“David was always there in the marble. I just took away everything that was not David.”
Structural bodywork looks at and thinks of the body within a framework designed to restore postural balance and functional ease by aligning and integrating the body in the context of gravity. Modified to the client’s current needs, and generally practiced in a series of sessions, it applies fascial manipulation, neuro-biomechanics, and functional and postural awareness to restore optimal ease and efficiency of movement as intended by Nature.
Most of the conditions addressed in medical massage are the result of an imbalanced body, compensating as best it can through use or misuse for which it was not designed. With the demands of modern life, we are often unaware of the collateral damage our habits create, and the subtle but cumulative effect this has on our quality of life.
Structural bodywork begins with an assessment of the client, in standing and in motion, and ‘reading’ compensatory and inefficiency patterns. It strives to align the body in vertical position as it relates to gravity in motion. It aims at giving the client a spectrum of options for being and moving, and for relief from pain and tension. From this new place of balance, the client is better equipped to adapt to different situations in life. The underlying principle is that functional ease prevails over postural perfection, and gravity is a key factor in this equation.
There are various approaches to structural bodywork. Dessi’s method of application sees the torso and pelvis as primary players, defining how we negotiate gravity; the lower extremities as an extension of the spine, determining how we contact the ground; and the upper extremities as affecting the tonic function of the whole body. Her work is greatly influenced by the Morales Method™, Art Riggs’ approach to Rolfing®, NeuroKinetic Therapy®, and Tom Myers’ analysis of the body in fascial anatomy trains. The general progression of her structural work sessions is 1) relieving pain, 2) creating adaptive capacity in the body, 3) creating supportive capacity, 4) increasing mobility in restricted areas, 5) educating the client about posture and function, and 6) integrating the whole body.