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Structural Integration is a type of Alternative medicine which aims to align the human body in the gravitational field. The claimed benefit is that the increased use of balance at finer levels of the neuro-fascial-musculo-skeletal system allows for increased general well-being and physical adaptability and resilience as well as reduced pain from biomechanically caused pain. Structural Integration practitioners are trained in the application of functional biomechanical and kinesiological analysis and in effective ways of changing a client's structure. Often connective tissue, in the form of fascia, is manipulated to allow body segments to shift to a more balanced position. Re-education of the clients movement patterns and other modalities are commonly used to achieve or support the goal of improved alignment.
Additional recommended knowledge
First developed as a separate field by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Structural Integration, from the 1930s, evolved out of a number of sources including osteopathy, (including cranial osteopathy), yoga, Alexander Technique, and Feldenkrais. By the 1950s Dr Rolf was teaching Postural Release. In the 1960s this work was named Structural Integration and then "Rolfing". Other schools teaching Structural Integration have formed from the 1960s onward. Structural Integration is now taught by a number of individual schools. (see below) Techniques originally developed in Structural Integration are now found in deep tissue massage, myo-fascial massage and soft tissue work and other forms of bodywork, massage and physical therapy. In an effort to preserve the essential elements of Structural Integration in its teaching and practice, practitioners from a variety of schools formed the International Association of Structural Integrators in 2002.
Scientific research and criticism
Research by Valerie Hunt, Jim Oschman, and Silverman confirm that Structural Integration techniques do produce measurable biochemical and physiological changes. The significance of these changes remains open to debate. Perception of outcome of Structural Integration by clients is often in line with the claimed benefits but critics claim these changes are due to the placebo effect.
Citations of research on Structural Integration
Stress, Stimulus Intensity Control, and the Structural Integration Technique, Silverman, Rappaport & Hopkins, (abstract : Confinia Psychiatrica, Karger Publisher, Switzerland, 1973)
Effects of Structural Integration On Strait-Trait Anxiety, Robert Wagner and Valerie Hunt, UCLA, 1976, (abstract : Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 35, No.2, USA, April 1979)
A Study of Structural Integration from Neuromuscular, Energy Field & Emotional Approaches, (abstract: Dr. Valerie Hunt and Wayne Massey, UCLA Dept. of Kinesiology, 1977)
Electromyographic Evaluation of Structural Integration Techniques, Dr. Valerie Hunt and Wayne Massey, UCLA, (abstract : Psychoenergetic Systems, Gordon & Breach Science Pub., UK, 1977)
Effects Of Soft Tissue Mobilization on Parasympathetic Tone in Two Age Groups, J. Cottingham, Frances Nelson Health Center, Illinois, 1987, (abstract : The Journal of American Physical Therapy Assn., Vol. 68, 352-356, 1988)
Shifts in Pelvic Inclination Angle and Parasympathetic Tone Produced by Rolfing Soft Tissue Manipulation, J. Cottingham, Frances Nelson Health Center, Illinois, (abstract : The Journal of American Physical Therapy Assn., Vol. 68, 1364-1370, 1988)
Effects of Soft Tissue Mobilization On Pelvic Inclination Angle, Lumbar lordisis, and Parasympathetic Tone: Implications for Treatment of Disabilities Associated with Lumbar Degenerative Joint Disease, Cottingham JT. Public testimony presentation to the National Center of Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD; March 19,1992. Rolf Lines 20 (2) : 42-45, 1992
Functional-Evaluation of Rolfing in Cerebral-palsy. Perry J, Jones Mh, Thomas L. Developmental Medicine And Child Neurology 23 (6): 717-729 1981.
Functional-Evaluation of Rolfing in Cerebral-palsy. Perry J, Jones M, Thomas L. Developmental Medicine And Child Neurology 22 (1): 115-115 1980.
Psychodramatics Of Emotional And Physiological Stability in Relation to TA and Structural Integration - Rolfing. Transactional Analysis Journal 5 (1): 75-75 1975.
A three-paradigm treatment model using soft tissue mobilization and guided movement-awareness techniques for a patient with chronic low pack pain: A case study. Cottingham JT, Maitland J. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 26 (3): 155-167 Sep 1997
- The International School of Structural Integration
- Core Institiute
- Guild for Structural Integration
- Guild for Therapeutic Bodywork, Inc.
- Hellerwork, International
- Institut fur Strukturelle Korpertherapie
- Institute for Structural Integration
- Institute of Structural Medicine
- Kinesis Myofascial Integration
- Mana Integrative Therapies
- Northwest Center for Structural Integration
- Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB0)
- Rolf Institute
- The School of Integrative Therapies
- Structural Integration for Horses
- International Association of Structural Integrators
- MP3 Files of Dr. Rolf's Lectures From GSI