Structural Integration as designed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf is a 10 session systematic process of deep bodywork that improves the Structural and Functional abilities of the human body in its relationship to the gravitational field. Through the systematic approach of reorganizing major joints, and body segments, while releasing the chronically held tension and torsion patterns we are able to achieve a rapid change in structural mechanics and correction of chronic musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction.
Athletes perform better while stress is significantly reduced. Postural balance and flexibility are improved with each session. Professional athletes, dancers, and performance artists throughout the world have successfully utilized CORE Structural Integration. Business and professional leaders have found that the beneficial results have improved their focus and attention, their vitality, and their creative abilities. CORE Structural Bodywork can significantly balance the emotional and cognitive abilities of anyone who completes the 10-session series.
“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 forty may call it old age. And yet all 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 off balance. They are at war with gravity.” – Ida P. Rolf
Perhaps more than any other group of people, athletes demand a tremendous amount from their bodies when it comes to intensity, frequency, and performance. It’s no wonder that a growing number of athletes ranging from recreational sports enthusiasts and weekend competitors to professional players and Olympic contenders are choosing to incorporate Structural Integration into their ongoing healthcare regimen as a way to condition and repair their bodies. Top athletes such as Professional Football Running Back Emmit Smith, Michelle Kwan Olympic Figure Skater, Mario Lemieux, Edwin Moses, Joe Greene, Ivan Lend former tennis champion utilized Structural Integration to remain at the top of their sport, in addition, the 1996 British Olympic team specifically chose CORE Structural bodywork in there preparation for the Olympic games.
The high level of physical agility, strength, stamina, and endurance required of these individuals on a regular basis makes them perfect candidates for the strengthening and restorative benefits of Structural Integration.We can apply what we know about the foundation of Structural Integration that a body in proper alignment functions properly to come up with its logical opposite: a body out of proper alignment does not function properly. This physiological reality is the basis of the many different ways in which Structural Integration addresses athletic-specific needs.
Tim Thackery, the 2000, US National Taekwondo champion (flyweight division) started receiving Structural Integration sessions at the age of 13. Now at age 21 he still receives regular “maintenance sessions,” and the “ten-series” every other year. Tim states, “Structural Integration has given me a better presence than my competition. My posture has dramatically improved. My stance is firm. Not only has Structural Integration given me a mental advantage, it has increased my breathing capacity, improved my range of motion and I am more flexible. These are all qualities critical to becoming a winner in the Taekwondo sport.”
One of the first things that athletes who use Structural Integration will tell you is that it enhances their performance. This occurs for several reasons. For one thing, a properly aligned body requires less energy to do the same amount of work; this results in an athlete who does not experience fatigue as quickly, which in turn increases his endurance. For another thing, muscles that have been freed from overcompensating for one another (as they tend to do when the body is out of alignment) can become stronger as they perform their intended tasks; this results in optimum muscle performance, and ultimately in increased strength.
“Joe, I have been meaning to thank you for the 10 Sessions I went through with you 6 months ago. I cannot thank you enough for the freedom, stability and flexibility that you have helped me achieve. I feel more athletic now than I did when I was an athlete. My strength and conditioning coach was amazed the last time we trained at my form during shuttle runs and wind sprints. He had never seen me drive my knees so high – something that I am not used to hearing as a 300+ pound former athlete. But I have to tell you, I was running without resistance, I felt free. This is something that I had never felt before. Simply just walking down the street is a fun experience. I glide, I bounce in my step. Maybe this is what movement is like for some people, but it was never the case for me. From a movement, balance, even strength and endurance perspective I feel like a new person. The combination of the sessions with you and incorporating your “homework” into my lifestyle has made all the difference. Thanks so much for working with me and helping me to achieve my goals.”
Similarly, many of the other results of Structural Integration that we’ve discussed in previous articles translate directly into athletic benefits. Deeper, more expansive breathing becomes increased breathing capacity. Increased flexibility, balance, and coordination are obvious boons to any athlete, but they also translate into an improved range of motion. Increasingly upright posture can translate into a stronger stance. And all of these benefits can result in increased grace and agility.
“Joe, Thank you for taking me through all 10 sessions of Structural Integration. The combination of bodywork, awareness training, and flexibility exercises has led to exceptional results. I would have never completed the 2006 San Diego Marathon without your help.” Dave Cobb
A second category of athletic benefits from Structural Integration involves injury. Prevention and recovery are two sides of the same coin. When the body is in appropriate alignment, it is less likely to move in an inappropriate way that may result in an injury. If the athlete does become injured – through impact or from a fall, for instance – correct alignment will allow the body to heal more quickly and efficiently, because each region of the body will be doing its job appropriately.
Some benefits and hazards are sports-specific, and, by focusing on a particular body part or region, I can assist the athlete in optimizing his performance and in preventing injuries that are more likely to occur in his sport. For instance, the work I do in the fourth session results in runners having increased stride length and balanced arches of their feet; this results in increased speed and a more comfortable, less injury-prone gait. In another example, a third of all golfers will experience injury as the result of repetitive swinging, bending, and stooping; I can help the golfer prevent this type of injury by ensuring a correct relationship between pelvis and spine, and by optimizing his range of motion.
“Joe started working with me about 24 months ago to help me deal with adverse effects of surgery and radiation treatment that I had received in the summer of 2004 to address cancer in my neck and right shoulder . Initially Joe and I focused on therapy that would improve the elasticity, flexibility and strength of only the effected areas. Last year I told Joe that I was interested in getting back on the golf course (I was a 9-handicap before my cancer treatment) and Joe indicated that he thought that we could significantly improve my overall posture, flexibility and breathing (all of which are essential elements of a good golf game) by participating in a 10-session Core Structural Therapy Program. We started the program in the Winter of 2006 in preparation for the upcoming 2007 golf season. I have to admit the program was more comprehensive and rigorous than I expected. My involvement included not only participating in the therapy sessions, but also spending the intervening days re-educating my body to improve simple things like sitting, walking and breathing properly. Although my golf game has improved as a result of the work Joe and I did during the Core Structural Therapy program, (last week I shot my best round of the year, an 82). Dave Noke
A third, less obvious, category in which athletes experience benefits from Structural Integration is mental advantage. As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, one of the advantages of Structural Integration is decreased stress and anxiety. For an athlete, this can be a huge advantage in competition. Add to that the knowledge that his body is functioning at its best, and the athlete is more likely to approach any activity or competition with confidence.
Through enhanced performance, prevention of and recovery from injury, and an increased mental advantage, Structural Integration provides athletes with a broad range of benefits.
Source by Joseph Ackerman