Structural integration is a relatively new type of bodywork that is quickly rising to popularity after being created in the 1970’s to provide a new way to relieve pain. It was influenced by taking a whole body approach to wellness, and combines chiropractic yoga, osteopathy, and the Alexander technique to treat patients. This type of therapy focuses on the connective tissues of the body, called the fascia. Fascia basically binds the body together, and is designed to be elastic so it can freely move with the muscles and bones.
When Is Structural Integration Used?
Over time, through injury, stress, and aging, fascia loses its elasticity, becoming increasingly stiff. This results in the muscles and skeleton being pulled out of alignment, and can cause significant pain. Those who are in chronic pain or who suffer from bad posture are most likely to benefit from structural integration, although anyone who wants to improve their body’s performance would notice an improvement after a few sessions.
Unlike a massage, which is often used to help a patient relax, structural integration is designed to help enhance the body’s ability to perform, and to improve alignment and posture within the patient. Improved alignment and posture have a tremendous effect on the body, from reducing aches and pains to increasing confidence and self-esteem.
Using Structural Integration Over a Massage
Structural integration lengthens and softens the fascia, in an effort to restore mobility and reduce pain. Where massage focuses on the body’s muscles, structural integration focuses solely on the fascia, not the muscles.
The goal of massage is to help the patient relax, and to provide short-term pain relief. Structural integration aims to go deeper than that, and to elongate the fascia, causing more permanent relief. In addition, those who practice structural integration are trained to examine the whole body in relation to the specific injury, whereas massage focuses only on the affected muscle.
Patients report that structural integration feels similar to a deep tissue massage, albeit on a different area of the body. In addition, patients report feeling more relaxed and mobile after a session, similar to how it feels after receiving a massage. While some patients report slight pain during the sessions themselves, the relief afterwards is so immense, the minor pain is worth the major relief.
Which Approach Is Best?
In order to determine which approach is best for them, patients should have a discussion with their chiropractic clinic. This discussion can help the chiropractor figure out where the injury is located, and which approach to treatment is ideal, given the nature and extent of the injury. Contact Chicago Chiropractic and Sports Injury Centers to schedule your appointment.