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What is the discipline of structural integration?

“It feels so good” just won’t do the job here.

The original Granny’s recipe was designed by Ida Rolf to provide an approach to her subjective and artistic world of integration. The design always was capable of adaptation to differing structures, including people with flat feet, people with too high fixed arches, people with differing feet, even people who were missing feet.

I hope you get the idea here….the “recipe” was always meant to be adaptable.

Today I speak of one issue of integration brought out when studying this structural integration discipline, that of the legs not dragging on the torso. This is an interesting integrational problem which could be phrased in the reverse: we don’t want the torso  dragging on the limbs!

Consider: the leg muscles cover the whole hips and midsection, inside and outside. (We could also speak of the arm muscles covering the whole front, back, and midsection, but won’t, here.)

We must seek clues as to how the legs may drag on the torso, perhaps creating functional problems, even a “bad back” issue. Consideration of the whole leg complex makes it easy to see that psoas/iliacus complex work without associated issues can bring disorganization.

How much function do we have, especially for a desired activity? Are the stabilizer leg and the kicker foot leg balanced as well as can be, both in standing and movement? Here we may find the famous “short leg”, and balance the functions better through soft tissue manipulation and functional assignments.

Most think it is easier to speak of “fixing” the joints and exercising away our pain and lack of function than to actually consider integration.

However, the discipline of structural integration addresses the kind of issues we speak of above in a non-linear way, winding about through the complexities of structure while pausing to make sure the joints are lined up–if you can say “lined up” about a complex saddle joint such as the thumb joint–and the soft tissue pulls and even nervous system stimulations are evened out in such a way as to maintain the structure of the joint.

This idea requires a flip-flop of thought about one’s body. The body could become a portal to ease in the gravity and sensory world around us, rather than a living lump to be driven, dragged, and measured into submission.

Discipline does not have to mean bringing out the whips and chains and measurements. Just so you’ll know. (Wink)



This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. but Linda; all well and good, but….we are looking for a replacement for “non-formulistic” and not for an elevator definition. And, IPR did not make the distinctions of flat vs high arch…her “feet” were mostly flat, and the high arch understanding came with the Internal External typology, in that high arches went with externals, and were treated differently. Not to pound on it or pontificate, just to say. thanks for thinking…Jan

    1. Thanks for responding, Jan, happy to hear from you here.
      Yes, this 407 words in usual blog format is short.
      Would you care to write a guest blog? Usually 300 to 400 people, many not Rolfers, read this screed each day;you will have an audience….
      And, dear readers, I introduce Jan Sultan, primo teacher of Rolfing® Structural Integration including structural typology.

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