Cycling is great exercise. It’s a wonderful way to see all the beauty of Western North Carolina. Most importantly, it’s fun! But…cycling is hard on our posture. Whether we’re on a road bike and hunched over the drops, on a mountain bike, or on a touring bike, cycling puts our body in a particular position. If you’ve been putting in a lot of hours on your bike this summer then you might be feeling some head, neck, and shoulder tension. Or, maybe you’re feeling some lower back or knee discomfort. If that sounds like you, consider scheduling some structural integration bodywork this fall.
What is structural integration bodywork?
Structural integration bodywork is a very specific type of hands-on manual therapy. The intention of the work is to rebalance the tension held in your “myofascia” (your muscles plus other connective tissue called fascia) leaving you in a better relationship with gravity. The result of that is moving with more ease and comfort and less restriction and pain.
The shape we hold our body in on the bike, even if we’ve had a professional bike fitting, puts stress on our body. One of the best preventative things we can do to support a long happy riding life, is to periodically take the time to rebalance our body structure through modalities like structural integration bodywork therapy. This will help reduce the negative effects and chronic stresses on our bodies of riding a bike.
What are the benefits for cyclists?
I’ve experienced the benefits of structural integration bodywork as both a client and a practitioner. The first time I received the full series of structural integration bodywork therapy was a few months after I’d started road biking regularly in Florida. I was feeling some head, neck, and shoulder tension after long rides, as well as some hip and knee discomfort. I found that my body was in a much more comfortable place both on the bike and off of it after I received this bodywork. My experience receiving the work inspired me to focus on this style of work throughout my time in massage school and to continue on to complete a separate nine-month training and become a board-certified structural integrator. And, I’ve been sharing this work with clients ever since!
Think of it like deep cleaning your house or the equivalent of doing regular maintenance on your bike. You clean, oil, and periodically replace your chain, check the tires, keep an eye on your brakes, and make sure it’s shifting smoothly. Are you taking better care of your bike than the engine that fuels it? That engine is you! If it’s been a while since you paid the same kind of attention to your body structure as you do to bike maintenance, then now’s a great time to give structural integration bodywork a try.
How is this different from massage therapy?
While structural integration bodywork therapy is similar in some ways to various styles of massage therapy that you might already use as part of your recovery and wellness plan, it’s also different in several important ways:
- The focus of structural integration is on rebalancing your body structure from top to bottom, inside and out. It’s tailored to your specific anatomical patterns.
- It leads to a much more comprehensive and long-term body pattern change than regular massage therapy.
- We use movement during your sessions along with hands-on work to help your body replace restrictions and immobility with healthy, balanced, and functional mobility.
- Structural integration bodywork is done in a series of twelve sessions. It’s a twelve-session project that we undertake together. After you’ve completed the twelve sessions your project is over. Unlike regular massage therapy, you don’t come in each week forever.
How can I try this out?
Are you curious about this style of bodywork therapy, but want to try it out before committing to a full series? Great! I offer a three-session series for new clients that includes the first three sessions of the full twelve-session series. The three-session series will give you a good understanding of this modality of body therapy and the benefits that it offers. You can then decide whether to continue with the full twelve-session series.
If you have more questions, please reach out by email, text, or phone! I’m passionate about this work and the benefits that it brings to my clients. I’d love to talk with you about your specific questions.