What is Structural Integration | Emma Simpson

Structural Integration, Rolfing, Myofascial Release… oh my!

Ok, so I talk about “structural integration” umm, a lot!

What can I say, I’m a BIG fan of this particular physical touch modality and I’ve decided to shift my entire practice around it! Woohoooo!!

That’s right, I’ve recently transitioned from offering primarily Remedial Massage Therapy (and I also ran a successful Yoga studio for a number of years) to offering specialised myofascial release bodywork sessions and the more advanced protocol: Structural Integration.

But, what does that all mean?!

Let’s look beneath the layers and flesh out some definitions.

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Function of fascia | Emma Simpson | Structural Integration

What the Fascia?!

In terms of physical anatomy, we’re all likely very familiar with the skeletal system, circulatory system, immune system, digestive system as well as muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

But, what if I told you that an entire body system (that affects virtually every other system) – has been left off that list?!

THE FASCIAL SYSTEM.

The term fascia is from the Latin word meaning “band” or “bandage”, and it is the biological fabric or infrastructure that holds us together.

Essentially, it is our complex network of connective tissue and can be likened to a spider web of fibrous, glue-like proteins that binds all of the other systems together in their proper places.


 

“Each organ, each muscle, each artery, each vein, each nerve — there is not one single structure in the whole body that is not connected with fascia or not enveloped by fascia.”
– Andreas Haas, Manus Fascia Center, Austria

 

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Physical Touch Therapy | Emma Simpson | Structural Integration

Why We All Need More Physical Touch Therapy

“Don’t be so touchy-feely”… heard from not too many people ever!

That’s because we, as humans, all crave touch – to touch more often and to be touched more often. I don’t mean this in a sexual manner either – it’s meant as being an essential element in your “love language”.

And we all need to be loved in different ways. Don’t we?

 

“To touch is to give life” ~ Michelangelo

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Emma Simpson | Pain - Body Signals

The Language of Pain: What Signals Your Body Is Trying to Give You

Did you know your body communicates with you around the clock?

Many of us are often too busy and stressed with everyday responsibilities, like work and childcare, or distracted with television and technology, to recognise and receive the messages our bodies are sending us.

But, you can gain valuable insight into your current state of health when you tune into what your body has to say.

The Language of Chronic Pain… are you listening to your body’s signals?

Besides our love language fueled by the hormone Oxytocin, another one of the most common languages our body uses to communicate with us — is PAIN.

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Scar Tissue Therapy | Emma Simpson, Structural Integrator & Remedial Massage

War Wounds: How Scar Tissue Therapy can help you fight them

We’ve all got one or two gnarly looking scars on our body. An old injury from falling off our bike as a kid, or maybe even a bigger one from a recent surgery.

These scars tell a lot of stories and it’s not just the actual story of how they happened that I’m referring to.

For a bodyworker like myself, your scars tell me HOW to treat your body. They tell me WHY you may be experiencing pain or discomfort and WHERE.

Our bodies are so complex that the old bike scar from childhood that you may have completely forgotten about could still be affecting you today.

But before I go down that rabbit hole, let me first give you a brief explanation of scar tissue.

What is scar tissue really?

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How To Treat Frozen Shoulder | Emma Simpson

How to Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder

What if one day you woke up and you weren’t able to lift your arm above your head? No matter how hard you tried, it just won’t move.

And to make matters worse, your shoulder is swollen and you’re in a lot of pain.

These are just a few of many symptoms of a condition commonly known as Frozen Shoulder. As the medical folk like to call it — Adhesive Capsulitis. (See, that’s why most people prefer to just say ‘frozen shoulder’!)

Frozen Shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder joint experiences an extremely limited range of motion. In some severe cases, an individual with the condition will have difficulty performing basic daily tasks like getting dressed or brushing their teeth.

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Wiggly Pelvis & SI Joint Pain | Emma Simpson

SI Joint Pain and a Wiggly Pelvis: Could This Be The Cause of Your Low Back Pain Too?

I recently had a new client in my clinic who was experiencing pain in her lower back. “Lisa” had just leaned down to pick up her toddler son, turned to grab something, and… BOOM. The searing pain stopped her in her tracks.

She immediately gave me a call so we could start treating the problem and she could get back to her busy life.

After a few evaluations, I was able to determine the cause of the problem: SI Joint Dysfunction caused by Pelvic Girdle Instability.

So, my pelvis is wiggly, and could be the cause of my SI joint pain?!

In simple terms, Lisa’s pelvis moves all over the place when she walks and therefore is unable to support her lower back and torso. And Lisa is not alone in this.

An unstable Pelvic Girdle (just think wiggly pelvis) is extremely common, especially among women who have given birth OR are currently pregnant — AND HERE’S WHY…

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Emma Simpson | Hips - Emotions Connection

Hips That Have Heart: The Powerful Connection Between Your Hips and Your Emotions

What if I told you that that tight feeling you have across your hips (better known as cranky hips!) had more to do with your feelings than your daily activities or an old injury?

Sure, our lifestyles these days are a contributing factor:

– We sit a lot.

– We drive in cars a lot.

– We spend time hunched over tech devices…A LOT.

And, yes these things can all cause tightness through the front of your body, including your hips.

But sometimes there’s more to the story… literally.

What if I told you that your hips are tight because of your emotions?

You might think I’m crazy, but read on! I promise you’ll learn that there’s actually a HUGE connection between our emotional wellbeing and those chronically tight spots in your (seemingly cranky) hips.

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Emma Simpson | Functional Movement

Is ‘Functional Movement’ Just Another Trendy Term? (or should you be doing it?!)

We’ve only got one body — so why not treat it well in everything we do, including moving it?

When we walk, run, play sports, lift weights, or just sit in front of the computer (umm, all day, every day), we should be tuning in to how we use our muscles — for optimal functioning in healthy, efficient and pain-free movement.

CONSIDER THIS: if any part of your body is experiencing pain, it’s pretty likely that some element of your body’s functional movement system (which I refer to as myofascial slings) has been compromised.

This may manifest as:

  • weakness/decreased strength
  • muscle imbalance
  • poor functioning joint
  • decreased flexibility

And it doesn’t matter whether one or more of these show up in your ankles, hips, pelvis, knees, back, shoulders, neck or the classic “pain in the butt”…the whole body has been cleverly designed like a complex chain link system that works for you to move with biomechanical efficiency.

(At least that’s the idea!)

That’s why the term ‘functional movement’ – which I prefer to expand that to holistic and functional movement isn’t just a trendy exercise term du jour.

It’s a body movement concept that everyone needs in their everyday repertoire!

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Emma Simpson | Stretches for Chronic Pain

Best Stretches for Chronic Pain – 7 of Them!

I have my limitations… we all do!

I love that I can help people achieve pain-free routines, and sustain active healthy lives. When a client comes to see me, I consider it a sincere privilege to help them find relief and more simply – to move better.

Truthbomb: as a Structural Integrator & Myofascial Bodyworker, there’s only so much I can do.

There are only so many times I can treat each individual client each week. Not to mention that I can’t follow them around all the time in between appointments to make sure they’re minding their posture or lifting that big heavy object properly.

Pain management, especially for long-standing, chronic pain – is a joint venture between the patient and practitioner. When my clients do their homework, so to speak, their results are much more effective and long-lasting.

This is why I frequently assign clients take-home strengthening exercises and stretching routines. These exercises are intended to help them manage their discomfort in between appointments AND to minimize the likelihood of an injury recurring.

Some of the most common issues I treat as a specialised Bodyworker:

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