Is it similar to massage?
It is similar to massage and also different. It is a form of bodywork like massage; yet the primary intentions of Hellerwork Structural Integration in contrast with massage are to work toward re-alignment and balance of your entire structure, through careful ongoing assessment and sequenced work with your fascia over eleven -thirteen sessions, designed to reorganize your body with your active participation, and to increase your mind-body awareness and integration process through bodywork, movement, and therapeutic dialogue. Structural integrators work with the layers of fascia -- that connective tissue that surrounds and envelops everything in the body...muscles, bones ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, nerves. When we get stiff, it is the sheaths of fascia that run through the entire body...the connective tissue from head to toe that accumulates much of the stress and strain.
So a symptom such as back pain may be a local expression of tension held elsewhere in the myo-fascial layers of your body. Structural integrators work with the larger holistic system over a series of sequenced sessions specifically addressing your particular embodied patterns. Thus, pain or tension is usually the result of an overall pattern of imbalance. Rather than treating the pain, tension, or “symptom” of this imbalance in isolation, Structural Integration focuses on re-balancing the larger system over the series of sessions, returning your bodymind to a more aligned, relaxed, fluid, balanced, regulated, and youthful state.
Since there are many types of massage and many levels of training, there is some overlap with those massage modalities that work especially with myo-fascia release. For example, I have learned not only from senior Structural Integrators, but also from a talented holistic massage therapist and deep tissue teacher how to listen deeply to a person's bodymind with my own bodymind, to touch with intention in ways that both challenge the connective tissue to change, while also connecting with the person's nervous system, allowing the person to deeply let go of holding patterns both physically and emotionally within the felt safety of a trusting relationship. In this way, the nervous system, the myo- fascial system, and the embodied intersubjective/energetic relational system are all at play in change...a powerful transformative potentiality. Different bodywork modalities address bodymindspirit integration from different, yet convergent angles. Another difference is that Structural Integrators apply functional movement analysis in their assessments before and after treatment. Finally, Hellerwork Structural Integrators invite more awareness, participation, and movement on and off the table than do most massage therapists, to encourage the client's proprioceptive, neuro-motor-muscular learning, and integrated embodied awareness.
What type of clothing do I wear?
For Hellerwork sessions, in contrast with massage sessions, most clients wear underwear, or women may wear a 2-piece bathing suit, or whatever is comfortable for you. Since we will be assessing change in your body as we go, I may ask you to get up and walk after a section of work to assess change and determine what else needs work..
Is it painful?
Generally, Structural Integration feels good during, as well as, after sessions. When we work in areas that hold excessive tension, clients may feel intensity proportional to the degree of strain and tension they hold. Practitioners are trained to be sensitive to their client's experience and work with the client's feedback so that the client is in control of the intensity of touch and pressure. If a client begins to resist the pressure by tightening elsewhere, then the work is counterproductive and an indication of too much pressure at this moment. That is why I encourage my clients to let me know when it feels like "too much", so I can change my pressure, speed, direction, or let go of tension in my own body that may be transmitted to the client, then help you become more aware of what you are "holding" in that area of tension so that you can choose to let go.
Can I come just for bodywork? Yes.
Sometimes, people don't want to do the mind-body dialogue work and that's just fine. Then sometimes, these people become more interested as their system opens up through the bodywork, when they begin to become more curious about the relationship between their mind and body, something that has not been emphasized in our Western culture until recently.
How long will the process of the Hellerwork series take?
The series is organized around 11 sessions. A session may be repeated if needed. Each session builds upon the prior sessions leading to a cumulative effect. Spacing of sessions is variable, often once/week, twice/week, or every other week.
Some clients may not want to commit to the full series initially. In that case I recommend the first 3 sessions, which open up the body's superficial fascia. That makes room for the deep core fascia to expand. Then you can decide whether to continue with the next 4 core body sessions, and the last 4 integrative sessions. After the initial series of sessions, clients often come for tune-ups as needed.
How often do people receive sessions?
Regularity and consistency is more important than frequency. Some people come every week, others every other week. Others choose to come twice a week to engage the initial series. It also depends on how quickly your body and mind adapts to change, how long it takes to integrate your new alignment and balance after a session, as well as your budget.
How much does it cost?
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