structural integration

Passive Superficial Front Line Stretch

If I’ve sent you the link to this page, chances are that I have recommended this stretch for you to help open up the front of the body, especially through the chest and the front of the shoulders.

In this day of desk sitting and technology, the majority of clients I see who come in for remedial massage or structural integration work have the typical head forward, shoulders rounded posture. This posture is problematic because it can create tension and pain in the back, shoulders and neck. And that’s where most people feel it so assume that’s where the problem is.

I love this stretch because its easy to do, and that makes it doable. For most people, in the evening when watching TV or winding down for bed can be a great time to do this. To start with you may only be able to do it for 3-5 minutes, and that’s ok! As long as you do it consistently, every day. Chances are, if you’re shoulders are pulled forward and down, or your head is drawn forward, it’s something that has been building consistently over many years - and so it will take time to counteract this. And, once things are aligned a bit better - this can be a great way to help prevent the problem in future.

How to do the stretch:

1. Use either a rolled up yoga mat or a half foam roller for this. Either works, it depends on how much of a stretch you need. For many, rolling up the yoga mat can be enough to begin with. I would not recommend using a full round roller for this as it will be way too high.

2. Lie on the foam roller or yoga mat as pictured below. You will want to try and get your back nice and flat by tucking your tailbone under, and dropping your chin towards your chest a little more than is pictured below, to give you some flatness in the upper neck (but only go to where is comfortable). Have your arms out at 90 degrees (or less, if needed) with palms facing upwards. The amount of stretch and how comfortable you feel depends on where you move the arms - and you can have them wherever works for you.

3. Hold this position for however feels comfortable for you. You can start with 3-5 minutes, and then work up towards 10-15 minutes. The more time you spend at a desk or in a position which encourages your shoulders to round forward, the more important this will be for you.

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Structural Bodywork & "The 3 Series"

I am so excited to be back in Perth after 11 days in Sydney doing some further education training in the field of Structural Integration, and am now offering Structural Bodywork sessions as part of the Holistia remedial therapies.  But what is it?  Read on to find out more!

What Is Structural Bodywork & The 3 Series?

Photo by  David Hofmann  on  Unsplash

Structural Bodywork is a manual therapy that focuses on releasing restrictions in the fascia of the body.  Fascia connects the whole body, covering every organ, muscle fibre and bone, continuing right down to arteries, veins and nerves. 

Since the whole body is connected, it makes sense that tension in one part of the body can have a profound effect on other areas of the body.

A good way to imagine how it works is this: grab the bottom corner of the front of your t-shirt, and scrunch it up in one hand.  Now observe what happens to the rest of the t-shirt.  Can you see or feel the pull in other areas?  This is a great way to imagine how a fascial restriction in the hip could be creating tension in the opposite shoulder.

The work aims to identify and release postural and movement patterns that may be contributing to chronic pain, restricted movement and tension.  The sessions help to bring the body back into balance, creating more space, awareness and ease of movement.

The 3 Series works through the body in a series of three 90 minute sessions.  The first session starts with the feet and legs to create grounding and support from underneath you, with the second session following on with the upper body and arms.  The final session completes the series by balancing the spine, neck and head.  The series is done in such a way to provide you with grounding, support and balance – you cannot have one without the others!

How can Structural Bodywork help me?

Structural bodywork is ideal for those who have chronic pain, reduced movement or mobility through the body, or areas of general tension that create discomfort.  It is aimed at finding the cause of the problem, so you may find that during treatment the focus may be on an area that is different to where you are experiencing pain or tension.

By easing the restrictions and adhesions in the fascia, your body will start to move differently – you may feel a sense of more space, or even just become more aware of parts of your body that you didn’t realize were not moving freely.  You may feel more connected to your body and find new ways to move. 

How does Structural Bodywork differ to massage?

There are a number of ways that Structural Bodywork differs to massage, but the main difference is that it is a more collaborative approach between client and practitioner. 

During the session, your posture and movement will be assessed - not only at the start of the appointment, but you will be regularly re-assessed throughout the session.  You will be asked to move and feel the work being done, to help create more awareness of your body, its posture, and how it moves.

Compared to massage, the draping is minimal, and so clients are advised to wear comfortable shorts or underwear, and women are advised to wear a sports bra or two piece bathers.

Some of the work may be done while seated rather than lying on the table, and throughout the session you will be asked to walk and/or move to integrate the work.

I am constantly amazed at the changes that are experienced by this work – if you’d like to know more then please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask – and if you’re keen to give it a go then head over to the booking page and book your appointment today!