In the philosophy of SI, when the collagen matrix of fascia remembers its plumb line, the pressure differentials between the chest, abdomen, and pelvis balance. The rhythm of joints move with freedom and dynamic stability. Overall energy production increases. The usage of energy changes as well. People report feeling more creative and their body returning to a normal weight without paying attention to diet and exercise. The cardiovascular and nervous system meet less resistance. Many people report depression lifting, inner conflicts resolved, and waves of relief from long term psychological problems. When re-oriented around this vertical line, the length potential that the body achieves allows for increased expansion in the lungs and uninhibited motility of the diaphragms and organs beneath the diaphragm. The work literally allows people more breathing room. Cells have more access to the nutrients that appropriate motion provides for them in a natural alignment, hence people become better nourished from within. The process on how to reach vertical organization differs for each person, and it always starts with increasing elasticity in inhalation.
Looking at how SI is akin to different forms of therapy, people uncover unconscious patterns at work that started at a particular trauma or experience, often as early as childhood. These experiences land in someone's life and set up a new context that may reroute other parts of the person's personality in seemingly random directions. Bringing a present day understanding to the earlier experiences in a therapeutic relationship can restore order and perhaps bring relief. In Structural Integration, a similar phenomena happens. People uncover a felt sense and a gesture that accompanies clusters of past experiences. The meaning behind malalignment and tension patterns starts to emerge as the gestures unwind. Once the global organization of someone's fascial network has enough order to it, the work is fine tuning it to relate to the central axis again.
A quote by Dr. Rolf sums up the patterns the body holds succinctly,
"As people come to Rolfers with their aches and their pains, we can see where their bodies are literally offering blocks to the gravitational forces. The gravitational force is immense, and their resistance isn’t much good except to close the body down, compress it. Sometimes the block has been put into the physical picture by a physical traumatic episode — a fall down the cellar steps, out of a tree, out of a high chair, off a tricycle or bicycle, out of a speeding automobile, etc., etc. This block is in the actual structure, in the flesh of the body. Then there is the kind of block that is basically emotional. Little Jimmy loves Papa. Papa goes along bent over, so Jimmy goes along like that because this allows him to be Papa in his mind. And by and by Jimmy gets a set into his muscular body which he cannot let go of. To get it out, he has to have help.”
The work in SI does not directly aim to shift anything psychologically. It happens as a byproduct. As the fascial network reorients towards an original central axis, people have more freedom from the frozen gestures that had previously encapsulated them. The felt sense of insecurity or inadequacy that people suffer from can be seen as accurate conclusions of the physical situation that bears witness to the disruptive feelings. Ida Rolf’s process worked through the body to create a felt sense of inherent gravitational support. Built-in support from the gravitational field allows for a more positive synchronicity between each person’s physical situation and emotional climate.
“I work on the body because it's the only thing that I can get my hands on.”
- Dr. Ida Rolf