What is Structural Integration?
Structural Integration is a form of hands-on manual therapy and movement re-education, which Mark has found to be more effective than massage therapy at releasing restrictions and strain in the body’s network of fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue of structure, which determines how different parts of the body relate to each other, and how easily and free body parts move.
Fascia surrounds many different parts of the body, including muscles, groups of muscles, vessels, nerves, and bones. When the fascia is free, then the body moves easily and is free of pain and discomfort. When fascia is restricted, then the body has difficulty moving, posture and alignment are compromised, and discomfort or pain are usually present. Fascia typically gets restricted through accidents, injuries, surgery, repetitive movement, poor posture, and also aging.
Some people see Mark because they are looking to fix or resolve an issue in their body – typically pain or tension. “I have chronic neck and shoulder tension.” “I have low back pain.” “I have this mysterious pain which my doctor can't figure out its cause.” Whatever the issue you are dealing with, Mark will work with you to improve the challenge while integrating the part(s) back into the fascial web of your body. If you are dealing with a challenge from trauma or injury, the earlier the intervention - the faster the issue can resolve.
Other people see Mark to improve their body more as a full system, which is how Structural Integration is often practiced. Structural Integration series work addresses the whole body as a system. It is performed over twelve sessions, where each session builds on the work of prior sessions. The series progresses from superficial to deep, while also working to coordinate different segments of the body. In the process, we also re-educate the body in more efficient movement patterns, making activities easier. The result is to have the whole body move and be more free, loose, and comfortable.
Why do people seek out Structural Integration?
Some people are looking for relief from pain and discomfort, or chronic tension. Others are looking to rehabilitate from an injury, trauma, or surgery - and recover function. Still others are looking to get better performance out of their bodies, such as sports athletes or the aging.
Whatever the reason, people that experience Structural Integration find that it provides lasting benefits. Once we create change in the fascial network, the body wants to keep the change. As the body opens up, the more freedom and ease of movement improve while pain and discomfort recede.
What happens in a session?
Each session starts by checking in with you about your body and your experience of it. Mark does a visual assessment of your posture (and movement), which informs him of how and where your body is stuck, condensed, or restricted.
These observations are followed up with hands-on assessment of the tissue, which leads directly into the work.
After the hands-on work, there is discussion about the session and what was observed in the tissue, as well as some suggestions for self-care to keep your progress moving forward between sessions.
What does it feel like?
Structural Integration is different than massage therapy. The fascia is engaged in three-dimensions, where it is condensed and restricted, and is worked to expand the tissue. Steady pressure is applied at various locations simultaneously, in multiple directions, causing the condensed fascia to release and expand.
How it feels varies from person to person. Many clients find the work relaxing, and some even fall asleep. Others say that it feels good, but would not describe it as relaxing. How it feels depends on what is being worked, the current state of the tissue, and how body aware the person is.
During your session you are in control of how fast, how deep, and how much area is worked.