Yoga Mike offers bodywork sessions in the style of myofascial therapy, which are based on the principles and teachings set forth by Ida P. Rolf, and the students who have advanced her work beyond its original conception.
The sessions are customized to address the causative patterns of pain and dysfunction in both posture and movement in the body. Unlike a traditional Swedish Massage, where the focus of the session is to induce a neuro-muscular relaxation by squeezing and kneading the muscle bellies themselves, myofascial therapy focuses on increasing space potentials within the body by stretching, spreading, and lengthening the broad planes of connective tissues with long connecting strokes. This invokes an increase of awareness of the overall relationships between the various segments of the body.
The sessions build progressively on one another and lead to a gradual unraveling intended to reveal the root causes of chronic pain and postural distortion. Surgical avoidance and post-surgical rehabilitation, chronic and acute pain reduction and elimination are just a few of the things this work has been proven to achieve.
Sessions 1-3 strive to loosen and balance surface layers of connective tissue.
Session 1 is devoted to enhancing the quality of breath with work on the arms, ribcage and diaphragm. Opening is also started along the upper leg, hamstrings, neck and spine.
Session 2 helps give the body a stable foundation by balancing the foot and muscles of the lower leg.
Session 3 typically involves a “side view” for an understanding of how the head, shoulder girdle, and hips are positionaly related to one another when standing under the influence of gravity. Then, the body is addressed within the context of this new vision.
Sessions 4-7 are referred to as “core” sessions and examine terrain found between the bottom of the pelvis and top of the head. The idea of core also includes the deep tissue of the legs for its role in support.
Session 4 begins this journey, its territory extends from the inside arch of the foot and up the leg, to the bottom of the pelvis.
Session 5 is concerned with balancing surface and deep abdominal muscles to the curve of the back.
Session 6 seeks to enlist more support and moment from the legs, pelvis and lower back, while the seventh session turns its sole attention to the neck and head.
Session 8-10, known as “Integration”, provide an opportunity for the practitioner to blend previously established advancements, and ones yet to be made, into the body in a way that encourages smooth movement and natural coordination.
During Sessions 8 & 9, the practitioner determines how best to achieve this integration, as the protocol is unique for each individual.
Session 10 is also one of integration, but more importantly, serves to inspire a sense of order and balance.
What to Expect
When working with a Structural Integrator for the first time, an intake process is performed, including your health and personal history, followed by an initial assessment of how you hold and move your body. Clients remain clothed to whatever extent they wish, though some kind of activewear is common. Typically, your standing posture, breath, gait (walking), and perhaps other movements are observed. Your practitioner will use that information to help design a session strategy with you, then ask you to move onto the therapy table. While SI practitioners are often trained in “myofascial release” techniques, a range of techniques may be applied in service of the goals of the SI process. The amount of pressure used may vary greatly.