Structural Integration - Deep Tissue Bodywork, Posture and Movement Education

"When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneosly, the body heals itself."
Ida Rolf, Ph.D.

How does bone change shape?

July 25, 2013 : Blog

I recently had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Sharon Wheeler. Sharon is an old school Rolfer who trained directly with Ida Rolf, Ph.D. back in the 60’s. She fits snugly in the mold of master bodyworker, although her light self-deprecating attitude may lead one to believe otherwise.

I took a workshop on crainial/jaw/neck work; specifically her take on session 7 of the ten series of Structural Integration. It was magical, I learned so much and was given a fresh perspective on what many would call the most important session of the classic ten series. One of the most notable concepts she put forth was that bone could change shape underneath our hands.

Her concept of bone being a malleable structure was focused on cranial bones of adults. The cranium and the jaw are both made of spongy bone. These thin bones are filled with sponge-like pockets which give them great amounts of strength for their weight but also more pliability than their relatively dense counterparts elsewhere in the body. Sharon said she could change the bone over the course of a single session, which for her could last 2-4 hours.

This scientifically dubious claim seems to be offered some support by this recent study on the structure of bone. The paper discusses the flexibility of bone offered up by the collagen matrix that is an integral part of the structure. It also discusses how this collagen portion is reduced with age and/or disease. Food for thought, maybe science will back up her claim more completely as this research moves forward.

Subjectively I have felt these changes happen. Feeling a bony protuberance called a torus on the inside of a persons jaw get smaller after just a few minutes of work is definitely interesting….

MIT researchers decipher the molecular basis of bone’s remarkable strength and resiliency; work could lead to new treatments and materials.

‘The bones that support our bodies are made of remarkably complex arrangements of materials — so much so that decoding the precise structure responsible for their great strength and resilience has eluded scientists’ best efforts for decades.’

‘Buehler, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at MIT, says the riddle was to find how two different materials — a soft, flexible biomolecule called collagen and a hard, brittle form of the mineral apatite — combine to form something that is simultaneously hard, tough and slightly flexible.’ “

[Read the rest of the article here.]