This week, I am truly honored to have Joseph (Joey) Barker as my guest blogger. Before we begin, let me help you learn what Structural Integration is.
Structural Integration is a scientifically validated body therapy. Unlike massage, Structural Integration focuses not on the muscles but on their protective layer, called fascia (also known as connective tissue). Muscles are contracting tissues that give the body and organs physical movement. Source: www.rolfguild.org/about/structural-integration
What is Structural Integration and what are the Various Health Benefits of the Therapy?
After years of practicing this Therapy I am continuously amazed every day and with every client I have. Surprised because the benefits of this Therapy are far reaching, long lasting and consistent. From chronic pain alleviating quickly and easily, to people getting taller to peoples lives changing drastically both inwardly and outwardly.
Structural Integration, at least in the way that I was taught and choose to practice is a gentle pain-free manual therapy that is designed primarily to alleviate stress in the body. Both in the soft tissue (muscles and fascia) but also in the nervous system. The result is that with every session the client’s body softens, mobility is gained and proper patterns form in the body which makes sitting, standing, breathing, walking and all movements easier.
Working with a Structural Integrator typically means working through what is called the Ten series, which is ten sessions spaced over a ten week period to allow the entire body to function at its best capability.
Every session has a primary focus and there is always specific stretch or movement pattern associated with the session to increase the awareness of the client so that they have the tools needed to take care of their own body. Something that is enforced as people should have the tools of self-care.
Coming from a competitive background, I am very focused on efficiency and progress. For me personally, growing up with a disability and moving from being involved with no physical activity to training every day I had many issues with my physical body. There was no benefit within the normal medical pathways for me. After spending thousands and thousands of dollars over a decade, I had my own session of Structural Integration and found that it was the only therapy that had direct results that also lasted. After my swimming career finished with 6 Canadian Records and swimming in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics It was Structural Integration and yoga that allowed me to swim to my best capacity and now to live a life free of chronic pain and what seems like boundless energy. (Side Note: Deb Crowe fully agrees!)
If you have mobility issues, chronic pain, poor posture, tight or sore muscles of something more complicated structural Integration may be the huge level up you need in your health and wellness game to hit new levels of awesomeness.
Joey can be reached at the Discover Health Centre (519) 433-7444.