Structural Integration - A Human Experience

What is Structural Integration?

Structural Integration dramatically alters your structure and posture and can resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain.  It can also restore and enhance flexibility, revitalize energy and have you feeling more comfortable in your body.

Structural Integration facilitates more efficient use of muscles, allowing your body to conserve movement with less effort.  This reduces chronic stress and enhances neurological functioning.

Benefits of Structural Integration include:

  • Increase flexibility and ease of movement
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Improve balance
  • Release chronic pain, tension and stress
  • Enhance physical performance
  • Improve posture
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Reduce effort in activity
  • Look and feel younger
  • Expand your sense of well being


Dr. Ida P. Rolf developed the process of Structural Integration as a holistic system combining soft tissue manipulation and movement education to restore the body to its natural state of alignment and balance – by lengthening, restoring and reorganizing the FASCIA, the connective tissue matrix of the body.

Fascia surrounds and supports all of the muscles, bones and organs in your body in continuous web-like layers.  This fascial net, or connective tissue matrix, is the body’s internal system of flexible support – giving it strength and shape.  The fascial system responds to injury, chronic tension and habitual movement patterns by shortening from both the forces of gravity and the mechanical forces of habitual movement patterns.


When your fascia shortens, thickens and becomes glue-like, it locks in less-than optimal patterns of strain and pulls your body out of alignment.  Dr. Rolf’s work is based on the insight that your body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced along the vertical line of gravity.  In this place, gravity gently lifts and supports your body rather than pulling it down.  By systematically restoring the integrity of your fascial system, your body becomes aligned and the entire system can be a smoothly functioning and coordinated whole.

Dr. Rolf believed form determines function.  Structural Integration can create a more adaptable and supportive form that can function more optimally in the filed of gravity.

This filed of gravity is an unseen force consistently interacting with the human body.  Structural Integration re-educates the person and the human body to live and move in harmony with the field of gravity instead of being in conflict with it.

The Structure of the Series

Structural Integration is a system used to align and balance the physical body within its gravitational field by freeing and reorganizing the myofascia, or connective tissue that surrounds the muscles.  Dr. Rolf discovered that the body is organized in layers and that in order to create lasting chance, the Structural Integration Series must create length and space in the outermost layers before working with deeper, more core layers in the body.  Structural Integration is a “system” of ten sessions.  The first three sessions are called “The Sleeve” and cover the superficial fascia.  The middle four sessions are called “The Core” and cover the deeper myofascial structures.  And the last three sessions are called “Integrative” and create structural and functional adaptability within the whole body.

The Sleeve Sessions: 1-3

These are the superficial sessions.  The “sleeve” of your body is the outer fascial layer.  This is the part of your body that does the “doing”, the fast movements.  You can think of it as the sleeve or thin wet suit just underneath your skin.  The goal for these sessions is to open, lengthen, and organize these extrinsic layers.  This will create space for the deeper layers to unwind and release.

Session 1 – Opening the sleeve

Terrain: ribcage, sternum, shoulders, neck; lateral pelvis/leg and hamstrings

You will get a sense of lift in your body.  Your breathing pattern will be addressed by releasing the superficial fascia of the ribs and thorax.

Session 2 – Support for the body

Terrain: feet, legs, knees, thighs, pelvis

You will get a sense of grounding in your body.  Your feet will be more fluid and adaptable as they support the vertical dimension in your body.

Session 3 – Lateral line

Terrain: neck, arms/shoulders, torso, pelvis, thighs and knees

You will experience the dimension of depth (front to back balance) and freedom of the arms and shoulder girdle from the spine.

The Core Sessions: 4 – 7

These are also referred to as the “deep” sessions.  The “core” of your body is your “beingness”, the area of slow, postural movements.  The goal of these sessions is to open, lengthen and organize these intrinsic layers.

Session 4 – Medial Line

Terrain: ankle, knees, medial thigh, pelvic floor

You will build up core support and strength from your feet through your legs to the bottom of your core.  You will experience more lift in your body and start to get a sense of “the Line.”

Session 5 – Anterior Line – visceral organization and core activation

Terrain: front of the legs, abdomen, psoas, diaphragm, ribs and sternum.

You will extend your line of support up to the head along the front of the spine.  This will further your sense of front-to-back balance in your body.  You will also get a sense of leg movement from the core, rather than from the hips.

Session 6 – Posterior Line

Terrain: posterior ankle, calves and thighs; gluteals, deep rotator muscles, sacrum, spine (lower and upper back)

You will feel a sense of length in the front and the back of the core.  You will experience movement from your legs to your undulating spine.

Session 7 – Adaptability

Terrain: chest, shoulders, neck, jaw, cranium

You will feel the relationship of your head and neck as a fluid extension of your spine.

The Integrative Sessions: 8 – 10

The first seven sessions are about taking the body apart to get the individual parts working better.  The last cycle of sessions is about putting the individual parts back together into a better functioning whole.  This is the place where the sleeve and core meet and interact.  You will begin to experience motion, initiated by your core layer, smoothly and efficiently transmit out through the sleeve layer of your body.

Session 8 – Structural Integration

Terrain: lower gridle, legs, hips and pelvis

You will experience a secure foundation in the pelvis and legs for the upper body, neck and head to be supported.  This creates a sense of stability and adaptability in your body.

Session 9 – Functional Integration

Terrain: upper girdle, arms, shoulders, chest, back. Head and neck

You will experience contralateral movement in your body.  You will feel the transfer of motion and energy from the core to the sleeve.  All movement will start to initiate from the lumbodorsal hinge – the area in front of the vertebral column at the mid to lower back.

Session 10 – Integration

Terrain: ankles, knees, hips, diaphragm, neck, cranium

You will have a sense of “the Line” and of everything being connected.  You will have a full sense of your body in 3 dimensions and moving in any direction with equal ease.

Health Benefits

“The medical benefits are specific, observable and measurable beyond a mere type of physical therapy.  Rather than just a band-aid, it really is a restructuring and recreating of soft tissues in relationship to the whole structure and function.”

Dr. William Harrel, MD

“Better than 90% of the brain’s output is directed towards maintaining your body in its gravitational field.  Therefore, the less energy one spends on one’s posture, the more energy is available for healing, digestion and thinking”

Roger W. Sperry, Nobel Laureate, 1981

Proven Performance

“Structural Integration is possibly the most important thing I have done to further my career.  I have never felt stronger or more powerful in all the years I’ve played. And haven’t had a single injury since starting the work.  I will use/do Structural Integration for the rest of my live!”

Landon Donovan, L.A. Galaxy Captain

Invest in You

“The time I spent doing the Structural Integration series was perhaps the best investment I have made in myself in years.  The results are outstanding!”

David M. Corbin, Brian Tracy Learning Systems Vice President

Health Benefits

“The medical benefits are specific, observable and measurable beyond a mere type of physical therapy.  Rather than just a band0aid, it really is a restructuring and recreating of the soft tissues in relationship to the whole structure and function.”

Dr. William Harrell, MD

Move Efficiently

“I used Structural Integration while training for the Olympics and it was the best decision that I have made regarding my body.  With continued work, OI feel that my body moves more efficiently, and I have been able to stay injury free.”

Misty May, Volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist 2004 and 2008

Benefits of Structural Integration Include:

  • Increase energy, vitality and fitness
  • Enhance physical performance
  • Release chronic pain, tension and stress
  • Improve posture and body shape
  • Increase flexibility and ease of movement
  • Easier and fuller breath capacity
  • Improve athletic performance and injury prevention
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Improve balance
  • Reduce effort in activity
  • Look and feel younger
  • Expand sense of well being