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Services and Techniques

The Feldenkrais Method®
Structural Integration Work

Structural Integration is the generic term for hands-on myofacial work that is done throughout most parts of the body over a series of sessions, commonly in a ten session recipie. A common word sometimes used interchangably for SI Therapy is Rolfing.® However, please know that Rolfing® is a trademarked version of SI Therapy taught at The Rolf Institute® in Boulder Colorado, and anyone graduating from their course of study may call themself a "Rolfer."

 

The primary focus of this work is the body’s connective tissue. As connective tissue envelopes the entire body in a seamless, web-like fashion, connecting disparate parts to one another, it can, through trauma or incorrect body mechanics, become stuck and “glued down,” restricting movement throughout the entire body. This work seeks to lengthen and reposition this connective tissue using a variety of myofascial techniques: appropriate pressure combined with properly aligned body movement on the part of the client. And the desired goal of this repositioning and aligning of the tissue is the body’s core---the seat of our deepest emotional and energetic blocks. Ultimately, the core is opened to provide more expansion and depth. The end result is a body aligned better with gravity, allowing grace and flow in movement which is closer to our natural state.

 

The Ten Session Cycle

The ten session cycle is sequenced for maximum release and proper organization of the body’s structure. Session one initiates a flow of release; each of the subsequent sessions continues a process that migrates throughout the body until its completion with session ten.

An Overview of the Individual Sessions and Their Goals

 

Session 1

Opens the breathing; frees the ribcage, arms & shoulders, sides of the legs and back.

 

Session 2

Frees the feet, legs & further releases the shoulders.

 

Session 3

Frees the lateral aspects of the body and finishes preparation for core work.

 

Session 4

Core work begins here & continues throughout the sessions; frees the pelvis from below & begins to open up the abdomen.

 

Session 5

Frees the pelvis from above & opens the abdomen.

 

Session 6

Frees the pelvis from behind & releases the base of the spine.

 

Session 7

Releases the shoulders, neck and hands; lengthens the neck and realigns the neck & head over the body.

 

Session 8

Continues the process of freeing & integrating the lower body.

 

Session 9

Continues the process of freeing & integrating the upper body.

 

Session 10

Further releases the core & back; maximizes the organization & integration of the whole person: “Brings it all together”.

What Does Structural Integration work Feel Like?

 

Many people experience new and different sensations during the ten sessions. This is mostly the awakening of tissue that has been numbed or asleep for a long time. Sometimes there can be moderate to intense discomfort---physically and emotionally. As your tissue awakens, we work together to create a manageable---yet challenging---space to move beyond the discomfort into balance and integration (In other words, this work is not massage…it can hurt at some point in the process).

The Feldenkrais Method® is a carefully thought out set of principles and ideas to assist eager and inquisitive people in learning about themselves; it is a method of somatic education. Through gentle touch and focused awareness, students (clients) are provided the necessary learning environment to learn new patterns of movement or being in their body. By learning new strategies of being in the body, old habits that may have been the cause of pain and discomfort are put aside.

 

The Feldenkrais Method® came to the United States as an integral part of the Human Potential Movement during the late 1960s and 1970s. Then, as now, it was seen as a way for people to improve themselves at any level, whether recovering from an injury or seeking improvement in playing a muscial instrument. A quote from Moshe Feldenkrais about his method sums up what he thought the work could do for people: “What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, but flexible brains….actually what I’m after is to restore people to their human dignity.” For me, this restoration of dignity says it all. And while this seems a tall order and very high and mighty, I really have seen some amazing results that have astonished me. 

Two Modalities:

This Method, developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 to 1984) over a lifetime of study in physics, biological science, physiology, psychology, and hands-on treatment with clients, utilizes two primary formats: hands-on “table work” known as “Functional Integration®” (FI) and group classes or “floor work” known as Awareness Through Movement®” classes (ATM).

Functional Integration® Sessions:

The hands-on Functional Integration® work is a one-on-one session or lesson that is styled to the individual concerns of each client. While remaining fully clothed, clients are guided by listening hands to sense and feel new ways of movement. The end result is a fresh and invigorating awareness that is carried out of the lesson and into the client’s memory for further use and extension in their life as they continue their activities, hobbies or careers.

ATM (Awareness Through Movement®) Classes:

The Awareness Through Movement® classes, on the other hand, usually involve a group of people, much like a yoga or tai chi class. In a typical ATM class, students are verbally guided through a series of movements that have been encapsulated into a thematic lesson which focuses on various parts of the body, all of which were crafted by Moshe Feldenkrais himself. While movement is explored, there is also a great deal of emphasis on scanning the body with focused attention. The end result is the same as having an FI lesson: an expanded awareness of the self.

1543 print from Andrea Vesalius' book De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. An example of one of the first anatomy texts in Western science. He is dangling in his right arm his own outer layer of fascia.

Moshe Feldenkrais during a training in the United States during the 1970s.