When it comes to structural integration, gravity is our best friend. When properly aligned, our bodies hold our strength and form better, injuries are prevented and our circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems are allowed to run their course properly.
Imagine a 2 pound cantaloupe on the end of a 2 foot stick. If we were to grab the base of the stick and hold the melon straight up, most of us would have little problem doing so. The direct downward pressure would be manageable enough for our hands, forearms and back to accommodate. Now, slowly lean the stick and melon away from you. Doing this changes the muscles that are being used to support it. Tension is removed from the back and biceps and placed squarely on the forearms and front body wall. The further the stick leans, the greater the pressure and eventually, even the strongest among us would be unable to keep the stick aloft.
Or, imagine a carefully stacked pile of rocks, where each stone is resting on its neighbor in the perfect manner in order to keep the pile upright. Could any of the stones be replaced with a different one and still keep its position? Would the removal of part of one stone, an injury perhaps, keep the stone strong enough to do its function? Sure, if one of the middle stones is injured we could create a patch (surgery) to repair the damage or shore up the weakness …… but the damage would still remain. The tower would still be weakened.
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 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, Ph.D.
Thankfully, we aren’t sticks and stones. Though we’re subject to the same laws of gravity, our bodies are blessed with the ability to heal and strengthen. Evolution has blessed us with the ability to retrain our soft tissue so that we may remedy the damage done by most injuries. Additionally, even after years of overcompensation, we can retrain our tissues to relieve us of the maladies we’ve inflicted on ourselves.
Remember that car accident 20 years ago? Your left knee was injured and you’ve been listing to the right since then and now your lower back pain is too much to tolerate. Those headaches? Are they caused by the vertebra that was tweaked and had been altering nerve impulses to and from the brain? Is proper organ function being interfered with because of your worsening scoliosis?
Structural integration and our related practices are not miracle cures. What they do is attempt to place your body back into a position where your native systems can work to their maximum effectiveness. We don’t heal you. You heal yourself.
At A Turning Pointe Physical Therapy, we know that your body can be your best friend and most effective hearing resource. We want you to “Feel Better!”
This is the gospel of Rolfing: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.
Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.