetry and front to back horizontality.
How do people get out of balance?
It is commonly understood that we automatically get bigger and stronger as we grow up. However, the arrangement of the body—the way the parts of the body fit together, the structure—doesn’t come about spontaneously. That is learned. In this regard we are mostly self-taught! Add to that accidents and traumas, illness, bad habits, inadequate learning and it becomes understandable how we are shaped by our experiences.
The average person lives with the body weight shifted away from the central vertical axis. Since the body is broader at the top than below when imbalances exist Gravity tends to pull it down.
Dr. Rolf said this: “Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with Gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as a constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over 40 may call it old age. And yet these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored. They are at war with Gravity."
While most people seek therapies for correction of problems, it is arguable whether the great majority of the population have even lived up to their innate design potential for true earthly balance. In this sense Rolf Strutural Integration is not really corrective, but evolutionary.
What does it compare it to?
Every approach to human health and wellness is built on a particular model and method of approach. There are benefits to each and situations where one or the other is the appropriate choice. Structural Integration has a whole body structural perspective. The main goal is to balance the entire body, head to toe, along the lines of Gravity. As such it is peerless and definitive. By balancing the soft tissue tensions throughout the entire musculoskeletal system the relationships of the various arts normalize, with the major body segments stacked up vertically and the sides symmetrical.
Physical Therapy…Physical Therapy is modeled on the idea of joint flexibility and strengthening musculature in and around an affected area(s). Structural Integration has to do with creating balance in the opposing tensions in the myo-fascial (muscular-soft connective tissue) system throughout the entire body.
Hatha Yoga…Structural Integration has much in common with Hatha Yoga. I highly recommend it to my clients. It is said that Dr. Rolf considered yoga to be the best exercise system ever devised (with the proviso that the student worked with a good teacher). However, Dr. Rolf believed that something other than Hatha Yoga — like hands-on manipulation — was needed to fully free the structure and achieve ultimate length and separation in the joints. For the beginning and intermediate Hatha Yoga student Structural Integration can speed up and facilitate progress. For the advanced practitioner there are real opportunities for discovering new aspects of your being and accessing areas you may have been avoiding or unconsciously working around. Those who know have claimed that "20 years of Hatha Yoga is equal to the 10 session series of Structural Integration."
Psychotherapy…Many schools of psychotherapy recognize the body (somatic) factor. The shape and health of the body affect one’s psychological makeup and experience of living. Structural Integration releases chronic pain and stress. One’s confidence, self image, and expressiveness are enhanced out of the simple event of standing easy and effortlessly upright. Clients’ before and after photos very often clearly show positive changes relative to maturity, stature, self confidence, and attention/presence.
Chiropractic…Chiropractic therapy at its core practice focuses on boney relationships, particularly the alignment of the bones of the spine and individual joints. That method typically uses high velocity thrusting methods.
With Structural Integration balance in the soft connective tissue system is the primary consideration. Unless the strain and tension in the soft tissue are balanced, however, the bones will continue to be pulled out of alignment. Structural Integration employs slower sustained pressures and works on the entire soft tissue matrix. After Structural Integration, when there is a need Chiropractic adjustments, the changes tend to come about more easily with deeper and longer lasting results. Balancing the tensions in the soft tissue network of the body allows the bones to stay in their proper relationship.
Who is it for?
People of all ages and varying levels of physical ability and background will get wonderful lasting benefits. The singular benefit of Structural Integration is a balanced body. You experience it for yourself and the advantages are self evident. It feels at once right and familiar. It lasts. And it is not static. It evolves and refines over time. As your body begins to show signs of a higher order of structural balance, there is a profound sense of ease, lots of energy, and a joyful realization of new possibility. The impulse to realize your personal best is invigorated. This is something you own. It becomes a condition from which you live your whole life. You say, “I feel great! I feel wonderful!”
The Average Individual…Posture improves markedly. Movements are graceful and flexible. Tensions leave and chronic aches and pains dissolve. The so-called effects of aging soften and your look and feel vital again. There is the simple feeling of things working right. Self image is enhanced with a feeling of new possibility. Habits and addictions lose their grip. The mind is clear and emotions are more accessible.
Children…While Structural Integration is a powerful therapeutic tool, its main objective is educational. Children should be given an adequate experientially based training in the basic workings and correct use of their bodies. Looked at to correct obvious problems or as a preventative measure Structural Integration it is wholly worthwhile. Yet, it is far more that that. It is a lesson on how to stay young, to become all that you have in you to be. It offers a tangible understanding for living a balanced life.
If you have children in you care, you surely spend a good deal of time, energy, and money to provide the best education and give them every opportunity. Not even in what are considered to be the finest schools or in all the other special classes children receive, is there much enightened teaching of the basic physical skills—standing, sitting, waking, how to use the body is a way that continues to foster balance, ease, efficiency and effectiveness.“Head up, chin down, shoulders back, chest up, stomach it” is still usual. This idea is not consistent with the dictates of proper structure. What’s more, it is a pattern that is “put on” and totally fails at having good structure and posture developed as an innate experience coming from deep down inside oneself. Having an early on sense of vertical alignment and true balance is a reference with which children can grow up unimpeded. It is a pivotal advantage enabling them to excel in life in general and in whatever fields thy may choose to enter and explore.
A mother reports . . . David worked with my son who is a high school athlete. My son was growing quickly and had developed some poor posture habits. David helped my son by releasing the tension in his muscles as well has helping my son recognize how he held his body. My son is now a signed Division 1 lacrosse recruit. Both my son and I are convinced that working with David helped with his success on the lacrosse field. We both highly recommend David.
Physical Fitness / Athletics…If you are involved in physical fitness and athletics, whatever your level, you will discover new possibility to advance. When the body is no longer carrying imbalances, inner frictions resolve. You are less prone to injury. Recovery time is faster. Your most natural and efficient basic form emerges. You can take on the form(s) demanded by the discipline of your particular activity more easily. The need to compensate is taken out of the picture. Performance improves. The “zone” can be your usual experience rather than an elusive, chance event. Winning won’t only be the goal, it’ll be the stance you play from.
Artists…The artist will uncover new refinements and range of creative expression. The body as an instrument in exquisite balance “plays” in tune and expresses itself easily and gracefully. Transcending the technique of your medium, letting your spirit soar, real mastery can come into view. This joy and freedom is communicated in your art.
Self Knowledge…Those questing for self discovery, striving to attain to wisdom and true understanding will find through Structural Integration a lifetime guide. Out of a simple and clear sense of earthly rootedness and deep inner uplifted support, obstacles clear up just in the process of life itself. Your birthright of peace and joy can unfold and manifest. Feet firmly on the ground, head lifted heavenward.
The Functionally Impaired…Individuals with severe functional restrictions from birth or due to accident or trauma are groups with specialized needs. For those who since birth have never even known average functioning, the slightest gains can often be counted as miraculous. Building back adequate structure and function after one has sustained substantial loss from injury or illness can be a slow, heroic process.
In many cases the progress from any approach is highly individual and not predictable. Structural Integration, either alone or in conjunction with some other therapeutic regimen, will at the very least be an important facilitator. It also could quite possibly make the critical difference. It has often been a successful “last resort” option where other approaches were of little or no help.