Clients sometimes ask me whether a particular technique “works.” Often, I have to say that there is limited science on massage and bodywork. On the other hand, there is anecdotal information that people find bodywork to be beneficial. I entered this field because Structural Integration helped me when conventional medicine and PT had not resolved my issues after an injury. Like me, many people are willing to invest time and money in bodywork because they feel better when they receive it.
If you want to explore more about scientific research into massage and bodywork, here are a few sources.
Manual therapy such as Structural Integration can help release tension in your body’s tissues. Outside of your manual therapy sessions, you can be good to your body with stretching. Stretching can reduce pain and stress. Stretching can help improve flexibility, balance, and posture – which help us avoid falls or injuries.
Research indicates that stretching may also reduce inflammation. Chronic (long-term) inflammation is a factor in a number of serious diseases. So, it seems like a good idea to incorporate things that reduce inflammation into our routine.
Here is a link to a short stretching routine that you can start with. If daily stretching feels like too much, try for at least twice a week.
Healthline’s “The 5-minute Daily Stretching Routine“
I am pleased to announce that I have received my certification as a CranioSacral Therapist. If you are unfamiliar with CranioSacral therapy (CST), it is a gentle and relaxing technique that helps release restrictions and balance the body. It can address common conditions such as headaches, pain and stress. In addition, I have received specialized training on working with concussions and whiplash.
Sessions of CST are available at Barbara Jean Conti Structural Integration!
Mindfulness has benefits like reducing stress and increasing contentment. Often, meditation is the recommended way to learn to be more mindful during the rest of your day. But what if meditation just isn’t your thing? There are ways to experience the benefits through other mechanisms. Here are a few ideas:
- Notice new things; look for growth – by actively noticing new things, the familiar becomes interesting again.
- Reframe negatives – that person is “stable” rather than “rigid” or maybe “spontaneous” instead of “impulsive.”
- Be responsive not reactive – take a moment to be still and notice an event or remark before you respond to it.
For more details:
On Being interview with Dr. Ellen Langer
The Langer Mindfulness Institute
The bees and butterflies definitely prefer some plants in the garden over others. I am happy to see them in the yard. While I have some native plants, I have not specifically focused on pollinators. As I ponder how to revamp a couple perennial beds, I plan to incorporate more choices for these charming and useful little critters.
Gardening, whether vegetables or plants, has benefits as exercise. Structural Integration can help keep you in good condition to enjoy this activity!
Knee pain from osteoarthritis (OA) is a fairly common complaint. Cartilage damage can occur from a variety of factors including injuries, aging, and certain illnesses. Keeping the muscles around the knee strong and managing weight are two of the typical strategies to reduce pain.
A recent analysis of data from two large studies of patients with arthritis revealed another potential tool to help keep pain in check. Patients who ate more fiber had fewer symptoms and less likelihood of knee pain becoming worse over time. This result is a correlation and not a definite cause and effect. However, I think it is another good reminder to eat well and get enough fiber in our diets.
From a Berkeley Wellness Newsletter Article, here are the numbers and this link is their List of Best Foods for Fiber.
People who consumed the most fiber—21 grams a day on average in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, and 26 grams in the Framingham study— had a 30 and 61 percent lower risk of OA symptoms, respectively, compared with people who ate the least. Higher fiber intake also reduced the likelihood of knee pain worsening among participants who had that symptom at the start of the studies.
I learned my trade at the Guild for Structural Integration. I chose the Guild for several reasons. One reason was simply that it was where my practitioner had studied. Another was that the faculty included the first two teachers whom Ida Rolf chose to provide training on her method.
The Guild recently revamped its website. Updated sections on the “about us” tab include a summary of Dr. Rolf’s career. Here is a nugget from the page about the process of structural integration that I hope you will also find a useful reminder about the work we do together.
While Structural Integration is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. Align the physical structure and it will open up the individual’s potential.