An example of one’s emotional attitude causing imbalance in the body can be seen when we are depressed, which is often characterized by sunken chest. If this feeling and the bodily stance become a continual pattern, the body becomes glued in this posture.
Imbalance is also caused through physical trauma. For example, if you were to injure your leg, you would be likely to walk in an imbalanced and even awkward way to protect the injury. After a time, that movement pattern might become a part of your body’s way of moving, even though the injury had been healed long ago. An injury also directly traumatized the connective tissue at the site of the injury; scarring and inflexibility may result from this. As described in the discussion of connective tissue, this tension is then reflected through the body and further influences our movement patterns.
As life goes on and aging continues, more and more of these patterns become embedded in our connective tissue simply because we don’t move freely. In our misaligned, gravity becomes the enemy, compounding and magnifying any stress that is there. As the body accumulates these patterns, it begins to shorten and shrink. People get shorter and stiffer. This is what people identify as aging. This is what makes the body “average,” but not normal.
The Three Main Components of Structural Balancing
Reconditioning the body after it has gone through this process of aging requires not only releasing the rigidity from the connective tissue, but also bringing awareness to and changing the patterns that caused the tissue to rigidity in the first place. He three components of Structural Balancing, deep connective tissue bodywork, movement education, and verbal dialogue-aim to do just that.
Deep Connective Tissue Bodywork
Deep connective tissue bodywork is designed to release the tension that currently exists in the connective tissue, and to return the body systematically to an aligned position. This aspect of Structural Balancing is a “hands on” process, in which the Practitioner works with his or her hands to release tension in the fascia and to stretch it back into its normal position. Bodywork accounts for about 60 minutes of the session period.
To the client, this is felt as a great release of tension throughout the body. Realsing chronic tension allows the body to feel free and rested, producing what might be an uncommon (but truly normal) state of well-being.
If the bodywork aspect of Structural Balancing is like taking the dents out of a car’s bumper after the care has run into a tree, then movement education can be likened to reeducating the driver so that he won’t continue to destroy his vehicle. No amount of removing dents will keep a car beautiful if the driver is continually hitting trees!
Through the body movement education program, you become profoundly aware of your body and your movement patterns, and as a result discover easier, fuller ways of moving. Simple and easy to remember suggestions and visualizations are used to rebalance your movement for optimal alignment and fluidity.
In movement education, we focus on the use of your body in daily activities. With all clients we work with sitting, standing, walking, and movement patterns that are common to everyone. Additionally, your particular movement interests, like your favorite sports, or your job activity, will become the focus of some movement lessons.
The verbal dialogue component of work focuses on allowing you to become aware of the relationship between your emotions and attitudes and your body. As you become aware of these relationships, you are able to become responsible for your attitudes so that they are less likely to limit your body and your self-expression.
The focus of the dialogue begins with-but is not limited to- the theme of each session. The theme highlights the more common attitudes and emotions that are associated with the area of the body that is worked on in each session. In Session 1, where we work on the chest, the theme is “Inspiration”. Your Practitioner will inquire into your experience of inspiration: Do you feel inspired: What inspires you? What affects your ability to feel inspired: Through this process you can begin to understand some of the attitudinal and emotional forces that impact you body. Simply becoming aware of them begins the process of change. As the tension that is associated with these emotional patterns is released, some of the pattern itself may be released. Your awareness facilitates the process of change in your body and mind.
The Structure Of the Structural Balancing Series
Structural Balancing is like peeling an onion-the first layer must be gone through before we can go to the next layer. The series is divided into three groups of sessions to facilitate this layer by layer release: (1) the superficial sessions, (2) the core sessions, and (3) the integrative sessions.
The Superficial Sessions
Sessions one through three focus on the surface, or “superficial” layers of the body’s connective tissue, which are associated with those muscles that are near the surface of the body, also called the sleeve muscles. Developmentally, the superficial sessions deal with issues of infancy and childhood: breathing, standing up and reaching out.
The Core Sessions
Sessions four through seven are the core sessions. When we talk about the core, we mean the deeper musculature and connective tissue of the body. The concept of core tissue is like picture an apple, which has core and superficial tissue. The nature of the core muscles-also called intrinsic muscles-is that they assist us in fine motor movement. The
Nature of the core muscles-also called intrinsic muscles-is that they assist us in fine motor movement. These muscles must be used in order to produce graceful and fluid movement, for instance, Yoga works on the movement of the intrinsic muscles. Prior to
Bodywork theses muscles are often underutilized, tight and immobile. The core sessions focus on developmental issues of adolescence: control and surrender, gut feelings, holding back feelings, and intellectual development.
The Integrative Sessions
Sessions eight through eleven are designed to integrate the core and sleeve. During these Sessions, the Practitioner balances and aligns the unique patterns of each client’s body. In the earlier sessions, a clear map existed to guide the flow of each session. Because each body is so unique, the integrative sessions have no general map. The specific focus of these sessions is on rotational patterns in the body. He eleventh session is unique in that there is no bodywork during this session, and it integrates the Structural Balancing series with you entire life. Developmentally, the integrative sessions focus on issues of maturity: masculine and feminine styles and values, integration, and coming out into the world.
You PATH Practioner
The PATH Practitioners are a unique group of health educators. They have all received extensive training in bodywork. They are individuals who are committed to actualizing the principles of health not only in their bodywork session, but in their personal lives.
These principles include the results easily visible in the Structural Balancing series: body alignment, fluid movement, and free flow of energy in the body. Practitioners are equally committed to less visible principles-relationships that are filled with true rapport, self-expression, and free flowing communication. The PATH Practitioners practice the true meaning of responsibility-the ability to respond. It is these characteristics that make your Practitioner unique.
All PATH Practitioners belong to the OK AC Assoc. Which is responsible for the continuing education required of all Practitioners, and for the maintenance of the highest professional standards?
Structural Balancing is an integrated system of deep tissue bodywork and movement education designed to release tension and realign the body.
Structural Balancing is the licensed trademark of the PATH, Inc., and is legally protected as such. No person can use the name in a professional capacity unless he or she has been trained and licensed by the PATH, Inc. to do so.