So, massage therapists have to take a certain amount of Continuing Education credits in IL in order to maintain their license. In addition to a course in ethics, and one I’ve already taken in Myofascial Trigger Points- I have decided to venture into the new world of Structural Integration (SI). It is based on the work of Ida Rolf, and taught by amazing teachers at the Chicago College of Healing Arts. I am excited that this program also ties in Psychophysical Re-education- which is a blend of the seminal work of Moshe Feldenkreis, an amazing contributor to the mind/body-awareness fields, and Robert Masters, a pioneer in human consciousness/potential research. I love this work because it is more holistic, with regards to how a body is held in space, than any other body modality I’ve encountered. To learn more about Structural Integration, check out this link: http://www.rolfguild.org/aboutsi.html. There are many other sites to check out as well. To understand why posture and fascia are SO important to address in bodywork, check out the concepts: http://www.anatomytrains.com/explore/tensegrity/explained
I have just completed a weekend training on Session 1 of the 10 session format developed by Ida Rolf. Session 1 focuses on the superficial fascial “sleeve”. So our focus was on releasing all the fascial attachments of the superficial musculature from head to toe. The idea is to free up more space for the client to live in, and thereby creating more room to rearrange and “bring up the core” fascia and musculature. I loved the work because it was a lot slower and mindful. It is a lot more of a team effort between the client and therapist- there are a lot of techniques that require movement on the client’s part, and of course feedback is key to ensuring the work doesn’t venture outside of the client’s tolerance.
Apparently, “Rolfing” which SI is based on, has gotten a bad rap due to the “intensity” of the work. People have an association that it is painful work. Some people may even be attracted to it, as their mantra is “no pain, no gain”. In reality, I was told by a previous instructor that this reputation was created because a lot of Rolfers were not previously massage therapists. Therefore, their sense of touch and tissue receptivity wasn’t acutely developed. Obviously, this is not always the case- but is a reasonable theory, as training in massage therapy develops this sense dramatically. As does the experience of working with many bodies. Also, many massage therapy techniques can be described as painful if they are not performed at the tissue’s pace. Its all about working within the client’s tolerance.
More to come! 🙂
Meant to add:
I have a classmate chronicling her adventures too. Upon reading her entry, I realized I hadn’t included in my previous post my experience of session 1. Not only do we give the work, but we receive it. I would say I agree with my classmate in that the biggest take away from session 1 is the powerful effect of the diaphragm work. We are taught that this work has an emotional component- as we release the fascial restrictions, sometimes emotions are released or bubble up. For me, the effects of session 1 didn’t hit me until I had left class for the day and was out with a friend for dinner. I realized I felt giddy and exhilarated. I know that I hold my anxiety in my stomach, when I have it- so it was interesting to see that the other side of this may be that I was also holding back my joy. It makes me think about how when we are used to having anxiety, it becomes a way of being. It is hard then, to take the risk of opening up and letting go….which is where joy is. It is hard sometimes, to break out of the shell. I think this work will continue to help me reduce my “armor”.