A fascial approach to balancing musculoskeletal alignment that is conducted in a set number of sessions or ‘series’ (usually 12). The adaptability of the body is organised by the soft tissue or the myofascia. All of our muscles, organs, nerves and blood vessels are ensheathed in connective tissue. When it is healthy it is pliable and elastic and is integral in movement and stability. Forces applied then the whole system redistributes the tension/strain in adaptation to maintain stability.
When imbalance, or misalignment exists, the body must make compensations to keep itself upright and to allow movement. Where our body compensates is in the soft tissue, specifically in the myofascial system (because its connections accommodate and transmit force). The aim of Structural Integration is to unwind the connective tissue web, with each session building on the one before. As the sessions progress, the body unravels its stresses and compensations, allowing more efficient and graceful movement, alignment and balance. Please go to the page Rolf Method Structural Integration for more information about this therapy.
Visceral Manipulation employs specifically placed manual forces that work to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. By harnessing the rhythmic motions of the organs, we can evaluate and balance how visceral forces interplay, overlap and improve the normal healthy forces of movement in the body. These gentle manipulations can improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body.
Scar tissue contains more fibrous tissue and collagen deposits than normal skin making it structurally and functionally different, thicker and less mobile.
ScarWork improves functionality in the scar and surrounding tissues, creating mobility between the layers of the skin, fascia and muscle. It can help resolve nerve impariment or symptoms such as a numbness from nerve injury, pain or sensitivity. Knots and tight scars can be softened and integrated into the surrounding tissue, so tugs and discomfort is eased. It is also able to lessen adhesions in the underlying tissue and I use it often in combination with Visceral Manipulation for a complete approach.
All kinds of scars from very old to newly healed can be improved using ScarWork. They could be the result of an accident, injury or surgery, such as:
- Knee or ankle replacements
- Hip replacements
- Skin grafts
- Appendix surgery
- Gall bladder surgery
- Caesarean section
- Breast surgery
- Porthcath and tube/drain sites
- Tummy tuck surgery
- Scarring from placement of metal plates and pins
- Abdominal surgery including keyhole for endometriosis.
- Mastectomies, full and partial
- Spinal surgeries.
- Foot and knee surgeries
Integrative Bodywork is a deep tissue and myofascial therapy that also uses manipulations and neuromuscular stretching. It focuses on assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions and aid in the rehabilitation and prevention of injuries and pain. It is ideal for those with local problems, who do not currently have the commitment required for a Structural Integration Series.
Designed to improve ease of movement, flexibility and postural alignment, Integrative Bodywork utilises slow, deep neuromuscular techniques to release restricted layers of myofascial tissue. Combined with stretching and joint mobilisation, it is able to mobiiise tissue, muscles and the joints, promoting greater flexibility, functional performance, structural alignment and self-awareness. It opens the body and the breath. It relieves pain and provides greater ease of movement. The main techniques are slow, deep, myofascial spreading and releasing using movement and breathe to resolve stuck areas in the fascia, ‘unlock’ postural habits and allow your body to realign more efficiently. A session is an active partnership between the practitioner and the client and is focused on problem-solving and client education.
Each session includes functional movement cues to build awareness of how you can use your body in a way that supports you better. These may address walking, standing, shoulder and core stability, breathing and other postural cues that root the work done within the session.
Why have Integrative Bodywork?
- It can realign postural and musculoskeletal imbalances and joint restrictions, relieve acute and chronic pain and injury, aid post-operative recovery and improve mobility and flexibillty.
- It can be focused on helping peak conditioning; improving training; injury prevention, management and recovery for sportsmen and regular exercisers.
- Good for reducing Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Sleeping Problems, Fatigue, Respiratory problems and enhancing physical and emotional vitality.
The benefits of bodywork include:
- Pain management
- Stress reduction and deep relaxation through stimulation of nerve receptors and the release of opiates which reduce physical tension
- Injury recovery
- Increases range of motion and mobility
- Releases restriction in tissues and reduce any associated compression on other structures (joints, tendons, fascia and muscles)
- Regulates the formation of connective tissue
- Breaks up soft tissue adhesions
- Realigns scar tissue to normalise its organisation
- Improves blood and lymphatic circulation
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Strengthens the immune system
- Warms up muscles and nourishes tissues, enhancing metabolic activity and eliminating chemical stressors (i.e. lactic acid and cortisol)
- Reduces swelling by controlling the inflammatory process
- Stimulates the nervous system and in so doing increases muscle tone and deactivates trigger points and decompresses nerves, relieving chronic pain
- Aids faster recovery from training and exercise
- Increases power and physical performance
- Better resistance to injury and injury prevention
- Stimulates the internal organs, improving digestion
- Improves tissue elasticity
- Releases deep muscular tension
- Realigns muscles and fascia
- Improves posture and breaks poor postural habits by increasing body awareness
- Clears energy channels within the body
- Increases vitality
- Relieves tension headaches
- Relieves physical and psychological stresses of cancer treatment
The techniques used in Integrative Bodywork are:
Myofascial Release: Myofascia is the connective tissue that surrounds bundles and individual muscles and well as their fibres. It forms a continuous web throughout the body. If it becomes tight or fibrous both local and whole body functional and structural dysfunction can occur.
Deep Tissue: Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning and lengthening deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue to release tension and strain patterns. It uses cross-fiber frictioning and stripping to promote muscle repair and/or reduce scar tissue.
Neuromuscular Technique (NMT) and Trigger Point Therapy: neuromuscular techniques use precise pressure to affect the nervous system and decompress nerves and trigger points. These are specific points in tissue that create weakness and pain in muscles and refer pain to other areas.
Muscle Energy Technique (MET): this neuromuscular assisted stretching technique allows muscles to relax and lengthen to restore range of motion to restricted joints.It is also used to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles and fascia. It improve musculoskeletal function and can to treat chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury. MET can be given over clothing, making it highly versatile.
Soft Tissue Release (STR) applies a lock and stretch to tissue to realign and lengthen it. Again, the technique can be given over clothing.
Positional Release involves placing restricted tissue passively into a position of ease to dampen neurological feedback.
Use of active client movement to enhance the effects.
Appropriate home-care functional movement exercises and stretches.
Postural and gait analysis and joint and muscle testing.
Active Isolated Stretching Mattes Method (AIS): this therapy provides effective, dynamic, facilitated stretching of major muscle groups and fascial planes, restoring full range of motion and flexibility. Performing an Active Isolated Stretch of no longer than 2 seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex and subsequent reciprocal antagonistic muscle contraction as the isolated muscle achieves a state of relaxation. These stretches provide maximum benefit and can be accomplished without opposing tension or resulting trauma. The specific exercises used to stretch the short muscles also strengthen the coupled muscles which are too long and weak. The stretches require the active participation of the client and engage specific portions of each muscle.
I also draw from the energetic and stretching techniques from the Eastern bodywork traditions to regulate and boost the flow of energy and blood through the channels, tissues and organs, removing stagnation and balancing their functions and activities.