Saran plastic wrap is tricky to work with. Tear off a sheet, one wrong move, and it is a crumpled ball.
Now think of your body. Imagine its bones, muscles, organs and nerves are wrapped in interconnected sheets of smooth plastic wrap. These sheets are the body’s myofascial tissue. They help give your body form, and when they are smooth and supple, your body moves with ease and grace, and your emotions follow suit.
However, just like plastic wrap, over time these sheets of myofacial tissue can become rigid. Or maybe repetitive motion as simple as for years craning your neck over a computer screen, or perhaps an injury as traumatic as a broken bone, can crumple these sheets in one direction or another (even after the repetitive motion or injury has been corrected). These misaligned sheets of myofascial tissue then pull on other sheets of myofascial tissue, which in turn drag other bones, muscles, organs and nerves out of line. Often this pull of misalignment begins subtly, but over time the patterns of misalignment become more entrenched and troublesome, with results that can range from mild irritation to debilitating pain.
A professional Rolf Structural-Integration practitioner is trained to recognize the sources of these misalignments and to then recontour the misaligned tissue back into a smooth, functional state. Practitioners will apply their fingers, palms, knuckles, even at times their elbows, at different angles, pressures and depths to restore a body as close as possible to its natural form.
During most of a Structural-Integration session at Cina Structural Integration, Alan will ask a client to lie on a comfortable, padded table built by Rolf Star furniture. These tables are much softer and larger than traditional massage tables. Relaxing music may play in the background, or perhaps the client will prefer silence. Clients wear whatever they are comfortable wearing during the session: cotton sweat clothes, undergarments, athletic wear, swimwear or just about any attire that a client is comfortable in will work fine. Generally speaking, a session lasts about an hour and a half.
During their sessions clients may lie face up or face down, resting on a pillow or lying flat, all depending upon which part of the body Alan is realigning. Occasionally, depending upon the adjustment being performed, clients may stand against a wall or sit on a bench specifically design by Rolf Star for Structural-Integration work. At other times Alan may ask clients to make slow, specific movements with an arm or leg. These different positions and movements allows Alan to observe the function of myfoscial tissue and to then recontour the tissue with as much ease as possible. However, for most of a session clients simply lie down and relax.
Does It hurt?
Occasionally, clients fall asleep during their Rolf Structural Integration sessions. It can be that relaxing.
However, it is more common for clients to feel mild to moderate stretching or pressure, or the sensation of heat, similar to what a person might feel during a deep-tissue massage. These sensations are from Alan realigning myofascial tissue. The more significantly the tissue is out of alignment or the longer it has been out of alignment, the potentially more intense the stretching, pressure or heat sensations.
"No pain, no gain", is a mantra we have all heard; however, you won’t hear it Cina Structural Integration. Now, some clients may feel more intense stretching or pressure than others, depending upon, as noted above, the degree of misalignment and the longevity of the misalignment. However, in modern Rolf Structural Integration pain is avoided for two basic reasons:
1. Ouch! Nobody likes to hurt. After all, that’s why people come for the therapy in the first place, to lose pain.
2. Just as important, Rolf Structural Integration works best when clients experience relaxation. If you think about it, when people are in pain their bodies tense up - and it is then more difficult for a practitioner to realign myofascial tissue. So Alan goes to great lengths to keep their clients comfortable.
Now, everyone has a unique body. Some people are sensitive to heat, some cold; some tickle easily, some are hard to get a laugh out of. Point being, Alan constantly communicates with clients to keep their experiences as relaxing as possible.